David Andrews (60) has been by Tom Brady‘s side for most of his rookie season. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
FOXBORO — Entering Monday night’s game against Buffalo, no one had played more along the offensive line this season than undrafted rookie center David Andrews.
But midway through the first half Monday, Andrews was pulled in favor of second-year center Bryan Stork.
Listening to Bill Belichick on the conference call on Tuesday, it appears that decision was made more to ramp up Stork’s return to his customary spot at center than it was an indictment of Andrews’ play.
Andrews played had played every offensive snap this season and started every game at center. With Brady getting hit early and often by the aggressive Bills front seven, Belichick made a change. He went with Stork at center and for the first time this season, Andrews watched Brady from the sidelines.
“Well, we played all seven players on the offensive line, all three tackles and all four inside guys,” Belichick said. “Stork is still working his way back from the time he missed in training camp and the early part of the season, so trying to work him back in there some, too, along with David and Shaq [Mason] and Josh [Kline]. At some point Tre’ Jackson, whenever that happens, whenever he’s ready, we’ll see how that goes.”
Andrews played just 23 of 67 offensive snaps Monday night and injury didn’t appear to be a reason for the diminished playing time. Josh Kline and Marcus Cannon were the only offensive linemen to play every offensive snap against the Bills. Only Cameron Fleming (12) played fewer snaps.
But, as Belichick would point out, it’s important to note that the offensive line wasn’t entirely to blame for the struggles Monday. As Ryan Hannable noted, the Bills did a good job of disrupting Brady’s rhythm at the line of scrimmage, showing multiple looks and formations, as Brady’s snap-to-throw release time was as slow as it has been all season.
“I think the bottom line again as we talked about on an earlier question, just totally as an offense we’ve got to do a better job,” Belichick said. “It definitely starts up front, communication, execution, run blocking, pass blocking, blitz pickup, I mean, you name it, everything we’ve got to do a better job than we did [Monday] night and that’s everybody. We’ll get to work on it.”
The clock is certainly ticking with the Denver Broncos defense up next on the road Sunday night.