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Report: Cole Strange to Miss the Start of New England’s Season

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New England Patriots guard Cole Strange is the highest ranked Patriots offensive player by Pro Football Forcus in Week 13

New England Patriots guard Cole Strange is expected to miss significant time as he rehabs from the knee injury that ended his 2023 season. Although the news does not come as a shock, it is certainly disappointing for the former first-round draft pick, entering his third NFL season.

Ian Rapaport of NFL Network was the first to report the news.

New England selected Strange in the first round (No. 29 overall) of the 2022 NFL Draft out of Chattanooga. He started all 17 games as a rookie in 2022 but struggled with consistency. Pro Football Focus gave Strange a 54.6 grade for his first-season performance. Anything below 60.0 is considered replaceable by a non-roster player.

Injury Issues

A knee injury caused Cole Strange to miss four of the first seven games for New England in 2023 following a training camp injury. When he finally returned to the lineup for good in Week 8, the improvement in his game was noticeable. PFF graded Strange as the top offensive player for the Patriots in Week 10 vs. the Colts and Week 13 against the Chargers.

Unfortunately, as soon as Strange was playing the best football of his young career, his 2023 season ended. He was carted off the field in Week 15 against Kansas City after suffering another knee injury. He has yet to return to football activities.

Bill Belichick, New England’s head coach at the time, noted Strange’s progress on the field just before his injury.

“The more he’s been able to stay on the field, the better he’s gotten. I think he’s played better through the more recent weeks of the season. He missed quite a bit of time there early in the year in training camp, which slowed him down. But I think he’s been playing his best football lately.”

Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo offered somewhat of a status update on Strange’s injury earlier this week.

“Normally we’d say ‘day by day.’ He’s more of a ‘week by week’ or you could go ‘month by month’ if you want to,” said Mayo. “He is working hard. He’s doing his rehab, he’s here every day. He’s in the meeting room, so I’m happy where he is.”

Moving Forward

With Strange out for the foreseeable future, the Patriots must figure out their starting offensive guards. Sidy Sow started at right guard for New England as a rookie in 2023 but can play either side. Rookie Layden Robinson played right guard in college. Others competing for guard playing time include Atonio Mafi, Nick Leverett, Jake Andrews, Michael Jordan, Tyrone Wheatley Jr., and Ryan Johnson.

Cole Strange was left off the initial New England Patriots 53-man roster projection, strictly due to health concerns. Strange showed encouraging signs when healthy in 2023. New England now hopes the additional time off can help him can back to full str

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