Isaiah Wynn

Scarnecchia: Marshall Newhouse will play left tackle vs. Jets; Joe Thuney sticking at guard

Scarnecchia: Marshall Newhouse will play left tackle vs. Jets; Joe Thuney sticking at guard

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick isn't one to give away game plans, but Dante Scarnecchia doesn't have the same kind of filter in his meetings with reporters.

During a lengthy back-and-forth with reporters, Scarnecchia said that the plan was for the Patriots to start Marshall Newhouse at left tackle with Isaiah Wynn currently on injured reserve. Joe Thuney will remain at left guard.

Scarnecchia has said many times in the past, and he reiterated it during Friday's interaction with reporters, that less shakeup on the line is preferred. That means if you can get away with a one-for-one substitution -- Newhouse for Wynn, in this case -- that would be better than moving a guard and then finding a new guard as a replacement.

Newhouse has been in the league since he was a fifth-round pick of the Packers in 2010. His experience level and football IQ allows him to pick up the system more quickly than most, according to teammates.

And Bill Belichick noted recently that Newhouse's ability to pick up the system -- he played both right and left tackle last week in Miami -- might be thanks in part to his experience with the Bills, where offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is a former Patriots assistant. (Newhouse spent part of last season with Buffalo.)

"Although," Belichick said earlier this week, "he's only been here for a few days, he came from the Buffalo system where Daboll is, and I think a lot of the terminology, although maybe not exactly the same, is close and some of the same concepts, maybe different words or a different way that it's called. But the concepts and a lot of things that they do and we do are obviously the same, based on the background and carryover from Brian's system, and to what we do. So in terms of learning and all that, Marshall has a lot of league experience and experience recently in a similar system to what we run."

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Matt Cassel: Why you shouldn't worry about Patriots' offensive line injuries

Matt Cassel: Why you shouldn't worry about Patriots' offensive line injuries

Any time you have rotating parts on the offensive line -- Korey Cunningham and Marshall Newhouse have had to step in for Isaiah Wynn and Marcus Cannon, and obviously the center position has changed with David Andrews being out -- it's going to be a major question mark.

But I think the wild card in this whole situation is Dante Scarnecchia.

I’ve said this time and time again: Dante Scarnecchia is the best offensive line coach in the NFL. He's been doing it for so long, and his ability to coach these guys and have them ready to play is second to none.

Scar is so detail-oriented. He does a great job in the run game, and he also understands protection schemes and blitz pickup identification.

When I was in New England, we would do 9-on-7, which is a run-oriented drill. He'd do a great job of making sure I identified the appropriate linebacker for the offensive line so they knew who to block. He also has a great balance of pushing those guys: pushing to get the best out of them, but also knowing when to pull back.

They’re so detail-oriented in that offensive line room that you feel good as a quarterback -- going into any game or any situation, with whoever’s playing -- that he’ll have those guys prepared to understand their blocking and protection schemes.

In 2005, our starting center, Dan Koppen, went down with a season-ending injury. Russ Hochstein was always our interior "swing guy" -- he played guard and center -- and I remember Russ stepping in and playing beautifully.

Your leader on the offensive line is your center, because the communication really takes place between him and quarterback. And I thought we didn’t miss a beat when Russ came in, because Scar had him prepared at that position.

That said, the best example I can think of is Stephen Neal. This is a guy who never played high school football, college football or anything like that. He was an All-American wrestler in college.

But we picked him up, and Coach Scarnecchia and the rest of the staff developed Steve into dominant force for us at guard for years to come. I think a lot of his development as a player had to do with the coaching and expertise that took place within that room.

You’ve got to have trust in your guys up front. And a lot of that comes from you having a tremendous amount of faith in the coaching staff to prepare those guys every week. 

Every coaching staff has a feel for it. But based on my experience, the Patriots' coaching staff was the best I’ve been around during my NFL career.

If certain pass rushers that were giving us problems on the edge -- we called them "game-wreckers" -- Scar and the coaching staff would always come up with a great scheme to help, whether it was chipping the edge with the running backs or showing tight end presence so the pass-rusher couldn’t get clean run at the quarterback coming off the ball.

So, when we played the Colts and guys like Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, who were one of the most dominant pass-rushing tandems in the league, we’d always have a plan. We wouldn’t let those guys ruin the game. 

I think that’s the genius part of what the Patriots do: They go above and beyond in identifying the issue and doing whatever they can to make sure it doesn’t wreck the offensive plan. 

That's what I expect Scarnecchia and the coaching staff will continue to do, regardless of who's out there.

Editor's note: Matt Cassel had a 14-year NFL career that four seasons with the New England Patriots (2005-2008). He's joining the NBC Sports Boston team for this season. You can find him on game days as part of our Pregame Live and Postgame Live coverage, as well as every week on Tom E. Curran’s Patriots Talk podcast and NBCSportsBoston.com.

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Isaiah Wynn maintains positive outlook on Twitter after foot injury

Isaiah Wynn maintains positive outlook on Twitter after foot injury

If anyone can keep his head up amid continued adversity, it's Isaiah Wynn.

The New England Patriots placed Wynn on injured reserve Tuesday with a foot injury that will sideline him at least eight weeks. It's a tough break for the Patriots' starting left tackle, who also missed his entire rookie year due to a torn Achilles.

But there was Wynn on Wednesday sending out positive vibes on Twitter:

That #WinWithWynnWednesday hashtag is a weekly tradition for the 22-year-old, who posts motivational, uplifting messages on Twitter every Wednesday morning.

But Wynn's latest tweet obviously is much more personal, as the Patriots' 2018 first-round draft pick must begin rehab for the second time in two NFL seasons.

Here's wishing Wynn a speedy recovery. In the meantime, New England's banged-up offensive line will need to turn to new faces like tackle Korey Cunningham -- who assumed Wynn's position at left tackle last Sunday against the Miami Dolphins after Wynn went down -- as well as Marshall Newhouse, Caleb Benenoch and Jermaine Eluemunor.

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