Rookie wide receiver Kayshon Boutte was praised for his practice performance in back-to-back weeks, and it finally translated to him getting another opportunity. The sixth-round draft pick was made active for the New England Patriots’ game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, the first time since the season opener that he took the field.
Boutte ended up playing 26 of 69 possible snaps on offense (37.7%) as the de facto third option at the wide receiver position. As such, he primarily lined up on the perimeter to fill a role that was previously held by DeVante Parker and Jalen Reagor. With the former again out due to a concussion, and the latter seeing a reduced role and playing just one snap all day, New England turned to its youngster.
He did not necessarily prove to be a difference-maker for the Patriots’ struggling pass offense, but Boutte did manage to catch the first pass of his career. In the late fourth quarter, hauled in a slant and took it 11 yards (while also adding 15 through an unnecessary roughness penalty). It was a step in the right direction.
The same cannot be said for some of the other wideouts on the roster. As noted above, Jalen Reagor played only one snap all day. And even that was more exposure than Tyquan Thornton received: while active, the sophomore wideout did not see the field — yet another disappointing outing for a player drafted 50th overall just 18 months ago.
As for the other usage-based takeaways from the Patriots’ loss to the Colts, here is our weekly snap count report.
Total snaps: 69 | Time on the field: 34:25
LG Cole Strange* (69; 100%), C David Andrews* (69; 100%), RG Sidy Sow* (69; 100%), RT Michael Onwenu* (69; 100%), WR JuJu Smith-Schuster* (68; 99%), LT Conor McDermott* (63; 91%), QB Mac Jones* (61; 88%), WR Demario Douglas* (50; 72%), TE Hunter Henry (50; 72%), RB Rhamondre Stevenson* (46; 67%), TE Mike Gesicki* (46; 67%), TE Pharaoh Brown* (33; 48%), WR Kayshon Boutte (26; 38%), RB Ezekiel Elliott (23; 33%), QB Bailey Zappe (8; 12%), LT Vederian Lowe (6; 9%), RB/WR Ty Montgomery II (1; 1%), WR Jalen Reagor (1; 1%)
The Patriots’ offensive line again saw its depth tested in Week 10. Whereas four of the five starters went wire-to-wire, left tackle Conor McDermott — himself a replacement for regular starter Trent Brown — missed time in the fourth quarter. His six-snap injury absence prompted Vederian Lowe to enter the game, and he gave up the inside pressure on the interception that led to quarterback Mac Jones getting benched.
Speaking of Jones, he was sent to the bench for the third time this season. Once again, second-year QB Bailey Zappe entered the game and was on the field for the final 12 snaps.
The final of those was a target to rookie wide receiver Demario Douglas, who continues to hold a starting role for the Patriots. The sixth-round draft pick was on the field for 50 snaps — second only to JuJu Smith-Schuster’s 68 — and led the team with six catches for 84 yards. Smith-Schuster, for comparison, caught one 9-yard pass.
At tight end and running back, meanwhile, the Patriots used their personnel as they have all season: led by Hunter Henry, all three tight ends were involved; at running back it was effectively a two-man show with Rhamondre Stevenson as the main man and Ezekiel Elliott his No. 2.
Total snaps: 57 | Time on the field: 25:35
LB/ED Jahlani Tavai* (57; 100%), S Jabrill Peppers* (57; 100%), S Kyle Dugger* (57; 100%), CB Jonathan Jones* (54; 95%), CB Shaun Wade* (50; 88%), DE Deatrich Wise Jr.* (46; 81%), CB Myles Bryant (41; 72%), ED Anfernee Jennings* (40; 70%), DT Christian Barmore (39; 68%), DT Davon Godchaux* (35; 61%), LB Mack Wilson Sr.* (29; 51%), DT Lawrence Guy Sr.* (28; 49%), S/CB Jalen Mills* (23; 40%), ED Keion White (20; 35%), ED Josh Uche (17; 30%), LB Calvin Munson (11; 19%), CB Jack Jones (10; 18%), S Adrian Phillips (7; 12%), LB/S Marte Mapu (4; 7%), DT Jeremiah Pharms Jr. (2; 4%)
The Patriots were without starters Ja’Whaun Bentley and J.C. Jackson, leading to increased snaps for Mack Wilson and Shaun Wade. The former got the start at linebacker, and by playing 29 snaps registered his second-highest output this year. The latter, meanwhile, served as the top outside cornerback opposite Jonathan Jones — and as opposed to last week’s game, which he also started, remained in the lineup throughout to total 50 snaps.
One player for whom that is no longer the case is sophomore cornerback Jack Jones. He again saw limited opportunities after already getting benched last week, and has since been released by the club.
Elsewhere in the secondary, New England continues to employ Jalen Mills as a key rotational piece: the veteran defensive back actually ended up getting his highest playing time share of the season against the Colts; he steadily increased his output since playing only 14 percent of snaps in Week 5.
Along the defensive line, the Patriots relied on their usual cast of characters. Led by team captain Deatrich Wise Jr.’s 46 snaps, the rotation inside again featured a healthy dose of Christian Barmore, Davon Godchaux and Lawrence Guy. The edge spots, meanwhile, were primarily manned by Jahlani Tavai — the No. 1 linebacker with Bentley out — and Anfernee Jennings; Josh Uche again had a quiet day while playing only 17 snaps.
Total snaps: 21
WR Matthew Slater (18; 86%), LB Chris Board (18; 86%), S Brenden Schooler (18; 86%), S Cody Davis (18; 86%), LB/ED Jahlani Tavai (17; 81%), RB/WR/KR Ty Montgomery II (15; 71%), TE Pharaoh Brown (11; 52%), LB Mack Wilson Sr. (11; 52%), DT Lawrence Guy Sr. (10; 48%), S Adrian Phillips (10; 48%), ED Keion White (8; 38%), P/H Bryce Baringer (7; 33%), LS Joe Cardona (7; 33%), DE Deatrich Wise Jr. (6; 29%), ED Anfernee Jennings (6; 29%), LB Calvin Munson (6; 29%), LB/S Marte Mapu (6; 29%), K Chad Ryland (6; 29%), WR/PR Demario Douglas (5; 24%), CB Shaun Wade (4; 19%), OT Michael Onwenu (3; 14%), G Sidy Sow (3; 14%), OT Conor McDermott (3; 14%), S Jabrill Peppers (3; 14%), S Kyle Dugger (3; 14%), ED Josh Uche (3; 14%), G Atonio Mafi (3; 14%), C Jake Andrews (3; 14%)
The Patriots’ core special teamers remain unchanged compared to earlier in the season, but one player is still worth mentioning: safety Adrian Phillips’ role continues to get smaller by the week. His defensive contributions are already virtually non-existent — he played just seven snaps — while his kicking game opportunities have also decreased ever since Cody Davis returned from the physically unable to perform list.
Against the Colts, Phillips played less than half of New England’s special teams snaps for the first time all season. Some of that is due to circumstance, but the fact also is that he no longer is part of the punt coverage unit and was also on the field for just one of five punt return plays.
Did not play
WR Tyquan Thornton
As noted above, second-year wide receiver Tyquan Thornton did not see the field against the Colts. He was the only player spending the entirety of the game on the sidelines.
WR DeVante Parker, LB Ja’Whaun Bentley, QB Will Grier (emergency QB), CB Alex Austin, CB J.C. Jackson, OT Trent Brown, DT Sam Roberts
The Patriots had some big names on their inactives list against the Colts. Wide receiver DeVante Parker missed a second straight game due to a concussion; linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley was ruled out with a hamstring issue; cornerback J.C. Jackson did not make the trip to Germany for disciplinary reasons; and offensive tackle Trent Brown stayed in New England due to what was described as a personal matter and an ankle injury.