New England Patriots

Dalton Keene running with the football at Patriots Training Camp. Photo courtesy of the New England Patriots.

By Alex Barth,

The Patriots are celebrating National Tight Ends Day by shaking things up at the position.

Through six weeks, the Patriots have had minimal production from their tight ends. Ryan Izzo has accounted for all six catches and 82 yards. A New England hasn’t caught a touchdown since Week 16 last season.

It looks like Bill Belichick is going to shake things up and try to get more production out of that spot. Devin Asiasi, who has been the second tight end behind Izzo for the Pats’ first five games, is a healthy scratch against the Niners. Fellow rookie third-round pick Dalton Keene is active in his spot, making his NFL debut.

Keene missed the beginning of the season with a neck injury. Unlike Asiasi, who is more of a traditional tight end, Keene fits the H-Back role and could add a new wrinkle to the Patriots’ offense.

Also inactive for the Patriots is rookie safety Kyle Dugger. The team’s top 2020 draft pick has had a strong start to the season, but was limited during the week with an ankle injury.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer is inactive for the second-straight game . He lost the backup job to Jarrett Stidham after the team’s Week 4 loss to Kansas City.

J.J. Taylor is also inactive for the second game in a row. The Patriots will have just three running backs against San Francisco – Damien Harris, James White, and Rex Burkhead – with Sony Michel on IR.

Meanwhile, the 49ers enter the game without a number of key players, including both starting safties.

Patriots-Niners kicks off at 4:25 from Gillette Stadium. You can catch Bob Socci and Scott Zolak on the call on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Check for updates.

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at