New England Patriots

Matt LaCosse of the New England Patriots celebrates a first down during the first quarter of the preseason game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on August 8, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. New England defeated Detroit 31-3. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff,

The Patriots appear set to play their 2019 season opener with only one tight end on the active roster.

According to Ian Rapoport, TE Matt LaCosse is not expected to suit up against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football. The Patriots free-agent acquisition is dealing with an ankle injury, suffered one month ago today in the Aug. 8 preseason opener. LaCosse appeared on the injury report as “Questionable” on Friday.

LaCosse’s absence would leave second-year pro Ryan Izzo as the only active TE for Sunday night. The Patriots have Stephen Anderson on their practice squad, while veterans Ben Watson and Lance Kendricks are both serving suspensions. Watson is out for the first four games of the season, while Kendricks’ suspension is for just one game.

Izzo figures to play almost every offensive snap on Sunday night, if not all of them. He had a solid showing in the preseason dress rehearsal with a nifty catch from Tom Brady and dependable run-blocking. The latter will be more important for Izzo to execute.

Meanwhile, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (hamstring) has not yet been ruled out. He’s also listed as questionable, along with safety Obi Melifonwu (ankle). Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyers, and Gunner Olszewski are the Patriots’ projected receivers against the Steelers if Thomas can’t go.

Newly signed free-agent receiver Antonio Brown is ineligible to play for the Patriots on Sunday, because he is not officially on the roster until Monday. The Patriots will need to make a corresponding roster move to make Brown’s addition official.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at