FOXBORO, Mass. — New England Patriots tight end Ben Watson certainly sounds like a guy ready to make his 2019 season debut Monday night against the New York Jets. And Watson has had to wait a while.
It’s not a big surprise that Watson will play Monday given the Patriots’ lack of depth at tight end.
“It’s been a while, so I’m excited to play a real football game Monday night, no less,” Watson said. “It doesn’t get any bigger than that, so I’m definitely looking forward to playing a real football game against a real opponent on live TV. It’s going to be really exciting.”
Watson has only been back in the building for three days, but he’s feeling prepared to take the field in a game situation.
“One thing about this place is they prepare the players to play,” Watson said. “And so anybody who’s out there no matter if you’ve been here the entire time or you’ve been here for a week, your job is to perform when called upon, so that’s what I expect to do.”
Through six games, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has only attempted 15 passes to tight ends Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse. They’ve caught nine passes for 169 yards with a touchdown. Brady played with Watson in the tight end’s first stint with the Patriots from 2004 to 2009. There’s been a long break from that time to now, but it still wouldn’t be surprising to see Brady have more trust in Watson than he did in Izzo and LaCosse.
“It’s a work in progress,” Watson said. “Definitely a work in progress. It can get better. That comes with me getting acclimated to playing again. It comes with gaining trust. We talk a lot about trust and being dependable, those types of things build day after day. And so we’re always in that process no matter if it’s Week 7 or Week 17. It can always be better. And that’s what we’re doing not only in the film room but also on the practice field.”
Brady expressed his disappointment when Watson was released last week. He’s scheduled to talk Saturday at Gillette Stadium. Don’t be surprised if Brady is much more enthused about the Patriots’ tight end situation now that Watson is back on board.