The Cam Newton resurgence has been a fun storyline so far in 2020, but the New England Patriots are now dealing with a key injury on offense.
Center David Andrews, who made a triumphant return to the lineup after missing all of 2019 with blood clots in his lungs, is now dealing with a thumb injury on his snapping hand that he suffered in the loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Newton and Andrews have shared a bond with their respective comebacks this season. But the quarterback might have to prepare for life without his new pivot.
Fox’s Jay Glazer said Andrews is trying to work through it — even trying to snap lefty — but that the outlook doesn’t appear so good.
Big hit for Patriots and Cam as starting center David Andrews broke thumb on his snapping hand and actually had surgery on it this week. Trying to snap with other hand but likely out this week and potentially more @NFLonFOX
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) September 25, 2020
The Patriots host the 2-0 Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday and then face the now-unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4 at Arrowhead Stadium.
Who is in line to replace David Andrews?
The Patriots felt Andrews’ loss last season, with Ted Karras (now on the Miami Dolphins) struggling at times in his place.
They might now have to turn to 2019 fourth-rounder Hjalte Froholdt, who has played all of nine regular-season snaps this season — all on special teams. Froholdt missed all of 2019 with a season-ending injury, too.
Here’s what Bill Belichick said when asked about the second-year offensive lineman:
“Way ahead of where he was last year on a number of levels,” Belichick said. “Still a young player that has a lot of room to grow and works very hard at it. So he’s taken a step to ... being close to playing and hopefully he’ll be able to compete for playing time here as he continues to improve.”
Froholdt started his career at Arkansas as a defensive lineman before switching sides of the ball. He played mostly guard for the Razorbacks but also played four games at center in 2018.
The Patriots also could shift Pro Bowl guard Joe Thuney inside to center, letting Froholdt take Thuney’s left guard spot. Remember, the Patriots also are working with two new offensive line coaches — Cole Popovich and Carmen Bricillo — this season following the retirement of Dante Scarnecchia.
Another injury hit for the Patriots
New England hasn’t had it as rough injury-wise lately as, say, the San Francisco 49ers. But through the course of the offseason until now, the Patriots have had to piecemeal their roster together a bit.
Most notably, they had eight players — including some big-name defenders — opt out amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Six players are currently on injured reserve, including projected starting running back Damien Harris, offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste, wide receiver Gunner Olszewski and defensive tackle Beau Allen. The earliest they can come onto the active roster would be after Sunday’s game.
Against Seattle, receivers Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry were both banged up, although both finished the game. They remain on this week’s injury list.
The Patriots also had to play last week without James White, whose father was tragically killed in a car accident that also left his mother in critical condition. White has not practiced all week and is not expected to play.
Also working through injuries are their top two draft picks this spring, second-rounders Kyle Dugger (ankle) and Josh Uche (foot).
If Newton can keep this team afloat amid a tough start, roster-wise, his path to winning Comeback Player of the Year might be even stronger.
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