Chase Winovich played a little tight in Michigan. Should the Patriots be doing something crazy?
It’s not often that we feel pressured to run into Bill Belichick, but his reluctance to support the Patriots colorless tight final situation the result of Rob Gronkowski’s retirement last year was simply untenable.
Go through the 2019 season without find a replacement for Gronk was understandable as Ben Watson, Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo formed a useful provisional line, recording a total of 36 receptions for 418 yards and two touchdowns.
These are lackluster numbers in every way and the Patriots – based on the first three games of 2020 – won’t be anywhere near replicating them, highlighting their current problems in this position. In other words, Belichick and Co. desperately want anyone to sign up as baby comforter for Cam Newton.
Well, it turns out that on-board rusher Chase Winovich had the experience of playing the position during his days in Michigan and Belichick literally nothing to lose by rolling it over there. The 2019 third-round pick admitted on Friday that he would like the coaching staff to turn to him for help. It’s time to have fun!
“I wasn’t signed as a tight end but coach (Jim) Harbaugh came in, we had some near end injuries, he said, ‘I like your speed,'” said Winovich. to reporters on Friday. “He named guys from the league he played with. So I played tight end. I played back a bit. It’s actually when Coach (Jedd) Fisch was there.
“To be honest that would be great. Really, I’m more focused on making sure my mission is sound. Until I can be absolutely perfect and in everything I do there is more work to be done and more focus to be had than trying to diversify.
Belichick is obviously not the kind of coach who likes to have fun experimenting with players in different positions. However, desperate times call for desperate action and right now the Patriots literally have no semblance of a TE threat in their air attack.
As crazy (and demoralizing) as it sounds, Izzo has represented all of the team’s tight production this year, registering three receptions for 44 yards while playing 86% offensive snaps.
It should be noted that Winovich wreaked havoc early in his second campaign, totaling 10 tackles, 1.5 sacks, five QB hits and a forced fumble. According to Pro Football Focus, he also has the second-highest winning rate in the league at 27.5%, behind only Steelers defensive end TJ Watt (29.3%).
With that in mind, it would be reasonable for fans to think that keeping it as it is would be the best decision. However, we’re not asking for the former Wolverine to be converted to a full-time attacking player.
All we’re implying is that it couldn’t hurt Belichick to at least see what Winovich could deliver at the tight end. It’s not like it’s going to be any worse than what the Patriots are currently rolling with on a weekly basis.