FOXBORO, Mass. — Dwayne Allen played a season-high 45 offensive snaps for the New England Patriots in Sunday’s win over the Miami Dolphins, nearly equaling his snap count from the first three games combined.
The tight end could see an even larger workload Thursday if Rob Gronkowski is unable to suit up against the Indianapolis Colts. Gronkowski, New England’s All-Pro tight end, missed practice Tuesday after exiting Sunday’s game with an ankle injury.
Speaking in the locker room Tuesday afternoon, Allen said he’s prepared to take on a greater role if called upon.
“(I approach it) the same as any other week,” he said. “We have a lot of information that I have to go through that I’ll go through. I have my routine, and having a routine is the best thing for anyone in this building, because you stay ready. You have your routine, and in case anything changes, you’re in that routine, and everything’s the same for you.”
After playing less than 30 percent of the Patriots’ offensive snaps in Weeks 1 through 3, Allen was on the field for 55.6 percent of snaps against the Dolphins. He was targeted twice by quarterback Tom Brady and caught his first pass since Week 16 of last season on a screen pass that lost 4 yards.
“I always prepare like a starter,” Allen said. “You never know in this league and on this team. Our individual assignments change from week to week, and this past week, I was able to go out there and play a little bit more and was happy for it.”
Allen also delivered a booming crackback block on rookie Sony Michel’s 10-yard touchdown run. Run blocking has been Allen’s primary contribution to the Patriots, as he’s been targeted just 24 times in 23 games with the team.
Even in the two games Gronkowski missed last season — one with a thigh injury and one due to suspension — Allen totaled just one catch on two targets for 11 yards.
“That’s part of playing the tight end position, to hold up on the edge of the line, maybe do some off-the-line blocking, in-line blocking, whatever it may be,” he said. “And to throw a couple crushing blocks is always a plus.”
Thursday’s game will be Allen’s first game against his former team. He played five seasons for the Colts, catching 126 passes and scoring 19 touchdowns before being traded to the Patriots last offseason.
“Man, it’s the next game,” the 28-year-old said, downplaying the reunion storyline. “I personally don’t look at it in any other way than it’s the next game. And it’s the next game on a short week, so (we need) a lot of mental preparation and getting the body ready to go out there and execute.”
The Patriots’ other tight end, Jacob Hollister, missed the last two games with a chest injury and was limited in practice Tuesday.
Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images
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