By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt LaCosse flashed his potential as a combo tight end in the Patriots offense throughout the summer. In his first real snaps with New England, he did not disappoint.
LaCosse's numbers (two catches for 33 yards) don't leap off the screen, but the former Broncos tight end only needs to be the fifth or sixth receiving option as currently constituted. He mainly needs to reliably block along the offensive line, and he delivered in that department in the Patriots' 43-0 win in Miami.
Often matched up against third-year defensive end and former first-round pick Charles Harris, LaCosse enjoyed a mostly clean day as a blocker. He did allow two pressures as Harris beat him with a couple of bull-jerk moves, but other than that he did his job. His two catches also showed impressive hands, timing, and body control.
LaCosse's top highlight of the game showed his combo skills in a single play. Watch below as he sells the run-block before breaking upfield and turning to make a 23-yard catch-and-run.
LaCosse looked in sync with Tom Brady as he broke perfectly on the play-action fake, helping draw in three defenders - linebackers Samuel Eguavoen and Jerome Baker, and now-former Dolphins safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. The fake left him alone in the open field for an easy pitch and catch.
LaCosse's other reception showed off the kind of catch radius that reminds me of someone ... never mind. But look at how LaCosse adjusted to Brady's low throw to reel in the ball for a 10-yard grab.
The Dolphins also left him wide open on this play - which might be a theme this season with all of the Patriots' weapons at wide receiver.
Though it wasn't a perfect day for LaCosse as a blocker, he did make some effective plays in the trenches to help spring Sony Michel to the second level. Early in the game he pulled to the left and sealed Harris off for Michel to sneak through. This didn't result in a big play, but LaCosse's blocking helped make a profitable run possible.
On another Michel run in the first quarter, rookie first-round defensive tackle Christian Wilkins had a chance to blow the play up. But LaCosse engaged him just enough (but maybe got away with a bit of a hold?) for Michel to slip through to the next level.
LaCosse also made an effective block off the line to help Antonio Brown pick up a first down on a jet sweep. The drive resulted in a missed field goal, but LaCosse's block on Tank Carradine gave Brown enough of an opening to move the chains.
Most importantly, LaCosse looks like his ankle injury is in the rearview mirror. They'll especially need his blocking amid injuries and depth concerns on the offensive line. And any offense he can add to the team is a bonus. Considering the depth of talent they have after the addition of Antonio Brown, LaCosse shouldn't have much trouble getting open.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. 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 [email protected].