A day after the fourth-quarter hit that took Demario Douglas out of a 10-7 loss to the Giants, some Patriots were upset about the way things were handled, and the fact that it wasn’t flagged by the officials.
“I can’t speak on the referees,” linebacker Jahlani Tavai said Monday on a conference call with reporters. “If we’re talking about protecting players … especially when it’s so noticeable and everybody sees it, then people have to protect us. Protect guys like [Douglas] who are in a vulnerable position. He’s looking up for the ball. He has a quick second to process what’s happening in front of him. In that process, from what I saw, it was a hit that should have been called.
“It was also very upsetting seeing that because it was one of your guys. I love that guy, Pop. I’m just praying he’s OK and hoping that people are aware of that. And they don’t let it happen again.”
Douglas was attempting to return a punt with just over 14 minutes left in the fourth quarter and was corralled by New York’s Cam Brown at high speed. The impact of the collision sent Douglas to the turf, where he banged his head. Initially, the rookie wide receiver was listed as questionable to return, but he was then downgraded to out.
“It’s just crazy,” an exasperated safety Jabrill Peppers said after the game. “They preach all this player safety stuff, but that doesn’t get flagged.
“You can’t say you care about player safety and not flag that play.”
Douglas was in the locker room after the game and chatted with reporters. Coach Bill Belichick said he wasn’t sure about Douglas’s status regarding the concussion protocol.
“I’m not 100 percent sure on that,” Belichick said Monday. “Really, we get those follow-up reports here today depending on how things went last night or this morning. So, we’ll see. But, he wasn’t able to go back in the game.
“The Monday morning reports are usually a little more accurate than right after the game, so we’ll see how things are today.”
Defense steps up its game
While the Patriots offense continues to struggle to put points on the board, the defense has certainly more than held up its end of things, as the team has yielded 20 total points in the last two games. New England is yielding 22.5 points per game overall, down from 28.2 in mid-October.
“We hold ourselves to a high standard, and we always want to meet those expectations we hold for ourselves,” Tavai said. “We’re always striving to put a donut on the scoreboard. But that’s just us. I don’t know how other people feel and other people see, but us as a defense, we just strive for perfection.”
QB Austin Burton in for a tryout
According to the league transaction wire, the Patriots had five free agents in for workouts on Monday: quarterback Austin Burton (Purdue), tight end Michael Ezeike (UCLA), defensive back Cameron McCutcheon (Western Carolina), tight end La’Michael Pettway (Iowa State) and tight end Christian Sims (Bowling Green). Burton is the son of WBZ-TV sports anchor Steve Burton.