Patriots

Report: Patriots TE Matt LaCosse has sprained ankle, won't play on Saturday vs. Titans

Report: Patriots TE Matt LaCosse has sprained ankle, won't play on Saturday vs. Titans

The New England Patriots saw their depth at tight end disappear this offseason after the retirement of Rob Gronkowski and the release of Dwayne Allen. And now, the position is getting thinner.

According to Jim McBride of The Boston Globe, Patriots tight end Matt LaCosse is dealing with an ankle sprain. McBride took to Twitter to break the news on Monday night.

It's currently unclear what the extent of LaCosse's injury is an what his timetable for return may be.

LaCosse is expected to be the Patriots' starter at tight end with veteran Ben Watson suspended for the first four games of the season. Depending on the severity of this injury, that could change. LaCosse had a career-year last season with the Denver Broncos, catching 24 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown.

LaCosse has been solid in Patriots training camp and in last Thursday's preseason opener against the Detroit Lions, he caught two passes for 37 yards. But with him set to miss time, that will give the Patriots' other options at the position a chance to prove themselves.

The Patriots will likely take a long look at Ryan Izzo, a seventh-round pick in 2018, during Saturday's game against the Titans while also giving some time to receiving threat Stephen Anderson, veteran Lance Kendricks (if healthy), and undrafted rookie Andrew Beck.

The team also did acquire tight end Eric Saubert from the Atlanta Falcons, so he could factor into the rotation as well. If the newcomer is familiar enough with the offense by Saturday, he could get a look. The former Drake product caught five passes for 48 yards in 2019.

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Tom E. Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast: Dissecting the offense with the addition of Antonio Brown

Tom E. Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast: Dissecting the offense with the addition of Antonio Brown

1:36 - Tom Curran starts off by asking a simple question: 'What keeps Antonio Brown on this team?' As of now, it's the fact that he's valuable enough on the gridiron, but when will that not be enough?

7:09 - Matt Cassel joins Tom to talk about a variety of topics: Antonio Brown's explosiveness making the Patriots offense look like that of the 2007 team; (14:38) How the offense attacks man vs. zone coverage; (21:41) How to approach Greg Williams' defense next week against the Jets; (27:25) and a pair of Hall of Fame debates.

32:26 - Tom catches up with Kyle Van Noy after his season debut in Miami, talking about the linebacker's newborn son, the dominance of the Patriots defense and how Josh Gordon is getting more comfortable in New England.

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Bill Belichick praises Joe Thuney's versatility amid Patriots' o-line injuries

Bill Belichick praises Joe Thuney's versatility amid Patriots' o-line injuries

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has found several quality offensive lineman in the middle to late rounds of the NFL Draft, and Joe Thuney is one of the best examples.

Thuney has established himself as a key member of the Patriots o-line as the starting left guard for all of his three seasons in New England. The 2016 third-round pick was one of the Patriots' most important players in their Super Bowl LIII victory, where he helped slow down elite Los Angeles Rams pass rusher Aaron Donald.

You cannot explain Thuney's true value without mentioning his versatility. The North Carolina State product is able to play just about every position along the offensive line, and with the Patriots losing both starting tackles to injuries over the last two weeks, Thuney's versatility has become a huge asset for Belichick.

"Very valuable. Somebody has to have versatility on that group," Belichick told reporters Tuesday. "If you take seven linemen to the game, you can't have a backup for every position, so somebody has to move. Either one of your starters has to move or your two backups have to cover all five spots in some combination of that. We need somebody that can do that and Joe's our most versatile lineman on the team, so that is an important role for us to have in terms of maintaining our depth with the group."

The latest blow to the Patriots offensive line came Tuesday, when starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury. He isn't eligible to return for eight weeks. New England also lost starting right tackle Marcus Cannon to a shoulder injury in Week 1, and he missed Sunday's win over the Miami Dolphins.

The Patriots signed free agent offensive linemen Marshall Newhouse and Caleb Benenoch over the last two weeks to bolster their depth, and both of them are options at the tackles spots.

Left tackle is one of the most important positions on the field. This player protects quarterback Tom Brady's blind side and regularly goes up against the league's best pass rushers. Thuney's familiarity with the offense and overall skill set make him a logical fit at left tackle while Wynn is out, and the Patriots could always shift guys around once Newhouse and Benenoch are more comfortable with the playbook.

Replacing a player like Wynn is going to be difficult for the Patriots, but it's nice to have lineman such as Thuney who can fill in at several spots and perform at a high level playing out of position. He's one of the most valuable Patriots players not named Tom Brady.

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