New England Patriots

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - NOVEMBER 25: Phillip Dorsett of the New England Patriots is tackled by Trumaine Johnson of the New York Jets during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Phillip Dorsett of the New England Patriots is tackled by Trumaine Johnson of the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Phillip Dorsett could step up with Josh Gordon out of the picture on the Patriots offense. If anyone believes in him, it’s Bill Belichick.

The Patriots head coach had very high praise for Dorsett when asked about him during his Friday press conference. Dorsett has been active but barely on the field over the past nine weeks, after seeming to establish a legitimate role in the Patriots offense early in the season.

You can tell that Belichick thinks extremely highly of Dorsett as a player and person, based on his response to a question about his attitude and work ethic.

“Phil’s tremendous, he’s a tremendous kid,” said Belichick. “Great teammate. I think he has everybody’s total respect in the locker room on everything. His preparation, the way he treats other people, how unselfish he is, how he’s always ready for his role. You saw that in the Super Bowl last year. I don’t think you could ask for any more than what he gives the team.”

FOXBOROUGH, MA - SEPTEMBER 09: Tom Brady celebrates with Phillip Dorsett of the New England Patriots after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady celebrates with Phillip Dorsett of the New England Patriots after scoring a touchdown against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

After averaging 51.2 snaps and catching 19 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns in his first five games, Dorsett has averaged just 8.6 snaps and seen just eight targets over his last nine. Josh Gordon supplanted both him and Chris Hogan as a regular in the Patriots’ offensive packages.

That figures to change now that Gordon is suspended indefinitely. Expect Dorsett to at least be more in the mix on offense, if not resume the role he had over the first five weeks. He has shown an ability to run tight routes and execute plays the way Tom Brady wants. He’s also been efficient, catching 27 of his 32 total targets on the season (84.4 percent). The last incompletion intended for Dorsett came in the fourth quarter of the Patriots’ 38-7 win over the Dolphins in Week 4.

Whatever happens with Dorsett from here, it’s clear that Belichick is still a huge fan of his.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.