When Matt LaCosse signed with the New England Patriots this offseason, few expected him to enter training camp as the starter at tight end. But after Austin Seferian-Jenkins was cut and Ben Watson was suspended for the first four games of the season after violating the league's PED policy, the door is now open for LaCosse.
At the second day of training camp, LaCosse spoke of the opportunity in front of him and his mentality in the team's wide-open position battle.
“It’s obviously a big opportunity,” LaCosse said to reporters after Friday's practice. “But again, nothing’s been given to me yet. You just have to go out there and work. The whole room is talented. It’s a talented team. Whatever I can do to help the team, that’s what I’m going to do.”
LaCosse did do well in Friday's session by all accounts, but he is still going to have a major obstacle to his success. And that's the fact that he will be following in the footsteps in one of the greatest to ever play the position in Rob Gronkowski.
Gronkowski retired this offseason and despite rumors to the contrary, plans on remaining retired. While LaCosse's production may be compared to that of Gronkowski's in the early stages of the season, LaCosse isn't going to let that bother him.
“I’m just a guy trying to play the game and help the team win,” LaCosse said. “Gronk’s one of the best tight ends to ever play the game, but whatever this team needs me to do to help this team win, that’s what I’m going to do.”
LaCosse entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2015 and had the best year of his career in 2018, catching 24 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown in 15 games (five starts). He will look to continue to improve as he aims for more playing time in New England.
LaCosse's main competition at tight end, with Watson suspended, will come from former seventh-round pick Ryan Izzo, receiving tight end Stephen Anderson, and undrafted free agent Andrew Beck. Recent free-agent signing Lance Kendricks, a solid blocker, will also factor into the battle for roster spots.
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