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What is realistic expectation for new Patriots wide receivers?

Ryan Hannable
September 12, 2018 - 2:52 pm

FOXBORO -- Since the first week of training camp, the Patriots have made 20 transactions at the wide receiver position.

Whether it's been players getting released, injured, or just not working out, it's been a lot. Two more players were added to the position on Tuesday in Corey Coleman, a 2016 first-round pick, and Bennie Fowler.

So, what should the expectation be of these players? Not much.

"Well it's definitely a game of catch-up," Bill Belichick said Wednesday. "When players come in at the beginning, they’re able to get a progression of installation and learn from the bottom up, build a foundation and work their way up. Now it's more of a game plan situation so we don't have all of our plays in for this game. We would never do that. But the ones that we're running this week, those are the ones we'll focus on and we'll try to catch up on as much as we can but we have to prioritize what's going in for this game, what we need for this game, so we'll start with that first.

"It's a little bit of a backwards way of doing it but it's the best way to prepare for a short window and try to catch up on all of the other things as much as we can – the terminology, all of the fundamental things, things that we're not going to be doing this week that are important, but we won't get to all of those this week but we'll try to catch up on those as soon as we can, but that's a challenge."

A perfect example of how hard it is to contribute right away is Phillip Dorsett. He was traded to New England at the start of last season and despite playing in 15 games, he only had 12 receptions. Since the offense is so complex, Dorsett really focused on just outside routes, mostly go-routes. With an entire offseason in the system Dorsett was a much different player this year. He added routes out of the slot to his game and has turned into a player Tom Brady has a ton of trust in, as shown in Sunday's win over the Texans when the Miami product caught seven passes on seven targets.

Coleman is the more intriguing player given he's a first-round pick, but Belichick wasn't interested in discussing him individually.

"We added three players to the roster. We had three roster spots so we filled all of them," he said. "We'll see how it goes with all three guys."

Given the team had only three active players at the position going into Tuesday, moves needed to be made, but these players are more for depth, rather than production.

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