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New England Patriots

Aug 19, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New England Patriots offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn (76) walks off the field against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

After leaving Sunday’s loss in Miami early and not practicing all week, Patriots starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn (hip/ankle) has been ruled for Saturday’s wild card game against the Buffalo Bills. After initially listing him as ‘questionable,’ the Patriots downgraded Wynn Friday afternoon.

Wynn played 16 games for the Patriots this year, making 15 starts. He missed two games while on the reserve/COVID list. When he was on the field, he was PFF’s 33rd ranked tackle out of 85 qualified players.

When Wynn couldn’t go, second-year tackle Justin Herron started in his place. Herron filled in for Wynn after he left Sunday’s game, and is expected to start on Saturday. In the past, the team has stuck to the philosophy of minimalizing moving pieces when replacing players on the offensive line. Herron for Wynn is a one-for-one swap, allowing the rest of the unit to stay intact.

If the Patriots want to go in another direction, or Herron doesn’t work out and they feel the need to make an in-game adjustment, they do have other options. Namely, they can move Trent Brown from right tackle to left tackle, and then put Michael Onwenu on the right side.

There are some concerns with that alignment. It involves swapping two players instead of one, and Brown told reporters earlier this week he hasn’t taken any practice reps at left tackle since OTAs. Putting Onwenu in the starting lineup could also limit the Patriots’ ability to use their six-OL package, which features Onwenu as a tackle-eligible tight end. At the same time, this switch would allow the Patriots to have their five best offensive lineman on the field for every snap, and in a game that projects to be run-heavy would put their two 360-plus pound tackles on the edges.

For more on what Wynn’s loss might mean for the Patriots, and a preview of Saturday night’s game, check out the Patriots Preview podcast with NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry below.

MORE: Two Patriots receive All-Pro recognition

Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.