Foxborough, Mass —
The reason to be most optimistic Sunday after the Pats defeated the Houston Texans 30-23 is that Patriots wide receiver Phillip Dorsett had 7 catches for 66 yards and one touchdown. Dorsett, who had only 12 catches a year ago, showed that he might have earned the trust of QB Tom Brady. Dorsett, who needed a confidence boost as he entered the season, showed he can get open and has some moves that allow him to do something with the ball.
Even when Julian Edelman returns, the Pats will need a second wide receiver to take the pressure off of Edelman and Rob Gronkowski who had seven catches for 123 yards Sunday. Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson did little Sunday against the Texans. Each had only one catch and had a combined 17 yards of receiving.
The Indianapolis Colts gave up on Phillip Dorsett, 25, after only two years. They traded him to the Pats at the end of the 2017 training camp for third string QB Jacoby Brissett. Last year, he struggled to learn the Pats offense and some even questioned whether his NFL career was over. Dorsett had a scary moment in training camp when it looked like he suffered a serious knee injury after falling down at the end of practice. The twitter universe exploded, but Dorsett was fine.
Dorsett had only 63 catches in his first three seasons in the NFL. Dorsett impressed his QB on Sunday.
"Phillip did a great job," Tom Brady said after the game. "He came up with plays. He came up with catches. It's kind of what he has been doing all spring and it's good to see it show up today.“
It is not always easy to earn the trust of Brady. The trust between Brady and Dorsett is growing.
"If your out there - I trust you, the coaches trust you, the team trusts you - that's why we are putting you out there. Guys that we don't trust don't usually get much opportunity. Phillip did a great job with his opportunity today," Brady said.
Dorsett’s teammates have been impressed with his work ethic since joining the team.
“ I've known that guy since high school. He works extremely hard. He got here last year after training camp so a lot was kind of thrown at him fast. I think he got better as the year went on. I think he took the challenge this offseason to learn the offense as best he can and just be in the right spots and win in man [coverage]. I think he went out there and showed it today that he can be a good player for us,“ RB James White said Sunday after the game.
One of the toughest parts about learning the Pats offense is the level of detail required - a level of detail that is much greater than what Dorsett experienced his first two years in Indianapolis.
"The level of detail here is second to none," Dorsett said. "The attention to detail here is crazy, that's what makes a great team and helps us win games. That can be the difference between winning and losing."
Dorsett, who has been with the Pats for a year, understands the offense a lot better now than when he first arrived. He understands the demanding nature of playing with Tom Brady.
"You gotta know what he wants where he wants you to be. That is important. If you are not on the same page as your QB it is not going to look good. You start by earning his trust in practice."
Dorsett has learned to ignore the noise, especially in relation to the criticism of the wide receiving core.
"I always learned from my dad - don't listen to what anyone says - just go out and play - do what you do," Dorsett said.
Dorsett puts team ahead of personal goals.
"We got the win that's what counts," Dorsett said.
Dorsett, though, is not above being like a fan when it came to the hail mary at the end of the game from Houston QB Deshaun Watson.
"I didn't even watch the last play," Dorsett said.