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New England Patriots links 9/27/23 - Waiting on Douglas to ‘pop’; Veteran receivers get more snaps

Daily news and links for Wednesday.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots
Demario Douglas makes a catch vs. the Eagles
Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Lots of nonsense going around lately. Old rivals come out of the woodwork to tell tall tales about the 2004 Steelers’ AFC Championship loss to the low-down, sign-stealing Patriots. That’s just one thing. Dallas OC Brian Schottenheimer suggesting an interrogation of former Cowboys players may be going on at Gillette Stadium, is another. Can’t forget “sack-gate” either. Just another day at the office for Pats fans.

The Demario Douglas “doghouse” is also nonsense. Bill O’Brien will play whichever receivers he thinks will perform the best considering the opponent, the game plan and practice. Last year, Kendrick Bourne supposedly inhabited that same doghouse for most of the season. Reality was closer to Bourne not being as checked in as he should have been. I believe Douglas will see his snaps increase as he learns, over the course of the season.

Rob Gronkowski talks about how he had to work extra hard his first year, tightening up his routes so he would be precisely where Tom Brady needed him to be when Brady needed him to be there — or else Brady wouldn’t throw it to him. The rookie Demario Douglas most likely still needs to work on timing and chemistry with Mac Jones, and my guess is that’s why his snaps are a bit lower than we’ll see later on. No nonsense detected.



  • Mike Reiss cleans out his Week 3 notebook: How the Patriots reinvent themselves on defense weekly stood out to me; The Eagles’ style “tush push” QB sneak had been good to the Patriots up until Mac Jones was stopped on 3rd and 1 early in the 4th; More! /Worth a read.
  • Andrew Callahan’s Patriots extra points: Bill O’Brien calls Cowboys’ Micah Parsons a top-5 player in the NFL; How Pats acquired TE Pharaoh Brown; Safeties coach Brian Belichick knee update.
  • Bob Socci’s Patriots Notebook: Jennings’ juice, three’s company at TE and building blocks for rookies in Pats’ win.
  • Mike Kadlick says the numbers suggest optimism along the offensive line.
  • Matt Dolloff shares 7 final thoughts on the Patriots’ Week 3 win. 1. Old vs. young: Belichick is, unsurprisingly, leaning on his veterans to carry the load at receiver. DeVante Parker (55 snaps), JuJu Smith-Schuster (53), and Kendrick Bourne (40) continued to play substantially more than dynamic rookie Demario Douglas (17), who has looked like their most explosive skill player in his frustratingly limited playing time.
  • Karen Guregian takes a look at who is Mac Jones’ best receiving option in got-to-have-it moments.
  • Matt Dolloff notes Demario Douglas is still stuck at the bottom of the Patriots’ pecking order.
  • Zolak & Bertrand guest Mike Reiss evaluates the state of the wide receiver position in New England.
  • Tom E. Curran breaks down why the Patriots’ lack of precision on third-down passing plays is the source of many of their issues.
  • Logan Mullen highlights Bill Belichick on how the Cowboys’ biggest strength is ‘everything,’ and how he likens Micah Parsons to Lawrence Taylor.
  • WEEI guest Boomer Esiason was impressed by a “rejuvenated” Ezekiel Elliott, just in time for New England’s visit with his old team, the Dallas Cowboys.
  • Mike Kadlick says that while JuJu Smith-Schuster hasn’t had a great start to his Patriots career, no one sounds worried about his lack of production.
  • Andy Hart gives fans permission to celebrate – and question – the Patriots’ first win.
  • Jonathan Alfano (Patriots Country) 20-year-old whine: Steelers claim Patriots ‘cheated’.
  • Sara Marshall (MusketFire) Ben Roethlisberger comes out of obscurity to say the Patriots are cheaters.
  • The QB School (YouTube) Mac Jones Week 3 analysis. (18.51 min. video)


  • Kristopher Knox (Bleacher Report) 3 Takeaways from Patriots’ Week 3 win vs. Jets. 1. Bill O’Brien is helping Mac Jones.
  • Michael David Smith (ProFootballTalk) Bill O’Brien on Patriots getting information from ex-Cowboys: Happens every week in the NFL
  • Michael David Smith (ProFootballTalk) Cowboys think Ezekiel Elliott and Will Grier will help the Patriots’ defense prepare. /Pats play so many teams with ex-Patriots coaches or players that it doesn’t phase me anymore. Eagles had Matt Patricia, Dolphins used to have Brian Flores, now there are five ex-Pats in Miami. Just how it is.
  • Steven Ruiz (The Ringer) NFL QB rankings, Week 4. Mac Jones 20th.
  • Cody Benjamin (CBS Sports) 2023 Week 4 QB Power Rankings. Mac Jones 18th.
  • Maurice Jones-Drews ( NFL RB Index, Week 4: Top 15. No Pats.
  • Adam Schein ( Week 3’s most inspiring performances? Dolphins scoring 70, and more. No Pats. /Inspiring? Is ‘running up the score’ not a thing anymore?
  • Andrew Brandt (SI) Business of Football: Examining Patrick Mahomes’s contract restructure and a new NFL ownership committee.
  • Staff (Football Zebras) Week 3 officiating liveblog. /No mention of the egregious calls/non-calls in Pats-Jets.
  • Matt Verderame (SI) Week 4 rookie stock watch: C.J. Stroud rises, Tyjae Spears falls. No Pats rookies mentioned.
  • Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Colin Kaepernick sends letter to Jets requesting position on practice squad.