Matt LaCosse, who has already been hindered by an ankle injury through the start of the season, is expected to miss at least a few weeks after suffering a sprained MCL in Thursday night’s victory over the Giants, according to the NFL’s Mike Giardi.
The injury, though not expected to be season-ending, will put a damper on the Patriots running game which has performed well with LaCosse in the lineup. Especially Sony Michel, who has rushed for a combined 25 yards in the two games LaCosse was inactive back in September.
His first bout with the injury bug stemmed from the opening preseason game against the Detroit Lions. LaCosse sustained an ankle injury after making a catch over the middle, one that ended his preseason and forced him to miss the first and third games of the regular season.
Down a tight end, the Patriots are now forced to role with Ryan Izzo and Ben Watson as the lone two players at the position on the current roster. Izzo has been a bright spot for the Patriots this season and is developing into a strong two-way option at tight end.
He’ll now have Watson to learn from and play with. Watson, a 16-year veteran of the NFL, was resigned on Monday, per ESPN’s Field Yates, likely as a direct result of LaCosse’s status. His years of experience and pedigree make him a strong option as both a blocker and receiver.
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Is a Patriots Trade Coming?
There have been numerous rumors linking the Patriots to trades involving a tight end ahead of the upcoming deadline. The most prominent rumor concerns Tyler Eifert, the Cincinnati tight end linked to both the Patriots and the Saints.
New England would likely have to sell high to bring in Eifert, who is in the midst of what could be his first fully healthy season in four years. It’s a big risk given Eifert’s injury history but one that comes with the upside of having a premier tight end.
Another rumor surrounds Tampa Bay tight end O.J. Howard. The young, once-budding star has been shrouded in his production by starter Cameron Brate. New England might be a perfect destination for Howard to resurrect his career that is starting to spiral downward.
Losing LaCosse Hurts Patriots’ Run Game Most
The impact of LaCosse’s injury will affect the Patriots’ rushing game most prominently. LaCosse has started to show signs of improvement in both his receiving and blocking since overcoming his ankle injury.
LaCosse has three catches for 55 yards this season, all resulting in first downs. As for his blocking, Sony Michel has amassed high yardage totals in all four games LaCosse has played. Michel will need to work in conjunction with both Watson and Izzo to up his numbers over the next few weeks.
That blocking prowess dates back to last year when he was with Denver. LaCosse’s snap count increased throughout the season, as did the production of rookie running back Phillip Lindsay who instantly established himself as one of the top young players in the league.