FOXBOROUGH — Phillip Dorsett threw a scare into the crowd during the team’s final training camp practice open to the public Aug. 14 when he went down with what looked like a leg injury while running a crossing route.
He walked gingerly to the medical tent with the help of trainer Jim Whalen. He emerged after a short stay as teammates came over offering encouragement.
It looked to be a tough blow to an already depleted receiving corps. As it turned out, a scare was all it was.
“Yeah, yeah. I’m all right,’’ Dorsett said Monday after practice as he recalled the incident. “I’m fine.”
Dorsett even played against the Eagles two days later as he continues to expand his role in New England’s offense. He arrived last September on the eve of the regular season opener in a trade for Jacoby Brissett. He had just 14 catches for 244 yards (playoffs included) as he tried to make his mark on a deep and talented group of pass catchers. He believes having a year in the offseason program will be of great benefit in 2018.
“It’s been a long a process, a long grind, a lot to learn,’’ said Dorsett. “I feel like I’m still learning – still learning a lot — so just going out here and just keep working hard, honestly. That’s all it is — it’s a grind. You can’t get bored with it.’’
He has been working hard on solidifying his rapport with Tom Brady and though a lot of that happens during games, the foundation is built in practice.
“Any time you practice – in my mind, I’m putting it in a game setting,’’ Dorsett said. “We’re practicing for the game and Bill [Belichick] makes practices really hard for us so the games can be — I’m not going to say easier, because you’re going against another opponent — but practice builds trust and it builds confidence, so you have to take practice seriously and that’s what we do every day.’’
When the Patriots traded Brandin Cooks in the offseason, the natural assumption of many was that Dorsett would slide into the role based on their similar sizes (both are 5 feet 10 inches and about 190 pounds) and skill sets. Dorsett received a ton of snaps in Super Bowl LII after Cooks was knocked out early with a concussion.
Dorsett said the comparisons “are fair” but added he still has a long way to go.
“You can see that because people see measurables – we’re pretty much the same speed, height, weight, all that. We do do similar things and we do different things as well.’’
Dorsett likes the progress he’s made in camp so far – “We’re still getting after it every day,’’ he said – and like his coach, he doesn’t put too much stock into the idea the Patriots’ Week 3 preseason game at Carolina Friday night is more important than any other game.
“Every week is a challenge,’’ he said. “I don’t go into the game thinking about how much I’m going to play, I go into the game thinking I’m going to play the whole game until I get pulled out. We haven’t even talked about playing time, honestly.’’
Rookie running back Sony Michel (knee) and right tackle Marcus Cannon (unknown) missed their 10th straight practice. Linebacker Harvey Langi remains out of action as he recuperates from an internal laceration suffered two weeks ago.
Rookie tight end Ryan Izzo missed his first practice session of the summer for an unknown reason.
Defensive end Trey Flowers and rookie receiver Braxton Berrios, both of whom sat out against the Eagles, headed to the rehab field shortly after stretching.
Receiver Kenny Britt (hamstring), who hasn’t been a full participant yet this summer, participated in individual drills and was still on the main field when the media window for observing practice closed.
In the wake of losing rookie offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn for the season with a torn Achilles’, Belichick was asked about the importance of tackle depth. “Yeah, depth’s like an insurance policy,’’ the coach said, speaking more about every position. “If you never need it, then you don’t need it. If you need it, then you’re glad you have it. You never know where you’re going to need it.’’ . . . In a true Mini-Me moment, Brandon Bolden’s 7-year-old son, Brycein, walked through the locker room after practice wearing his dad’s helmet and shoulder pads. He’s got future tailback written all over him.