The Patriots activated starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn off the reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday.
Wynn will be eligible to play Sunday afternoon against the visiting Dallas Cowboys, but he has missed the last two weeks of practice.
The Patriots also temporarily elevated offensive lineman James Ferentz from the practice squad to the active roster. The 32-year-old Ferentz, who has been on New England’s practice squad since 2017, was also elevated last week as a COVID-19 replacement player and started at left guard against the Houston Texans.
Against the Cowboys, the Patriots will need to fill at least two spots on their offensive line because right tackle Trent Brown (calf) remains on injured reserve and right guard Shaq Mason has already been ruled out with an abdomen injury.
If Wynn can’t go, either, they’ll need another reinforcement.
One of the leading replacement options at tackle is Justin Herron, who is questionable with a back injury. Herron did not practice Thursday but returned in a limited capacity Friday.
Yodny Cajuste, who made his NFL debut against the Texans, and Yasir Durant, who earned some snaps earlier in the season, are also options at tackle.
Depending on who is available, the Patriots could do some shuffling, such as moving starting left guard Michael Onwenu to right tackle and inserting Ferentz and Ted Karras at guard.
Asked about that possibility, coach BIll Belichick seemed to keep the door open.
“Whoever it would be, any time you have to go deep at any position, you’re looking at what would just be best in the end in that situation on a short-term basis,” Belichick said Friday. “It would depend on who else is in the picture and what else we’re talking about, and that’s still a little bit of a moving target here.”
Detroit shuffle for Tavai
After being released by the Detroit Lions this summer, linebacker Jahlani Tavai received a phone call from former coach Matt Patricia.
Patricia, now the Patriots’ senior football adviser, reached out to Tavai to set up a reunion in New England. A few days later, the Patriots signed Tavai to their practice squad. Five weeks into the season, the team formally signed him to the 53-man roster.
“It’s been great,” Tavai said Friday. “[Matt’s] helped me a ton, especially learning this defense. When he gave me the call on the day I got waived by the Lions, I was just excited. I knew this was the place to call home next.”
When Patricia was head coach of the Lions, he drafted Tavai out of Hawaii with the 43rd overall pick in the second round in 2019. During his two-year tenure in Detroit, Tavai appeared in 31 games, starting 16, and logged 116 tackles, including seven for a loss and four quarterback hits.
Tavai has played just nine defensive snaps as a Patriot, but he’s hopeful to have an impact as he continues to acclimate to New England’s system.
How would he describe his style of play to those that aren’t familiar with him?
“I do like to play with my hair on fire,” Tavai said with a laugh. “That’s it. That’s the biggest way to describe myself. Any time I make a big hit, or make any play, all I have to do is put a smile up. That’s it. As long as I’m playing aggressive, that just takes care of itself.”
Anderson welcomes first child
Patriots defensive end Henry Anderson and his wife Saryn announced they have welcomed their first child, a baby girl named Bowen. Anderson, who was placed on injured reserve Oct. 6 with a torn pectoral, is in the first season of a two-year contract. He is the fourth Patriot to become a first-time dad this season, joining center David Andrews, safety Adrian Phillips, and special teams ace Justin Bethel.