On an evening the place the Patriots’ offense struggled to generate explosive performs in a irritating Week 2 loss to the Dolphins, the sight of Demario Douglas planted on the sideline loomed massive.
The 2023 sixth-round decide was restricted to simply six offensive snaps on Sunday in opposition to Miami, with zero coming his method after he was knocked for a expensive fumble on the finish of the primary quarter.
It was a sudden shift in Douglas’ utilization. He was focused by Mac Jones on two of these six snaps in opposition to the Dolphins. The rookie has already asserted himself as a featured cog in New England’s offense, particularly after logging 33 offensive snaps in opposition to the Eagles in Week 1.
Given Invoice Belichick and the Patriots’ repeated emphasis on ball safety and the slim margin of error often handed to first-year gamers, it appeared relatively apparent that Douglas’ benching in opposition to Miami was a results of touchdown in Belichick’s doghouse following a turnover.
As anticipated, Belichick didn’t delve a lot into any disciplinary-related motives behind Douglas’ drop in snaps on Sunday.
“Look, we had plenty of manufacturing on offense,” Belichick mentioned on Sunday. “[DeVante] Parker had a great day. [Mike] Gesicki had a great day. Hunter [Henry] had a great day, JuJu [Smith-Schuster], KB [Kendrick Bourne]. So, you already know, plenty of good gamers. Can’t play everyone.”
Talking on Tuesday morning, Patriots offensive coordinator Invoice O’Brien echoed an identical sentiment with regard to Douglas’ phased-out reps revolving extra across the staff’s offensive gameplan.
“Ball safety’s clearly an enormous a part of what we preach,” O’Brien mentioned. “I’d say within the sport… I’ve plenty of confidence in “Pop” Douglas, as I do all of the gamers that we now have. I feel as the sport performed out the opposite day — due to what we did, the packages that we went to, whether or not we have been in no-huddle or among the issues that we have been doing — it simply wasn’t Pop on the sphere.
“On the finish of the day, I feel we now have to do a greater job of continuous to get everyone concerned within the gameplan all through the sport, and that’s what we’ll do.”
Regardless that the Patriots’ offense began to realize construct momentum as Sunday’s sport continued, New England has been hampered in its tried second-half comebacks in opposition to the Eagles and Dolphins by a dearth of big-play capabilities.
Throughout Sunday’s loss in opposition to Miami, the Patriots’ longest play on offense got here by the use of a Mac Jones scramble for 18 complete yards.
At 5-foot-8, Douglas isn’t going to be a goal for Jones with regards to contested throws alongside the sideline. However the 22-year-old wideout out of Liberty is arguably New England’s most dynamic pass-catcher due to his crisp route-running and his stop-and-start slicing capability.
Regardless of his momentum-sapping miscue in opposition to Miami, an accountable Douglas took his benching in stride following the Patriots’ 24-17 loss.
“I follow exhausting. That is one thing to be taught from,” Douglas mentioned Sunday. “Every time I get again in there, I’m going to make it depend.”
Because the Patriots look to get again on monitor in opposition to a stout Jets protection on Sunday, O’Brien and New England’s offense must discover a strategy to weave a talented participant like Douglas again into their gameplan in what’s already trying like a must-win sport.
“I feel Pop will be taught from what occurred on Sunday,” O’Brien mentioned. “However Pop has had a extremely good, for my part, rookie expertise to date. From OTAs to coaching camp to the place we at the moment are, Pop has performed plenty of actually good issues. So, we like when Pop’s within the sport.”
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