Patriots get bad news as key starter needs surgery for injury


When sports fans think of the New England Patriots, their thoughts will invariably come upon Tom Brady, Bill Belichick or Rob Gronkwoski.

All three are very obviously critical to any and all success that the team has enjoyed.

But one of the unsung heroes of the Patriots’ past two consecutive Super Bowl appearances has to be left guard Joe Thuney.

A third-roud pick out of North Carolina State in 2016, Thuney has been the definition of dependable.

Not only has he started every game since being drafted, including in the postseason, but he’s only missed an incredible nine snaps total in the last two seasons, per ESPN. And most of those missed snaps occurred when the game was already decided.

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Stats can be hard to come by for offensive linemen, which makes it hard to quantify a player’s value without watching him. But since drafting Thuney, New England has consistently had a top-10 offensive line, according to advanced metrics provided by Football Outsiders.

That’s not to say that Thuney, No. 62, can’t pass the eye test, either.

Apparently, playing at that high of a level on such a consistent basis has taken its toll on Thuney. The Patriots stalwart will be undergoing surgery for an injured foot and is expected to miss some time, according to ESPN reporter Mike Reiss.

Do you think Thuney's injury will hurt the Patriots' chances of winning another Super Bowl?

First, the bad news for New England. Thuney is not a mauler of an offensive lineman. He wins the point of attack with his hand and footwork. An injured foot, even one that’s not expected to impact his availability for the 2018 season, could seriously hamper Thuney’s effectiveness.

And just because Thuney isn’t expected to miss any time this year doesn’t mean that an unforeseen setback couldn’t rear its head at the worst time.

Fortunately for Patriots fans, the good news is that the team is very much prepared for a potential Thuney absence.

The Patriots used the 23rd overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft on versatile offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn from Georgia. Wynn is capable of playing both tackle and guard, and is expected to start immediately for the team.

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The team also traded for massive offensive tackle Trent Brown from the San Francisco 49ers. Brown, still just 25, is listed at a gargantuan 6-foot-8 and 355 pounds. He is expected to be a starter this season.

Perhaps most importantly, however, is the ongoing employment of Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. Widely considered to be one of the best offensive line gurus in football, Scarnecchia has a proven track record of taking later-round picks (a la Thuney) and developing them into studs.

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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
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