New England Patriots: Matt Lengel out to claim third TE role

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24: Matt Lengel
FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24: Matt Lengel /

With six tight ends currently on the roster, Matt Lengel is out to prove to the New England Patriots that he is their third best option.

Remember Matt Lengel?  That’s right, that New England Patriots tight end who caught two passes for 22 yards and a touchdown against the New York Jets in a late regular season game in 2016.

While Jacob Hollister has Patriots fans buzzing, Lengel is looking to stake his claim as the team’s third tight end option entering the 2017 season.

Signed off the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad back in November, the 6-foot-7, 266-pound tight end played in six regular season games and all three postseason games for the Patriots last season.

FOXBORO, MA – DECEMBER 24: LeGarrette Blount
FOXBORO, MA – DECEMBER 24: LeGarrette Blount /

As a player who provided depth at the position due to the absence of Rob Gronkowski, Lengel has the advantage as far as experience goes.  But, if he is to become that reliable third tight end option the team is looking for, he will have to continue to work hard and show strengths in the areas where they really count.

"“I try to work very hard in every aspect because there’s always things I need to work on as a blocker,” Lengel said following Patriots’ training camp in early August, via the Patriot Ledger.  “For a long time, I always said I’m a blocker first.  But at one point I was like, you know what, I need to be able to do everything they need me to do and I try to do the things that are necessary to get better at each part of my game, really.  Whatever that entails, I’m going to try to do.”"

A big target who can block

With his size, Matt Lengel is a huge target in the passing game as exhibited by the late December game against the Jets.  But receiving is not where he will earn a spot on this team.  The blocking will be the main factor on this team, especially on a New England Patriots depth chart that includes Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen.

Related Story: Matt Lengel Anxious for the Big Moment

His ability to block may also set him apart from other tight ends vying for that third spot.  While Hollister did have a good showing in the first preseason game, the competition is still very much wide open.

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Besides Lengel and Hollister, the team has veteran James O’Shaughnessy and rookie Sam Cotton also in the mix.  With those players fighting for a role, Lengel knows he can only control what he can control and that is doing the things he does best.

"“I’ve said it a lot, I can just control what I can control,” Lengel said.  “It’s a plain answer but it’s true, because as a professional athlete, you can kind of drive yourself crazy playing the numbers game.  But I just try to eliminate all that, control what I can control, try to come out here and get better, go in the weight room and get better, go in the meeting room and get better, and go into the cafeteria and try to eat the right things.”"

Along with the hard work and eating right, Matt Lengel just wants to do what’s best for the team.  Playing in those games the latter part of last season as well as going through the full preseason program is the advantage Lengel has over those other tight ends battling for a spot.  That also includes Allen.

Next: New England Patriots ‘fortunate’ to land Jacob Hollister as an undrafted rookie

Although it is one of the least talked about battle positions, the third tight end role should become more and more interesting as the preseason rolls along.  So far, Jacob Hollister has emerged as a favorite, but Matt Lengel isn’t ready to give up his spot on the depth chart.