FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots acquired receiver Phillip Dorsett for quarterback Jacoby Brissett on Sept. 2, five days before beginning defense of their Super Bowl championship.

Dorsett suddenly found himself studying a new playbook and learning a new system for a new team in a new city.

He was driving in the high-speed lane in New England, trying to catch up after having participated in organized team activities in the spring and training camp in the summer with the Indianapolis Colts.

“It was tough; it was hard,” Dorsett said. “Coming to the Patriots in September, missing OTAs, missing camp, missing all the installs and stuff, it was tough. But I had to catch up and it’s something that I’m built for.”

Dorsett, a third-year pro, wasn’t the only one in that situation. The Patriots obtained linebacker Marquis Flowers on Aug. 29 and acquired cornerback Johnson Bademosi the same day as Dorsett – with defensive end Cassius Marsh, who appeared in nine games before being cut Nov. 21.

They were followed over the next three months by the signings of linebacker Trevor Reilly, quarterback Brian Hoyer, defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois, defensive end Eric Lee, receiver Bernard Reedy, linebacker Nicholas Grigsby, receiver Kenny Britt and linebacker James Harrison, who arrived the day after Christmas.


Integrating late-arriving newcomers into the offense, defense and/or special teams is an organization-wide challenge with time a valuable commodity during the season.

“The bottom line is you look at the window that you’re facing – the short window, so the immediate game or the immediate practice – whatever your first challenge is,” Coach Bill Belichick said. “You try to get the player ready to do that so that he can at least start to take some steps in the right direction. Then you build on that and depending on what your time frame is, you adjust it accordingly.”

The integration and adjustments were repeatedly successful. The latest evidence came Sunday in the Patriots’ 26-6 victory against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium.

Of the 46 players that suited up, a whopping nine – or 19.6 percent – weren’t with the team for training camp.

Their contributions to a win that delivered the Patriots the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs varied, but it’s a testament to the personnel department, the coaching staff and of course the players themselves that they were able to help at all.

“Coming here, I think my teammates, coaches and operations staff did an amazing job with the transition in helping acclimate me to things and giving me the information I needed to know to be successful here,” Bademosi said.


Bademosi appeared in all 16 games. He did his best work on special teams, finishing with a team-high nine special teams tackles, including one against the Jets, but performed admirably while making three starts at cornerback with Stephone Gilmore and Eric Rowe injured.

Harrison called the challenge of getting up to speed “a little bit” overwhelming. Then he went out 48 hours later and collected five tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble in 27 snaps against the Jets in his New England debut.

Flowers picked up a sack against the Jets, giving him 3.5 in the past two games, and Grigsby had a tackle on special teams, giving him five in five games.

“Any new system, you have to adjust,” Grigsby said. “So wherever it is you go or end up, you just make sure you stay on that fast pace of adjusting and learning the plays, and keeping up to what’s going on.”

Dorsett matched his season high with three receptions (although he had a drop on a beautifully thrown deep ball by Tom Brady) and Britt played 29 snaps, easily his most with the Patriots.

“I’ve been here since September and I’ve been working at it every day,” Dorsett said. “Just coming in here and doing all the little things right – weight room, staying on my body, going out and practicing as hard as I can.

“Then there’s the mental part, learning all the (receiver) positions. So I think it’s been getting easier and easier every week, but I don’t take anything for granted.”

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