As if the New England Patriots needed more bad news after a rough loss to the Houston Texans. Not only did New England lose its grip on the top seed in the AFC, but they also lost another offensive lineman to injury at a vital point in the season.
Ted Karras, who had been filling in well for David Andrews this season at center, left Sunday night’s game early with knee injury, never to return after walking off on his own power. On Monday morning, the injury was diagnosed as an MCL sprain and was not said to be season-ending.
Karras had played every offensive snap this season until his injury, embracing his new role as the team’s center. Andrews, a team captain, has missed the 2019 season after a preseason scare stemming from blood clots in his lungs. Andrews and Tom Brady had developed a strong relationship over the last few years and his loss this year seems to be impacting the offense in certain areas, though Karras has played well in his place.
With Karras out, it will be third-string center James Ferentz stepping into the starting role. He came on in place of the injured Karras on Sunday night, and appeared to fit in seamlessly in regards to his protection as well as run blocking.
There is currently no timetable for his return and an MRI is scheduled for Monday to determine the extent of Karras’ injury.
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How To Replace Ted Karras
Through the Patriots’ first 11 games of the 2019 season, Karras was one of the team’s most consistent offensive linemen. He had allowed just one sack and taken just a single holding penalty. In addition, he had given up just four QB hits and four pressures during the season as well.
In the passing game, he was a tremendous asset despite New England’s struggles to protect Tom Brady. In the run, Karras had shown gradual improvement throughout the year as well and with more reps, he was beginning to look like a promising option at interior lineman for the future.
While his injury is simply a minor individual setback, it will have a domino effect on the rest of the Patriots offense. New England is losing an experienced option at center and one who has built a strong partnership with Tom Brady this season.
His backup, James Ferentz, showed on Sunday he was clearly capable of performing in a game situation, but the offensive line as a whole struggled to protect Brady. Houston registered 12 QB hits and three total sacks on Sunday, something that has become a mounting problem for the Patriots.
Should Ferentz go down or not work out, the Patriots’ best option would be to move right guard Shaq Mason back to his natural position at center. At right guard, the Patriots could move Ferentz over to where he filled in for Mason earlier this season, or place Jermaine Eluemunor into the rotation.
Source: New feed