Rodney Harrison believes Bill Belichick chose the wrong response to one of the Patriots’ biggest mistakes Sunday night.

A promising New England first-quarter drive against the Miami Dolphins ended when Demario Douglas coughed up the football at Gillette Stadium. Like countless Patriots fumblers before him, Douglas immediately entered Belichick’s dog house and saw virtually no playing time after his miscue. Arguably New England’s most dynamic playmaker, the rookie wideout was held to six offensive snaps against Miami and only was on the field for punt return duties after the fumble.

Harrison, who played under Belichick for six seasons, thought his former coach should have let Douglas play through his mistake rather than ride the pine.

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“I didn’t agree with coach Belichick when he took the kid out because the kid — he’s trying his best,” Harrison said on the “Eye on Foxborough” podcast, as transcribed by MassLive. “He’s making moves. And it’s not like he wasn’t trying to protect the football. He was trying to make plays. You don’t expect the 270-pound guy — 6-foot-4 — coming that’s gonna swipe the ball. When Ezekiel Elliott fumbled last week, I didn’t see him getting taken out the game. And this is a veteran player, a guy that has carried the ball thousands of times, established player in this league and then a rookie does it. He takes them out and you can really hamper a kid’s confidence, especially (someone), who I believe is going to be a very dynamic playmaker for the Patriots.

“I just didn’t agree with him taking him out. I’m not the coach. But in that situation, if I’m coaching I don’t take him out. I let him stand. I continue to feed him the ball and try to build up his confidence because he’s gonna be a good player. I mean, what does that do? Other than mess with his confidence?”

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Belichick, as anyone could have expected, didn’t offer much of an explanation about Douglas’ benching after his team’s second straight loss. Offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, however, claimed Douglas’ inactivity was more of a scheme issue rather than a punishment.

Regardless, the teaching moment was something the 2023 sixth-rounder felt he “needed” as he continues to develop at the highest level. And comments from teammates indicate no one in New England’s locker room has lost any confidence in the 22-year-old.

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Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images