Patriots WR Phillip Dorsett has potential key opportunity ahead

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One of the biggest challenges for a receiver joining the New England Patriots in early September, like Phillip Dorsett did, is not having a chance to work in the offensive system in training camp.

An added obstacle for Dorsett to overcome: He hardly had any clothes, a result of the suddenness of being traded to New England.

“That was probably the second-worst part when it comes to just moving. My stuff literally just got here probably two weeks ago. I stayed in the hotel for almost two months. It was a lot of washing clothes, a lot of asking for quarters to use the hotel washing machine,” he said with a smile.

WR Phillip Dorsett on playing with Andrew Luck and now Tom Brady: "There is a lot of similarity — arm-strength wise, workaholic ... it's been a blessing to work with both of them."

Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer ago

Dorsett relayed that he now is “all settled in” and that’s a good thing for the Patriots because they will probably be relying on him more than ever this Sunday against the Broncos.

With starting receiver Chris Hogan having missed practice Tuesday with a right shoulder injury -- a result of taking a big hit in an Oct. 29 win over the Chargers and later leaving the stadium with his arm in a sling -- Dorsett, 24, projects as the next man up if Hogan isn’t available. That seems to be the way it’s trending.

But the speedy Dorsett, who has played 19 percent of the offensive snaps and has totaled four catches for 85 yards, isn’t doing anything different to prepare.

“As a football player, you have to stay ready all the time. Things happen. It doesn’t really change my approach much,” he said. “I’m still on top of things. I’m ready. I prepare myself, doing everything I can.”

Coach Bill Belichick noted that Dorsett has “gotten better every week” since he was acquired from the Colts in exchange for quarterback Jacoby Brissett.

“We’ve expanded his role and scope, things that he’s learning and areas he’s responsible for every week,” he said. “He’s a smart kid. He works hard. He’s making progress.”

As Dorsett has made those strides, his playing time has actually decreased. He played 18 and 32 snaps, respectively, in the first two games of the season. Since that time, he’s been on for 7, 9, 20, 11, 8 and 8.

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels remains encouraged.

“He came in and didn’t really have a whole lot of extra practices from camp and the spring, like some of our guys or most of our guys did. He just kind of got thrown in there, and he’s really doing a good job of working hard, working extra with Coach [Chad] O’Shea. Chad’s doing a great job of trying to get him caught up on some of the things, the foundational things that you need to be able to go from one week to the next and feel like you’re not learning a new offense every single week,” he said.

“Phillip’s a smart kid, he works hard, he’s got a good work ethic, good attitude and he’s continued to work at playing different spots and being ready to go when his opportunities come up. Hopefully, that will continue to progress as we go through the season. I know that’s what he wants. I know that’s what we want, and we’re looking forward to that.”

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Dorsett, who had a pencil behind his right ear as he spoke with reporters on Tuesday, said he’s never shied away from hard work. That’s what he said it takes when learning a new offense.

As for earning quarterback Tom Brady’s trust, he’s focused on “just doing everything I can on and off the field; learning the playbook and cutting down the mental errors.”

“Obviously it’s going to be difficult. It’s a difficult system and everybody knows that [but] they know I’m capable of being able to come in and pick it up,” he said. “They ask me to do a lot of things.”

With Hogan still sidelined, they could be asking even more, with makes this a potential big week for Dorsett.