New England Patriots tight end Devin Asiasi was dealt a bit of a setback at the onset of training camp as a positive COVID-19 diagnosis forced him to miss the first nine practices, but the second-year pass-catcher finished on a high note.
Asiasi caught all four passes that were thrown his way for 64 yards in New England’s preseason finale against the New York Giants on Sunday. It was arguably his best game as a pro. More importantly than that, though, was the fact Asiasi played 83 percent of the snaps.
“It felt good to get out there, get those reps, a couple catches,” Asiasi told reporters after the game, per the team. “There’s definitely still some more room for improvement out there, for sure. But I think it’s something to build off going into the season.”
It was the latest example of Asiasi’s development, which he has been encouraged by this summer.
“I think every week is a step forward, just getting reps on the practice field and during game day, as well,” Asiasi said. “Every week I’m looking to take a step forward in my game, become more reliable to my coaches and then just stepping out there and doing what I know I can do, so it feels good.”
Asiasi was granted another crucial opportunity as he was the Patriots’ only available tight end in their second preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles. He played 66 percent of snaps in that win as his 52 snaps were 13 more than any skill player. Fellow tight ends Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry and Matt LaCosse were all sidelined with injuries.
“I think just in that situation, I just had to step up and fill the role,” Asiasi said. “We went down a couple of players, but at the end of the day, we just got to step up and fill the role and go out there and execute on the field. So, that week definitely helped me out, obviously going from minimal reps to a lot more reps.”
The 2020 third-rounder is among a talented depth chart at the position headlined by the offseason additions of Smith and Henry. But with Asiasi continuing to come into his own, perhaps best depicted on back-shoulder throw from quarterback Mac Jones which caused Asiasi to adjust his body, he too could be a fixture in the New England offense.
The Patriots now turn their attention to having to cut their roster down to 53 players before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline.
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