The New England Patriots listed eight players on their final injury report heading into the weekend, but not one of them was initially ruled out: all eight men were officially questionable to play on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. Since then, however, the club decided to downgrade one of them as tight end Matt LaCosse has not made the trip south and as a result will officially miss the primetime contest against the AFC North leaders.
Getting deactivated is nothing new for LaCosse, who will now have missed five of nine possible games since joining the Patriots as a free agency acquisition this offseason. He already missed Weeks 1 and 3 due to a sprained ankle originally suffered in the preseason opener, and was out for the last two games as well because of a knee injury. While he did return to practice this week, the 27-year-old is apparently not yet ready for in-game action.
With LaCosse out and fellow tight end Eric Tomlinson released earlier this week, the Patriots will again turn to veteran acquisition Benjamin Watson to play a prominent role at tight end. The 38-year-old already played 110 of a possible 151 offensive snaps (72.8%) since rejoining the club two weeks ago, and is projected to again lead the position depth chart — especially with Ryan Izzo being questionable to play after previously suffering a concussion.
Izzo, unlike LaCosse, has not yet been ruled out and is one of seven players who project to be game-time decisions: running backs James White (toe) and Rex Burkhead (foot), wide receivers Julian Edelman (chest/shoulder) and Gunner Olszewski (ankle/hamstring), guard Shaq Mason (ankle), and safety Patrick Chung (heel/chest) are also no safe bets to play against Baltimore.