Kyle Dugger already had impressed head coach Bill Belichick, and now New England Patriots assistant Brian Belichick is speaking highly of the rookie safety as well.
Dugger, who was inactive for the first time during the Patriots’ Week 7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, has been dealing with an ankle injury. The 2020 second-rounder, though, has excited the first-year safeties coach with his willingness to learn.
“Dug?s been doing well this year learning defense. He understands the concepts of what we?re trying to do and he applies it on the field,” Brian Belichick told reporters Tuesday during a video conference.
“He just needs more experience to get it down more. But he?s been great, works hard, mature for a rookie and it?s been a pleasure to work with him,” he added.
The Patriots top draft choice from Div. II Lenoir-Rhyne has played in five games this season.
Dugger’s received both defensive snaps — a season-high 54% during a Week 2 loss to the Seattle Seahawks — while also playing special teams. Of note, Dugger played a season-high 75% of special teams snaps during a Week 6 loss to the Denver Broncos.
It’s not yet known whether Dugger will return to the field when the Patriots travel for a Week 8 contest against the Buffalo Bills.