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Bill Belichick Praises Rare New England Patriots Positive in Disappointing Season

Despite a lack of team success, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick likes what he's seen from rookie receiver Demario Douglas.

Amid a dark season for the New England Patriots offense, rookie receiver Demario Douglas has provided glimpses of hope.

Douglas, drafted in the sixth round out of Liberty, has caught 10 passes for 143 yards in five games. He missed last week's loss to the Las Vegas Raiders with a concussion, but in the two weeks prior, he hauled in receptions for 42 and 24 yards, respectively, and flashed the explosiveness some thought he could bring.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick praised the 5-8, 192-pound Douglas during his press conference Friday, expressing optimism in his mental traits, athleticism and ability to separate.

"Demario's a smart player," Belichick said. "Yeah, he's not a huge target, but he's fast. He's quick. He's got good receiving skills, so he can get open."

Douglas was limited in practice this week and is questionable to play Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. Belichick noted that New England has two players - Douglas and fellow receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster - currently battling concussions, and they're naturally limited as a result.

Demario Douglas brings an added element to the New England Patriots' offense.

Demario Douglas brings an added element to the New England Patriots' offense.

The Patriots had a lengthy injury list, with 16 players questionable and three others already ruled out - but Belichick noted each player is trending in the right direction.

Should Douglas return, it'll be a big boost to New England's offense.

Patriots receiver Kendrick Bourne pointed out that Douglas has an integral role in offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien's system, and with his myriad of traits, carries the potential to be great.

"Pop is great (against) man-to-man," Bourne said, via NESN. "You don’t really know the threat he brings for opposing defenses. He can do a lot of things that, people doubt him, being an underdog in a sense — a small guy. He just needs to keep doing it, making those big plays. He’s very explosive."

The Patriots have the NFL's second-worst scoring offense, averaging just 12 points per game. Douglas has played in all but one of New England's six games, and the numbers remain what they are - but as the rookie continues improving, it's possible he takes the offense along with him.

The first step in that process comes Sunday, when the Patriots (1-5) host the Bills (4-2) for a 1 p.m. kickoff inside Gillette Stadium ... and will certainly be hoping to have Douglas at their disposal to help pull an upset victory.