James Ferentz to replace injured Patriots center David Andrews vs. Jets

Patriots will be without starting center vs. Jets, per Patricia originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

If Mac Jones delivers a bounce-back performance Sunday in New York, he'll have to do so without his starting center.

Patriots senior football advisor and offensive line coach Matt Patricia all but confirmed David Andrews won't play against the Jets in Week 8, and that backup James Ferentz will start in Andrews' place.

"David’s a great player. Obviously he’s done a great job for us inside, and this week, James will be in that situation," Patricia told reporters Friday. "And he’ll be able to help us there."

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Andrews was absent from practice Friday and has yet to practice this week after suffering a head injury on Mike Pennel's blindside hit in Monday's loss to the Chicago Bears. Pennel was ejected for the hit, which Patriots co-captain Matthew Slater called an "extremely dirty play."

That hit will force Andrews to miss his first game since Week 17 of the 2020 season, but Patricia and head coach Bill Belichick both expressed confidence in Ferentz, who is in his fifth season with New England.

"James Ferentz has been in our system for a long time, extremely smart, extremely smart," Patricia said. "He and David are really, they’re the guys that handle all the communication on a daily basis anyways with practice in there."

"If James has to play, I'm sure he'll play well for us," Belichick added.

The Patriots' offensive line will face a difficult challenge in the 5-2 Jets, who have allowed 17 points or fewer in three straight games. Assuming Jones plays the entirety of the game, he'll need Ferentz to communicate at a high level if New England wants to have success on offense.