FOXBORO, Mass. — New England Patriots defensive tackle Danny Shelton was annoyed as he watched the film of last Sunday’s ugly loss to the Detroit Lions.
Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett felt differently.
Despite the fact New England’s three wide receivers combined for just four catches on 10 targets for 43 yards in the 23-10 defeat, Dorsett actually was encouraged after rewatching the game.
Why? Because he saw solutions to the problems that are hamstringing the Patriots’ usually prolific offense.
“They’re definitely fixable, and that gives us a lot of confidence,” Dorsett said Thursday. “The coaches still have a lot of confidence in us, and that’s the good thing — when you go in and you look at (the film) and it’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, everything is fixable.’ That gives us confidence. And it starts on the practice field. If we practice better, we’ll play better.”
Dorsett, one of the stars of the Patriots’ season-opening win over the Houston Texans, endured an especially miserable night in Detroit, finishing with zero catches on five targets from quarterback Tom Brady, one of which resulted in an interception. He’s been the team’s most productive receiver through three games (12 catches, 110 yards, one touchdown), but that’s not saying much.
Consider these stats, shared Friday morning by ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss: When throwing to wide receivers this season, Brady ranks 31st among qualifying NFL quarterbacks in yards per attempt and 27th in completion percentage. Not great!
But when Dorsett looks at that group — which includes fellow wideouts Chris Hogan (seven catches, 84 yards, two touchdowns) and Cordarrelle Patterson (five catches, 36 yards) — he doesn’t see a lack of ability. He sees a unit that hasn’t played up to its potential.
“I feel like it’s us,” Dorsett said. “We know what we’re capable of. We’re definitely capable of being a great offense, and we’ve got to do it. We’ve got to put in the work on the field, and that’ll show on Sunday.”
The Patriots could have another wideout in the mix for Sunday’s matchup with the 3-0 Miami Dolphins, as newcomer Josh Gordon, who was inactive against the Lions, has received positive reviews for his work in practice and in the meeting rooms. The team also will get No. 1 receiver Julian Edelman back from suspension in time for next Thursday’s matchup with the Indianapolis Colts.