The Patriots’ offensive line might be a major concern

Winslow Townson/Associated Press

The Patriots have a few concerns this offseason, as do many teams around the league, but their offensive line has the most uncertainty of all.

The major addition of the early offseason was the hiring of Bill O’Brien to attain offensive play calling duties. Something that went somewhat under the radar was the hiring of former Patriot Adrian Klemm to be the offensive line coach. This comes a year after Matt Patricia held both duties and well… didn’t necessarily succeed at either. Klemm comes into the mix having some success at Oregon coaching the offense. Despite that, he had some poor results coaching the Steelers’ offensive line in his short stint with Pittsburgh.

Overview of the offensive line

There shouldn’t be much doubt up the middle. The Patriots return their two starting guards Michael Onwenu and Cole Strange as well as center David Andrews. Onwenu is entering his fourth season, providing durability and consistency since being drafted in 2020. Strange was the Patriots first round draft choice in 2022, and showed good and bad signs throughout his rookie year. If he is able to pick up where he left off, he should develop into a decent starter. Andrews is a veteran that showed little signs of slowing down. Expect him to be a solid.

The real questions come on the outside of the line. New England allowed former first round selection Isaiah Wynn to leave in free agency this past offseason. They signed Calvin Anderson and Riley Reiff to create competition. The two tackle spots were essentially revolving doors during OTAs. Veteran Trent Brown hardly participated, as Anderson and Conor McDermott appeared to succeed the most.

Brown has had issues in the past with injury and sometimes accused of lacking effort. Their other options aren’t too special, though. In today’s NFL, tackle is an extremely important position when considering the importance of blocking elite edge rushers and executing outside run schemes.

Some rookies and depth players have stepped into bigger offensive roles, but there still haven’t been many answers of what the depth chart will look like. It is also a mystery of whether Klemm will be a good coach or not, as the Patriots haven’t had a great offensive line coach since Dante Scarnecchia retired in 2019. Mac Jones‘ success hinges on the success of the offensive line this year as he enters his third year with the team.

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