BOSTON (CBS) — In a season that’s started off with a number of surprising disappointments for the 3-2 Patriots, tight end Dwayne Allen has arguably been the biggest. But he faced reporters on Tuesday and acknowledged publicly for the first time that he can be much better.
“I certainly haven’t played up to my potential,” Allen said.
Joining a team that already had Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan, Brandin Cooks, and James White catching passes from Tom Brady, Allen wasn’t likely to be better than the fifth option in the passing game anyway. But the tight end has been targeted just six times in five games, and has yet to make a catch. He admitted that the nuances of the Brady-led offense has been a new, unique challenge for him.
“The non-verbal communication between quarterback and receivers, certain things Tom expects – when you’re not able to execute those things, you’re not out there as much,” said Allen, who was not targeted last Thursday against the Buccaneers in Tampa despite playing 50 snaps.
Allen so far has earned an expectedly dismal 39.0 grade from Pro Football Focus, including 45.1 in pass blocking, which was thought to be one of his strengths. He told reporters that he continues to put in extra work on “little technical things” to improve his blocking.
Pass protection has become especially important in light of the 33 hits Brady has taken, which has resulted in a left shoulder injury. It’s on Allen and the offensive line to simply get better, because the tight end isn’t going anywhere – and if Gronkowski goes down, he’s still the next man up.