Phillip Dorsett was given multiple opportunities to be a reliable receiver for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Unfortunately that never seemed to happen, and are the Patriots now ready to move forward without Dorsett?
Time and time again the Patriots, and Patriots fans were waiting for Phillip Dorsett to explode and become the deep threat Tom Brady needed, but he never lived up to the expectations. In both the 2018 and 2019 seasons Dorsett was asked to step up and elevate his game. Unfortunately he never did.
At the beginning of the 2019 season it looked like Dorsett was finally starting to step up. He caught 13 passes and three touchdowns the first three games of the season. Things sort of fell off the rails after that. He was 2 for 9 week four against the Buffalo Bills. He only caught 13 passes for the rest of the season, and from week 14 and on, he kept falling down the depth chart.
Heading into the 2020 season, the Patriots need results and they need receivers to step up. I don’t like speaking ill of Phillip, but the Patriots can’t rely on him to be one of those guys. Dorsett and Julian Edelman could have entered the 2020 season as the two most experienced receivers in the system, but I highly doubt that will happen now. It just almost seems to obvious at this point that Bill Belichick will move on, and Dorsett will be playing a new team in 2020.
“At the start of the 2018 season, (Dorsett) and Chris Hogan were unable to carry the offensive load while Julian Edelman served a suspension and Rob Gronkowski turned into a diminished version of himself. Throughout the 2019 season, the Patriots needed production from anyone not named Edelman. No one showed.” - Henry Mckenna, Patriots Wire
By all accounts, Phillip Dorsett seemed to be a mentor and a leader inside of the wide receiver’s room. But, a part of me wonders if that was more out of default, and the circumstances dictated Dorsett be in that role. Outside of Edelman, the Patriots staffed three rookie receivers in N’Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers, and Gunner Olszewski. Mohamed Sanu was brand new to the team. Demaryius Thomas was traded after the Patriots week one victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Josh Gordon was dealing with his demons, and Antonio Brown lasted just 11 days as a member of the Patriots. Who else was going to step up into that leadership role?
It’s not like Dorsett did a bad job as a leader. From reports I’ve read, Dorsett set a tone in the locker room, and younger players looked up to him. I say this not out of disrespect to Phillip Dorsett, but more out of fact. The New England Patriots have lots of players that can step up and be leaders in the dressing room. I would even argue that the Patriots coaching staff, mentors and fosters leadership.
“The Patriots are going to be looking for bigger things from their receivers in 2019, largely because Tom Brady is reportedly pleading that they do just that. - The Patriots may decide it’s time to move on from Dorsett, who made big plays on occasion but couldn’t develop into the consistent threat the Patriots hoped he’d be when they acquired him.” - Henry McKenna, Patriots Wire
At this point, I don’t see why the Patriots would stick with Phillip Dorsett. He has never turned into the deep threat the Patriots thought he could be. That’s not saying that Dorsett isn’t a capable receiver, he’s just not what the New England Patriots need right now. Dorsett is a good depth piece for a team that has a solid foundation, and good 1, 2, 3 on their depth chart. Dorestt compliments a depth chart, he can’t be in a prominent role.
I went to back for Dorsett amongst my fellow Patriots fans in 2019. I felt that he would be a very important piece to the team, and that his connection with Brady would make him a very prominent player on the offense. Obviously the way 2019 played out, Dorsett, the team, and I were all very disappointed.
I hope that this blog didn’t come across as me bashing Phillip Dorsett, because that was never my intention. We can’t forget what he’s done for the Patriots. I will never forget his two touchdown catches against the LA Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2018 postseason. But as the Patriots move forward towards the 2020 season, I believe that they will, and have to, move forward without Phillip Dorsett.