Patriots notebook: Phillip Dorsett hopes to play Sunday
FOXBORO — One after another, Patriots wide receivers have fallen victim to injury over the past month. But according to Phillip Dorsett, there is no panic in the locker room over the unit’s health going forward.
“Injuries happen. It’s football,” Dorsett said during yesterday’s open locker room. “If you’re a tough guy, you can go out there and you can play. Of course, if there’s something serious, then it’s serious. But nicks and bruises, we have the guys in this building that can play through stuff like that.”
There’s been a lot of “stuff like that” and worse lately for the receivers. In the preseason, Julian Edelman tore his ACL. Malcolm Mitchell is on injured reserve with a knee injury. In the opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, Danny Amendola left with a concussion and did not play this past Sunday.
That left the Pats with three receivers on the active roster for the game against the New Orleans Saints, and the hits kept coming. Over the course of the day, it appeared as though both Dorsett and Chris Hogan dealt with leg issues. Hogan finished the game and totalled five receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown, but Dorsett, who caught three passes for 68 yards, stayed on the sideline after coming off the field in the fourth quarter.
Obviously, the Pats are stretched thin, but things might not be as bleak as initially thought. Hogan walked through the locker room at one point briskly and without a noticeable limp. Dorsett said he feels fine.
“I feel good,” he said. “Just a little sore, but I’m all right.”
That was his tone throughout as reporters gathered around his locker as he did his best to calm the fears of Patriots fans everywhere.
“Yeah, I think we’ll be alright, though,” he said. “I mean, we’re tough guys. We’ll be fine.”
No one will know how fine until the end of the week. Asked if he will play Sunday against the Houston Texans, Dorsett said simply, “I hope so.”
Throughout training camp, reporters observe a drill in practice where, at the end of a two-minute drill, the Pats rush on their field goal unit and get off a kick as fast as possible.
That came in handy in the win over the Saints, as Stephen Gostkowski booted a 28-yard field goal as time ran out at the end of the first half following a Tom Brady scramble. Since the Pats did not have a timeout, Gostkowski and Co. had to set up and go within 15 seconds. It worked to perfection.
“There wasn’t enough (time) for me to take my proper steps, so I just kind of eyeballed it,” Gostkowski said. “We practice it every week, so it’s something that is not new. We know that we’re not going to get a K-ball (special ball some kickers around the league use) in there. We know that I’m probably not going to be able to take my steps. (Punter and holder) Ryan (Allen)’s got to look and see if the guys are off the field. We’ve got to be able to snap it. I think they’re telling us to snap it (with) two seconds on the play clock. For all the times we practice it, it was nice for it to come up and come out in our favor and get some points before the end of the half.”
Gostkowski booted three field goals and three extra points in the win, but bounced his first PAT attempt off the left upright in the first quarter. He said he put a little too much leg into it.
“It’s just one of those things. Sometimes you try to kick it too hard,” he said. “It’s like trying to hit a golf ball: Sometimes the harder you swing, you’re not as accurate. Definitely one that I’d like to have back, but the ball’s been coming off my foot good. I’m not going to worry about it too much.”
Practice pays off
According to defensive lineman Adam Butler, the reason for the improved play from Week 1 to the Week 2 game came down to preparation.
“We practiced much harder than we did the first week,” Butler said. “It just all came together (Sunday).” . . .
The Patriots’ win on Sunday drew a 30.8 TV rating in the Boston market, which made it the highest-rated program of the week. Also, the Patriots postgame show was second, with its 11.9 number out-rating even the Emmy Awards that aired on CBS Sunday night.