Devin Asiasi: injured reserve.
Jake Burt: practice squad injured reserve.
Dalton Keene: limited with a knee injury.
Ryan Izzo: limited with a hamstring injury.
That’s the current state of the New England Patriots’ tight end group, which does not feature a single fully healthy player entering Monday night’s matchup with the New York Jets.
The Patriots opted not to acquire tight end help ahead of Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline and would need to significantly alter their offense if Izzo and Keene both cannot play against the Jets.
Perhaps Rashod Berry can help.
Berry, an undrafted rookie on New England’s practice squad, has been used as an edge rusher since the start of training camp, but his primary position at Ohio State was tight end. In fact, he’s currently listed as a tight end on the Patriots’ official roster. (He’d been a “TE/DE” for much of the season.)
With Izzo and Keene banged up and Asiasi unavailable for at least the next three games, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Friday that Berry could flip back to offense to stabilize this injury-ravaged position group.
“Yeah, definitely,” Belichick said. “He played that position for two years at Ohio State, and Rashod’s a very willing player, willing to do whatever he’s asked to do. So, yeah. At this point, when you have to try to create depth on your roster, those are the kind of options that you’d want to look at.”
Asiasi missed Sunday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills for personal reasons, and Keene was a late scratch after testing his injured knee pregame.
Izzo, the Patriots’ only available tight end, played 74 percent of offensive snaps, and New England played 23 percent of its snaps (14 total) in 20 personnel, which features two running backs and no tight ends. The Patriots had used that package just seven times over their first six games, according to Sharp Football Stats.
Patriots tight ends have caught just 10 total passes this season, the fewest in the NFL by a wide margin.
Berry has two practice squad elevations remaining. He was called up to the gameday roster as a COVID-19 replacement for New England’s Week 6 loss to the Denver Broncos, playing four snaps on defense and eight more on special teams.
The 24-year-old primarily was used as a blocker in college, catching 17 passes for 198 yards and four touchdowns over his four seasons with the Buckeyes.