Anderson has joined the Patriots' practice squad, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reports. Anderson, who was let go by the Texans last Friday, joins the Patriots as the team's season opener against his former team approaches. Aside from potentially offering insight into some of Houston's tendencies on offense, the 25-year-old will bolster the Patriots' tight end depth behind Rob Gronkowski. Anderson logged 25 catches for 342 yards and a TD in 15 games last year.
Anderson was waived by the Texans on Friday, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. Anderson, despite setting career highs in catches (25), yards (342) and snaps (441) with the Texans in 2017, was unable to secure a spot on the Texans' 53-man roster. Houston drafted a pair of tight ends in the 2018 NFL Draft -- Jordan Akins (third round) and Jordan Thomas (sixth round) -- and the team seems confident enough in its rookies to back up starter Ryan Griffin. Anderson will become an unrestricted free agent if he goes unclaimed on waivers.
Anderson will be challenged to be the top backup to Ryan Griffin at tight end, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports. The Texans drafted a pair tight ends -- Jordan Akins in the third round and Jordan Thomas in the sixth -- so the team is certainly looking closely at the position. Houston had good production out of their tight ends in 2016, but injuries limited their impact in 2017. Anderson had a run as the starter late in the season but saw his snaps diminish each week. Blocking has been a weakness for him, and if Anderson can't protect Deshaun Watson, his spot as the backup is susceptible to a challenge by either rookie.
Anderson finished the 2017 season with career highs in catches (25), targets (52), yards (342) and snaps (441). Concussion issues for Ryan Griffin and C.J. Fiedorowicz led to Anderson being the lone healthy tight end over the final five games of the season. That jacked up his offensive snaps, but he was unable to make an impact with the opportunity. Some of that had to do with inferior quarterback play, but his snap count decreased in each successive game, going from a season high of 68 in Week 13 to bottoming out at 22 in Week 17. His strength is receiving, so with sketchy quarterback play, Anderson was not in a position to succeed, and his talents as a blocker aren't up to snuff. The second-year tight end is expected to be back with the team in 2018. However, the statuses of Griffin and Fiedorowicz -- each have had multiple concussions -- are uncertain. If the Texans move on from the injured duo, it's likely they'll look for a starting tight end in free agency, keeping Anderson in a backup role.
Anderson was targeted twice and held without a catch in Monday's 34-6 loss to the Steelers. That's two consecutive games without a catch for Anderson, whose snap count has steadily decreased since he became the lead tight end four weeks ago. He's not the best of blockers, so the Texans often went with extra offensive linemen instead, because they relied on the running game against the Steelers' fifth-ranked passing defense. There could be more opportunities to throw Week 17 against Indianapolis' 30th-ranked passing defense, but there's little confidence that quarterback T.J. Yates can exploit that weakness.
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|9||11/05||Green Bay Packers||6||5.00|
|12||11/25||@New York Jets||18||7.00|
|17||12/30||New York Jets||18||7.00|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||36||18||218||1||12||12.11||27|