The talk of the town in Foxborough throughout the summer was the emergence of rookie wide receiver Demario Douglas. Throughout camp, the sixth-round pick's burst jumped off the page and was a much-needed addition to a Patriots offense that sorely lacks game-breaking ability at the skill positions. However, the one thing that will bring this hype train to a halt is turnovers, which reared its head in Sunday's 24-17 loss to the Dolphins.
Douglas was active early in this game and saw two targets from Mac Jones in the first quarter. It was his second reception where things went haywire for the rookie on what first looked like a chunk play in the making. Douglas hauled in a short throw over the middle on third down, was able to get over the first-down marker, and shook his defender free as he started to turn upfield for more yardage. That stop-and-start allowed Dolphins pass-rusher Bradley Chubb just enough time to catch up behind Douglas and punch the ball free allowing Miami to recover.
Miami then took full advantage of the turnover and conducted a 73-yard touchdown drive to go up by double digits. Douglas did not see a single offensive snap following that turnover, only seeing minimal work as a returner. After the loss, Douglas, who could be seen on the sideline holding a football given to him by veteran Ty Montgomery, relayed to reporters that he was told he would not be playing on offense following the fumble.
"Offense was coming back," Douglas said. "It's time for me to just be on the sideline and raise everybody else up."
When asked if he felt like he had to gain the coaching staff's trust back, Douglas said, "We're going to see. I practice hard. This is something to learn from. Whenever I get back in there, I'm going to make it count."
In the later stages of the game as the Patriots tried to claw within striking distance of taking the lead, having a player with Douglas' ability would have come in handy, and the receiver was admittedly itching to get back out there to try and help his team win.
Most definitely," Douglas said. "To come back in ... I believe I could have made a difference. But the offense did a good job, they were moving that ball."
When asked about Douglas' benching after the game, Belichick said, "Look, we had a lot of production on offense. [DeVante] Parker had a good day. [Mike] Gesicki had a good day. Hunter [Henry] had a good day, JuJu [Smith-Schuster], KB [Kendrick Bourne]. So, you know, a lot of good players. Can't play everybody."
Heading into Week 3 against the Jets, it will be interesting to monitor Douglas' participation and whether or not he'll remain in Belichick's doghouse for another week.