By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
All of the Patriots’ tight ends are either on injured reserve or listed on the injury report, meaning they could end up with none of them against the Jets.
Rookie tight ends Devin Asiasi and Jake Burt (practice squad) are on injured reserve, so they won’t be available for next Monday night’s game. So the Patriots are down to Ryan Izzo and rookie TE Dalton Keene on the roster. But both Izzo and Keene were listed on Thursday’s injury report with hamstring and knee injuries, respectively.
There’s a chance that the Patriots ultimately play Monday’s game with no active tight ends. They’ve used offensive linemen as extra blockers on numerous occasions throughout the season, so that would be an option for them. Fullback Jakob Johnson could occasionally fill an in-line tight end role as well.
Bill Belichick has a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency option, too. Practice squad rookie Rashod Berry has worked as a defensive end with the Patriots, but also played tight end at Ohio State. Belichick said “Yeah, definitely,” when asked if Berry could possible play some tight end in a pinch if the Pats need him.
Based on last Sunday’s game against the Bills, in which Izzo was the only active tight end, the most likely scenario is that the Patriots just de-emphasize the tight end position in the offensive gameplan – in this case, erase it entirely. The Patriots played a season-high 16 offensive snaps in “20” personnel (two running backs, three wide receivers, zero tight ends) in Buffalo. There’s a good chance that number goes way up on Monday night.
I talked Patriots with Alex Barth and Ty Anderson of 985TheSportsHub.com earlier this week on our podcasts. Have a listen below.
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? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff or send him a nasty email at firstname.lastname@example.org.