FOXBORO, Mass. — The emergence of New England Patriots rookie wide receiver N’Keal Harry has meant fewer snaps for Phillip Dorsett over the last two weeks.
Dorsett, who played as many as 98.5 percent of snaps in games earlier this season, was on the field for just five plays Saturday in the Patriots’ 24-17 win over the Buffalo Bills. That was down from nine snaps in the Patriots’ 34-13 Week 15 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Dorsett played over 50 snaps in six games this season.
“My mentality never changes,” Dorsett said Monday. “I’ve been through this before. I went through it last year. At the end of the day, it’s just stay ready mentally, physically, and it’s no different for me. I’m used to it. At the end of the day, when your number is called, just gotta make the play, and that’s my mentality every week.”
Harry (37 snaps), Mohamed Sanu (70 snaps), Julian Edelman (52 snaps) and Jakobi Meyers (14 snaps) all saw the field more than Dorsett on Saturday. When Edelman left the field to be evaluated for a head injury, Meyers, not Dorsett, took over the slot role in the Patriots’ offense.
Dorsett has 28 catches for 347 yards with five touchdowns this season. He hasn’t caught a pass since the Patriots’ Week 13 loss to the Houston Texans on Dec. 1.
His year started off in promising fashion when he caught four passes for 95 yards with two touchdowns in the Patriots’ Week 1 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. He hasn’t eclipsed 53 yards since that game despite four starts.
This is still the second-most productive season of Dorsett’s five-year NFL career. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has shown chemistry with Dorsett over the last three seasons, but he’s been buried on the depth chart since Sanu was acquired via trade and Harry came off of injured reserve.