Learning ‘O’ on the go
Dorsett: I’m getting there
NEW ORLEANS — After trotting out Phillip Dorsett for a limited workload against the Chiefs, the Patriots may have no choice but to give the wide receiver much more responsibility today against the Saints.
Dorsett was in a tough spot a couple weeks ago, having just three practices to prepare for Kansas City. As such, he only played 18 snaps (22.2 percent) — his lowest output since his rookie season with the Colts in 2015 — and didn’t catch any passes.
He thinks things have progressed a bit more in his second week, though Dorsett isn’t naive enough to think he’s made up for lost time.
“I’ve caught up a lot, definitely a lot,” Dorsett said. “It’s been a lot of hard work, but I’ve been studying night and day. It’s definitely a lot in this offense, and I’m not really caught up to speed because it’s so much, but I think I’m getting it.”
The Patriots traded quarterback Jacoby Brissett to land Dorsett during final roster cuts, just five days before the opener. By the time he arrived in Foxboro, the Patriots were focused on game plans, not the installation of the offense. By that notion, Dorsett has almost no chance to catch up to someone like Brandin Cooks, who arrived in March and went through the entire offseason workout program.
But with Julian Edelman and Malcolm Mitchell on injured reserve, and Danny Amendola dealing with a concussion and left knee ailment, Dorsett needs to step up to help Cooks and Chris Hogan. Even if Dorsett is only tasked with a fraction of the game plan, it’ll help.
“The playbook, it’s not simple,” Dorsett said, “but at the end of the day, you just have to work, just have to get the timing down with Tom (Brady). If they tell you how to do it, you can do it like that. It’s not too different. At the end of the day, it’s about practicing what you do on the field and going out there and just working through it.”
Dorsett said the Patriots and Colts run some similar concepts, but the Patriots have a lot more of them and utilize more formations.
The Pats wouldn’t have forked over Brissett if they didn’t believe Dorsett was capable of figuring it out. The former first-round pick is confident but realistic, and it sounds like he isn’t wasting any time with his study habits.
“Keep your head in the playbook,” Dorsett said. “Whatever you write down, go home, write it down again. Just trying to remember everything you were taught.”
Jimmy Garoppolo was excited to learn Brissett will get his first chance to start today for the Colts, who are shorthanded while Andrew Luck continues to recover from shoulder surgery.
Coach Chuck Pagano decided Friday that Brissett would start Indy’s home opener against the Cardinals over Scott Tolzien, according to a Colts source. So it took Brissett less than two weeks to prove his worth to his teammates and the coaching staff. Considering Luck may not return until October, Brissett could be in the driver’s seat for a while longer.
“Good for him,” Garoppolo said. “He has earned it. He is a great player, and I wish him nothing but the best. Hopefully he goes out and gets that win.”
Tolzien was horrendous in the Colts’ season-opening loss to the Rams, and Brissett yielded a late spark in relief. He completed 2-of-3 passes for 51 yards and led a touchdown drive on his first series.
Garoppolo was so intrigued by Brissett’s debut with his new team that he went back to watch him on film. Garoppolo was particularly impressed with Brissett’s 50-yard completion to Donte Moncrief.
“That was impressive,” Garoppolo said. “Moncrief went up and got that one, and it gave them a little momentum at the end of the game.”
Garoppolo obviously won’t get a chance to watch Brissett today, as the Pats and Colts are playing at the same time, but he’ll probably follow up on his former teammate’s performance as soon as he can. The wolfpack is obviously still intact.
“I sent him a text, just wished him luck and everything,” Garoppolo said. “He is still my guy. I wish him nothing but the best. He is in a good situation.”
‘It’s definitely a lot in this offense, and I’m not really caught up to speed because it’s so much, but I think I’m getting it.’ — PHILLIP DORSETT, acquired for Jacoby Brissett from the Colts
Undrafted rookie tight end Jacob Hollister was one of two healthy scratches in the season opener, so he clearly has a hill to climb before making an impact. But with just three healthy wide receivers, an extra tight end may be how to make up for the shortage.
The brunt of Hollister’s summer workload came with the backups, indicative of a limited amount of chemistry with Brady, but he is a receiving tight end who could help in a pinch if Bill Belichick believes he can carve out a limited role.
“Jake is working hard,” Belichick said. “He was inactive against Kansas City, so we didn’t really see much there.
“He’s a young player with hopefully the best football ahead of him. If he continues to work hard, and improve, and get stronger, do a better job with his individual techniques and fundamentals, train well, I think he has a future. But he has a long way to go. He has a lot of work to do. He has some skill.”