Patriots TE Stephen Anderson could be surprise contributor vs. Chargers

Ryan Hannable
January 11, 2019 - 3:27 pm

FOXBORO -- Don't know who Stephen Anderson is? Maybe you should learn.

The Patriots promoted the tight end from the practice squad earlier this week when tight end Jacob Hollister was placed on injured reserve. Anderson has been on the practice squad since September, so he knows the offense and is capable of contributing.

He's not sure if he will be active yet for the divisional round game against the Chargers, but if he is, he knows he's capable of contributing.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I’ve been learning throughout the season. I’ve been gaining confidence. I’ve been improving my technique, my skills, and I think if I get a shot, then I’ll be ready.”

Anderson isn't a typical practice squad player, as he's played in 28 games for the Texans over the previous two seasons. In 15 games last year, he caught 25 passes for 342 yards and a touchdown.

“It was tough,” Anderson said. “It was tough playing for two years and starting my last five games in Houston and having a pretty decent season, I would say, and then coming here and, in a way, starting over and having to start from the bottom. But when I got cut and I was trying to figure out a place to go, I wanted to continue to get better and continue to compete and continue to work hard every single day, and this was the perfect place, because we work hard every single day, it has a history of great tight ends and it’s just an organization that’s going to go far, and that’s what I wanted to be a part of.

“So even though I had to take a step back, I don’t think that my skills have diminished. I think I’ve gotten better with the reps I’ve been able to get on the practice squad.”

The tight end said given his time on the practice squad he was able to study other tight ends, including Aaron Hernandez.

“The first person was Eric Ebron when we played Indy,” Anderson said. “The way they use him, he’s a tight end, but they can use him as a receiver. I think [Chris] Herndon from the Jets, they use him in kind of that tight end/receiver role. And looking at old tape, I did go back and look at Aaron Hernandez. I hear great things about him, and I had to see it for myself, because not everyone gets to see him in practice, and I always hear about him in practice, so I definitely took a look at him. There are some things that I try to pull, try to use out there and try to add to my arsenal.”

What was he able to take from it all?

“All of it,” he said. “I could tell you that Ebron at the top of the route, he’s something at the top of the route. Aaron Hernandez off the line. I think a lot of the great tight ends, like even Jordan Reed, he kind incorporates basketball with that. So I’ve been trying to use that and just learning. That’s the whole thing I’ve been gaining this season — I’ve been learning a lot.”

So, will Anderson play?

We'll have to wait until Sunday morning at 11:35 a.m. when inactives come out.

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