The Patriots officially activated center David Andrews off injured reserve Saturday.
Andrews had returned to practice this week, after missing three games with a broken thumb. His presence will be welcomed on the offensive line, which has had to make a series of adjustments over the past few weeks.
The unit will still be without starting right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor, who was placed on injured reserve earlier after suffering an ankle injury against the Broncos last Sunday.
Rookie linebacker Josh Uche was also eligible to be activated but remains on injured reserve, despite returning to practice. For Sunday’s game against the 49ers, the Patriots also temporarily elevated defensive tackle Nick Thurman and defensive end Tashawn Bower off the practice squad.
Reaching for a standard
The urgency seems high in New England.
After back-to-back losses to the Chiefs and Broncos, the Patriots are looking to get back on track against the 49ers.
“It’s pretty urgent here always, especially after a loss — and the doubling down of having two in a row,” said wide receiver Julian Edelman. “This is not the first time we’ve ever lost a game here. And yeah, it definitely sucks. It is what it is. We’ve got to put that in the past, have a short memory, and really go out and try to focus on what you can control.”
Defensive end Chase Winovich echoed Edelman’s sentiment, saying that the urgency is less about rectifying the team’s win-loss record, but more about playing better football.
“It’s not so much, ‘Oh, we lost two games, we have to win now,’ I don’t think that is necessarily the attitude,” said Winovich. “I’d say more so just the fact that the standard is higher around here in general. Anytime we fall below that — one game or two games or one practice — there’s a bar. We need to know where it’s at. There’s a standard of excellence and we have to strive to achieve that and perform to that level every day. That’s the sense of urgency.”
At 2-3, the Patriots have a losing record in October for the first time since 2002. After the 49ers, New England still has to face the Bills twice and the Ravens.
Garoppolo’s first return
San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan said he senses some extra excitement for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who will be facing the Patriots for the first time since the team traded him to the 49ers in October 2017.
“It’s been some time since he’s been back there and he’s got a ton of respect for everyone there, and I know he’s got a lot of good friends there,” Shanahan said. “Anyone in that situation, there’s always a little more excitement for the person than usual.”
Garoppolo acknowledged he feels “a little different” heading back to Gillette Stadium. He also offered plenty of praise for coach Bill Belichick, crediting his three and a half seasons in New England for helping prepare him for the starting role for the 49ers.
“Coach [Belichick] being my first coach in the NFL, he was just very honest,” Garoppolo said. “Really never beat around the bush. He was very black and white with everything that he did and that’s kind of how I am. I really appreciated that from him. Just whether it was my first day there or when I got traded, he always shot me straight.”
Belichick returned the praise this past week.
“I think we all know Jimmy’s a quality player and can do all the things that a good quarterback needs to do,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any question about his skill level and what he’s been able to accomplish and what their team’s been able to accomplish. We’ll be ready for his best. I’m sure we’ll get it.”
In four games this season, Garoppolo is 2-2. Last week against the Rams, he threw for a season-high 268 yards and three touchdowns.
Gift from Gilmore
Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore surprised a family of Patriots fans who recently lost their husband and father to metastatic cancer. Gilmore invited them to attend a game once it is considered safe to do so, and also offered to gift them a signed jersey … Multiple Patriots virtually gathered together for a good cause earlier this past week, playing in a “Family Feud”-style game show in order to raise money for the Boston Medical Center. Winovich, Joejuan Williams, Justin Bethel, Eluemunor, Anfernee Jennings, Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty, Gunner Olszewski, Derek Rivers, D’Angelo Ross, Jarrett Stidham, Thurman, and Deatrich Wise all participated in the friendly competition, which raised $200,000 for BMC. There was also plenty of trash talk to go around, with Winovich leading the way. “There’s only one player on the team that has ‘win’ in their last name,” he said. “That’s all I’m saying.”
Nicole Yang can be reached at email@example.com.