July 16, 2024

Patriots

“That is one thing to study from. Each time I get again in there, I’m going to make it depend.”

Miami Dolphins linebacker Bradley Chubb, right, strips the ball from the hands of New England Patriots wide receiver Demario Douglas (81) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass.
Demario Douglas’ fumble was pricey on the finish of the primary quarter. AP Photograph/Steven Senne

Demario Douglas is used to drawing a crowd of microphones and cameras throughout his quick time up to now in Foxborough.

The 2023 sixth-round pick of Liberty has seen his inventory soar since stepping onto the observe fields behind Gillette Stadium, going from an early roster-bubble candidate to a helpful cog in Invoice O’Brien’s reworked offensive scheme.

Little has deterred Douglas’s meteoric stand up the depth chart over the previous few months.

However Sunday’s media scrum took on a distinct tone for the affable and gifted rookie.

For the primary time in his transient NFL profession, Douglas needed to face the music after a pricey play — one which planted him on the sidelines for the rest of Sunday’s 24-17 loss to the Dolphins.

Douglas was featured commonly throughout New England’s first two drives of the night time, with the rookie focused twice by Mac Jones on his six snaps in opposition to Miami.

However his final play led to catastrophe.

On a third-and-8 sequence on Miami’s 39-yard-line, Douglas reeled in a catch from Jones for the primary down. However the shifty wideout — seeing additional yardage in entrance of him — made a fast minimize and reset himself for a rush up the gridiron.

However as Douglas noticed a possible first NFL landing in entrance of him, Dolphins linebacker Bradley Chubb ran up behind him and punched the pigskin from his grasp. Miami recovered the fumble and finally scored on the following possession to present the guests a 10-0 lead within the second quarter.

“After I turned to go to the suitable, I noticed the top zone and I sort of acquired excited,” Douglas mentioned postgame. “I forgot concerning the individuals coming from behind and simply pulled my arm and let the ball go.”

It was a painful lesson for the rookie, one that each younger participant learns in some unspecified time in the future as they navigate their means by way of the professional ranks.

Making it again to the sidelines, Douglas sat on the bench and clutched a soccer given to him by veteran Ty Montgomery — an indication of each atonement and want to place the miscue within the rearview mirror.

“I simply acquired to go forward and play the subsequent play,” Douglas mentioned. “Had that mindset already. … Simply the vets coming and inform me, ‘Play the subsequent play, it’s all going to be good.’ That was positively comforting.”

Finally, no subsequent play was accessible for Douglas for the rest of the night time.

Regardless of fielding a number of punts instead of an injured Marcus Jones, Douglas didn’t log one other offensive snap in New England’s irritating loss to Miami.

Douglas acknowledged that he was not knowledgeable that his offensive snaps had been carried out for the remainder of the night time.

“Offense was coming again,” Douglas mentioned of sitting on the skin trying in at reps. “I can’t … it’s time for me to simply be on the sideline and lift all people else up.”

Douglas famous that ball safety stays the “No. 1” focus within the wake of Sunday’s loss, and was the clear purpose behind his sudden drop in performs on offense.

Nonetheless, given New England’s prolonged lulls on offense till a spirited fourth-quarter comeback, the absence of an efficient route-runner and explosive expertise like Douglas does loom over New England’s now-winless begin to the 2023 marketing campaign.

“For certain. Most positively,” Douglas mentioned of eager to get again within the sport. “To come back again in … I imagine I may have made a distinction. However the offense did an excellent job, they had been transferring that ball.”

Invoice Belichick didn’t provide a lot when it comes to his determination to minimize Douglas’s snaps following his pricey fumble.

“Look, we had quite a lot of manufacturing on offense,” Belichick mentioned. “[DeVante] Parker had an excellent day. [Mike] Gesicki had an excellent day. Hunter [Henry] had an excellent day, JuJu [Smith-Schuster], KB [Kendrick Bourne]. So, you realize, quite a lot of good gamers. Can’t play all people.”

The 5-foot-8 wideout might need a problem in entrance of him in relation to getting out of Belichick’s doghouse and regaining a number of the belief he solid through the summer time.

However Douglas is aware of full nicely what he must do to begin that climb.

“For me, ball safety. I really feel like it will positively assist me,” Douglas mentioned. “Simply know the pace of the sport, all people is coming to that ball. So I do know, for me, I simply want to verify my consciousness is excessive.”

The rookie added: “We’re going to see. I observe exhausting. That is one thing to study from. Each time I get again in there, I’m going to make it depend.”