The New England Patriots are getting healthier on the offensive line after a COVID-19 issue sidelined a pair of starters.
Left guard Mike Onwenu is expected to be back at practice for the Patriots Wednesday, as reported by ESPN’s Field Yates. Onwenu played 100 percent of the Patriots’ offensive snaps in the first three games of the 2021 season, but played only 56 percent against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4. He missed last Sunday’s win over the Houston Texans due to being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, along with left tackle Isaiah Wynn.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, between Onwenu and Wynn, one tested positive for COVID and the other was a close contact. Per NFL guidelines, only unvaccinated players have to miss time due to being a close contact.
The Patriots played without four starters on the offensive line last Sunday against Houston, and the unit had arguably its best game of the season. They limited the Texans to one sack and four hits against quarterback Mac Jones, while they averaged 4.2 yards per carry on the ground as a team.
Onwenu, however, is the fourth-highest graded guard in the league on Pro Football Focus (85.2) through five weeks. James Ferentz was elevated from the practice squad to replace him in the Houston game.