In what should be considered great news on the Patriots injury front, center David Andrews returned to practice Wednesday after nearly two weeks away. Prior to the game in Mexico City, Andrews came down with a mysterious sickness. The illness kept Andrews out of action the last two weeks. His absence thrust Ted Karras into a starting role.
“Definitely tough sitting out, watching,” Andrews said on Wednesday. “I’ve been fortunate to be able to get out there [today] and keep working.”
Andrews has had a stranglehold on the job since he came in as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2015. He quickly unseated starter Bryon Stork, who started a Super Bowl just a few months prior. He has quickly built a strong rapport with Brady. An invaluable key to success as a Patriot.
It’s no coincidence that the Patriots offensive line has struggled these past two weeks. In addition to the poor snap from Karras that led to a Dolphins’ touchdown, Tom Brady took a number of hard hits against Miami’s ferocious front-seven. Of course, it doesn’t help that Marcus Cannon has also missed several weeks due to injury. Cannon has yet to return to practice. LaAdrian Waddle also missed Wednesday’s practice with an ailment.
It’s this time of the year that the health of the offensive line is most crucial. Brady has been nursing an Achilles injury for the past couple weeks and was absent from Wednesday’s practice for the second consecutive week. Likely more of a maintenance day than anything, don’t expect to see Brady at many more Wednesday practices from here on out. Chris Hogan also remained out for the Patriots.
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Out of their remaining five games, four of them come within the division. Including one more in 10 days with Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake, and the Dolphins defensive line. In addition, sandwiched in between the four divisional games is the much-anticipated bout with the Steelers. A game that will likely decide home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
The Patriots survived the Dolphins and Raiders down both Cannon and Andrews. However, the Patriots cannot expect to survive the rest of the season and a long playoff run without the two. The good news is, Andrews looks like he close to returning. A huge boost for this offensive line. Now, if the Patriots can also get back Cannon in the coming weeks, Brady may never be hit again for the rest of the season.
Except for when the confetti comes raining down in Minnesota in February.
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