FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots’ projected Week 1 starting left tackle slowly is working his way back to full speed.
Isaiah Wynn had his most active practice of training camp Friday, participating in competitive drills for the first time since tearing his Achilles last August.
The Patriots wore only helmets and shells during the session, and Wynn logged just a few reps at a time before subbing out, but it was a positive step for the 2018 first-round draft pick as he continues to recover from the injury that cost him his entire rookie season.
“It felt good,” Wynn said after practice. “It felt great.”
Wynn wouldn’t speculate on when he’ll be ready to take part in full-contact drills — “That’s a Coach Bill (Belichick) question” was his go-to response — but said he’s confident that day will come soon.
“Of course,” he replied.
Belichick didn’t have much to offer when asked Thursday whether he feels good the Patriots’ left tackle situation.
“We have a lot of things that we need to work on, in every area of the team — everything,” the head coach said. “So I don’t think I feel good about anything right now. I don’t feel necessarily bad about it. We’ll see how it is. Start to find out when we’re in competitive situations in the next couple weeks. We might not really know where we are on some things until the middle of the season. I don’t know. We’ll see.”
Dan Skipper was the Patriots’ first-team left tackle this week after left guard Joe Thuney handled those duties early in camp. Wynn, who’s expected to slide into that spot as soon as he’s deemed healthy enough to do so, has attended every camp practice but been limited to conditioning work and “mental reps.”
At times during the first eight training camp practices, Wynn could be seen lining up 20 yards behind the left tackle during 11-on-11 drills, practicing his pass sets in real time.
“Even if I’m not getting reps, I’m still mentally getting reps, standing there with Coach (Dante Scarnecchia) or some of the other players making calls out there,” the Georgia product said. “… That’s part of the mental aspect of the game so when I get out there, it’s not chaotic.”
Given Wynn’s health status and lack of NFL experience, left tackle has been a major question mark for the Patriots since Trent Brown left for the Oakland Raiders in free agency. Wynn was expected to compete with Brown for the starting job last summer but wound up being lost for the season minutes into his preseason debut.
“Of course it’s hard,” Wynn said of spending the Patriots’ Super Bowl LIII run on injured reserve. “Just that competitive nature in you, you want to get out there and help the team. But I also had to look at another aspect: I was able to help the team, just being able to really get myself prepared up until here.”
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images