New England Patriots center David Andrews will not play Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders after surgery for a broken thumb. Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini

The center of the Patriots offense is broken.

David Andrews’ right thumb is fractured, in the process cracking one of the NFL’s best offensive lines down the middle. After undergoing surgery this week, Andrews will be inactive for Sunday’s game against the Raiders and could miss more. He was spotted with a heavy cast around his thumb and wrist at the team’s past two practices.

Wearing the cast, Andrews attempted, at times unsuccessfully, to snap left-handed on Thursday. On Friday afternoon, the Patriots waved a white flag for him when they posted their final injury report of the week.

It’s unclear exactly when or how Andrews broke his thumb, given he played every snap at Seattle last weekend. What is obvious is the Patriots are worse without him.

“He’s the piece that holds it all together as the center. He’s the captain,” Patriots left tackle Isaiah Wynn said this week. “With all his knowledge, he’s very reliable. When we don’t know something, he knows the answer to it. Just him being the key piece has been helpful and great.”

But how much worse, exactly?

That should largely depend on Hjalte Froholdt, a second-year lineman who served as the team’s backup center in training camp. Froholdt spent his rookie season on injured reserve after recording four holding penalties over his first preseason. A fourth-round pick out of Arkansas, Froholdt rated as one of the best pass-blocking interior linemen in college football.

Oddly enough, his run blocking outshined his pass protection during the 2019 preseason. But run or pass Sunday, should he start, everything must begin with a clean snap.

“It’s like the most important kind of transaction involved offensively for us – to make sure we have a great snap,” Patriots quarterback Cam Newton said this week. “Whether it’s Dave, whether it’s whoever.”

Pre-snap, communication with Newton and his fellow linemen will be critical for whomever starts in Andrews’ place. The Raiders, who don’t blitz often, employ a zone-heavy scheme that will occasionally drop linemen into coverage and replace them with rushing safeties or linebackers from various spots on third downs – the type of pressures that can confuse a young center.

JAMES WHITE is officially going to miss his second straight game.

White didn’t practice all week. His father died and his mother suffered life-threatening injuries Sunday in a car crash in Florida. White has been away from the team all week.

“THE PATRIOT WAY” isn’t for everybody.

Quarterback Tom Brady survived 20 seasons in the culture built by Coach Bill Belichick before deciding he had to try something new.

Receiver Mohamed Sanu found out much quicker that his destiny did not lie with in New England.

“I feel like it just wasn’t a good fit,” Sanu said to reporters, according WEEI. “Things happen the way they happen, and I’m not really looking to the past. I’m just focused on what I’ve got here in San (Francisco). I’m excited just to be a part of this team. This culture is just more my style. So, I’m excited for it. I’m just taking full advantage. I’m grateful for my time in New England. It taught me a lot. It just didn’t jell out how I wanted.”

Belichick traded a second-round pick in 2019 to the Atlanta Falcons for Sanu, who played in eight games for the Patriots. He suffered a high-ankle sprain early in his tenure in New England, limiting his effectiveness. The ankle required offseason surgery, and the Patriots released Sanu before the start of this season.

Sanu signed with San Francisco last week and made his debut in a 31-13 win over the New York Jets. He was on the field for 13 snaps and was not targeted in the passing game.

Sanu has 403 receptions for 4,507 career receiving yards, 223 rushing yards and 28 total touchdowns over eight years after being picked in the third round of the 2012 draft by Cincinnati.

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