A pair of rookie receivers saw significant playing time for the New England Patriots in their season-opening loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Kayshon Boutte played 55 offensive snaps — a surprisingly high number — in the absence of starting wideout DeVante Parker. Slot receiver Demario Douglas logged 33.

The sixth-round draft picks ranked second and fourth, respectively, among New England receivers in snaps played, with Kendrick Bourne ranking first and JuJu Smith-Schuster third.

How did the new kids do? If position coach Ross Douglas had to assign a grade for their performance, it would be “needs improvement.”

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“They looked like two guys who were in their first NFL game,” Ross Douglas said Tuesday in a video conference. “There was some good, some mistakes they made and a lot to clean up.”

Ross Douglas, who coaches New England’s wideouts alongside Troy Brown, knocked Boutte for his lack of awareness on two sideline incompletions, including one on the Patriots’ final offensive play. The LSU product caught both passes but failed to get both feet down in bounds on either.

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“It was his first game as a professional football player,” Ross Douglas said. “He was coming from college football where you only needed one foot to get down to have it be a complete pass, and now you need to have two.

“He was in two situations where, unfortunately, he didn’t get it done. But I expect him to be better moving forward, and it’s definitely something that we’ll continue to work on.”

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A successful reception on Boutte’s last target would have given the Patriots a first down inside the 10-yard line with 25 seconds remaining. Instead, New England turned the ball over on downs, and the Eagles won 25-20.

Boutte called that play a missed opportunity, saying he should have been able to get both feet down. The 21-year-old finished his NFL debut with no catches on four targets from quarterback Mac Jones.

As for Demario Douglas, Ross Douglas critiqued his route-running on a fourth-quarter incompletion. The former Liberty star didn’t turn sharply enough on an out route with 1:39 remaining, nearly resulting in an interception.

“The route could have been a lot better,” Ross Douglas said. “We drifted at the top of the route, which allowed the DB to undercut us, so that’s bad.”

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Demario Douglas caught four of his seven targets for 40 yards in the loss, including a 23-yard pickup on one touchdown drive and a 16-yarder on another. Asked about his overall route-running — one of the young receiver’s standout traits during his stellar training camp — Ross Douglas said it “was OK.”

“Always room for improvement,” the coach said. “He looked like a rookie playing his first NFL game. But with reps and through experience and getting his feet wet a little bit, he’ll be better moving forward.”

Boutte likely will see his playing time diminish once Parker returns from his knee injury, but Demario Douglas should continue to have a prominent role in New England’s passing game as a shifty slot option. The Patriots showed confidence in the two inexperienced pass-catchers by playing both of them over veteran Smith-Schuster on their ill-fated final drive.

“Overall, it was a positive start,” Ross Douglas said. “We didn’t win the game, but for those guys, it was a positive start for them, and it’s something to work with moving forward.”

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Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images