Can Phillip Dorsett’s Familiarity With Texans Give Patriots Wideout A Leg Up?

FOXBORO — Uncertainty is a common theme in Week 1 of the NFL season.

Just ask New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who had this to say Wednesday about how the Houston Texans will deploy versatile safety Tyrann Mathieu in Sunday’s season opener at Gillette Stadium:

“We’ll see how the Texans use him. I don’t know. He might only do one thing for them, or he might do a lot of things for them. I don’t know.”

Or Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan, who hinted at the perils of relying on old game tape to pick up Houston’s tendencies:

“We can watch all the film, but at the end of the day, if we go out there, we could see something completely different. So, I think that just kind of comes with the task of playing in Week 1. You never know, and you’re just going to have to adjust on the fly.”

Phillip Dorsett is adopting a different mindset, though. After all, the speedy Patriots wideout has played the Texans five times in his brief NFL career — more than he’s faced any other team — thanks to his two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South.

Dorsett had no problem revealing his scouting report of Houston’s secondary.

“Really physical,” Dorsett said Wednesday. “They play a lot of Cover 1, so we know what we’re up against. (The Patriots) practiced them (last year) up in West Virginia, and I played them every year being in Indy, I played them twice a year.

“So, on the back end, they have really good guys. A lot of speed, they’re really physical. I mean, they have a lot of good talent, so it’s a challenge.”

Houston’s secondary is led by two long, athletic cornerbacks in Johnathan Joseph (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) and Kevin Johnson (6-foot, 185), both of whom have been with the team since Dorsett entered the league in 2015. Mathieu is a newcomer, but safety Kareem Jackson has been a mainstay in the Texans’ defensive backfield since 2010.

Dorsett will be hoping his familiarity with the group gives him an edge Sunday as he tries to make his mark in a depleted wide receiving corps.

“Playing the Texans is a big challenge for us, Dorsett added. “Their defense is amazing. They’ve got a lot of playmakers on offense and defense.”

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images

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