What return of COVID/IR players mean for Patriots

75756A5E-120A-4932-810C-2FD980DB785E

The Patriots got a number of players back at practice on Wednesday.

David Andrews, Beau Allen and Josh Uche all returned from injured reserve, and then Derek Rivers, Byron Cowart and Shaq Mason all returned from the COVID list.

This is great news for a number of positions.

Starting with the offensive line, the Patriots get two of their three best linemen back after Andrews missed three games with a broken thumb and Mason missed two (one due to injury and the other because he was on the COVID list). While it’s not 100 percent certain they will play Sunday, if they do they will allow the unit to get somewhat back to normal.

With Andrews back at center, Joe Thuney can play his normal position of left guard and then with Mason back, rookie Michael Onwenu can slide over to right tackle. This would give the Patriots a starting offensive line of (from left-to-right): Isaiah Wynn, Thuney, Andrews, Mason and Onwenu.

This is much, much better than the combinations that have been rolled out in recent weeks.

Then on the other side of the ball, the defensive line has all its pieces for the first time this season since Allen is actually on the field. He didn’t take part in any sessions this summer and has been on injured reserve since the start of the year.

In addition to Allen returning, Cowart is back off the COVID list so the Patriots will have all its depth at that position heading into the game against the 49ers, which will be very important given how much they rely on the running game.

The last few weeks have been a tough go for the Patriots due to not just COVID-19, but also injuries, and it finally feels like they have turned a corner and have put it behind them.