Patriots notebook: Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett learns offense on the fly


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.”

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