Why Patriots first-round flier ate into DeVante Parker’s snaps in win over Bills

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Among the personnel changes head coach Bill Belichick made in Sunday’s win over the Bills was reducing wide receiver DeVante Parker’s workload.

Parker was on the field for just 35 snaps, which accounted for just 58% of offensive plays. That was his lowest snap count and play-time percentage since Week 1, when he was inactive with a knee injury.

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Wide receiver Jalen Reagor, a 2020 first-round pick by the Eagles who was signed to the Patriots’ practice squad before the season, was the primary benefactor of Parker’s playing time reduction.

Reagor, who was elevated from the practice squad for the third time this season, played a season-high 25 snaps. The 24-year-old caught one 11-yard pass, while Parker hauled in one 8-yard grab.

“Jalen’s done a good job in the opportunities he’s had,” Belichick said Monday morning. “Trying to get all of our skill players in the game and give them an opportunity to make some plays. And we got some production from probably I think we got production from all of them. That’s been kind of a common thing throughout the year. We’ve had tight ends, receivers, running backs, those guys have had production. We just obviously need more of it. But that’s — try to get those guys in the game and let them help us.”

Parker, who signed a contract extension this offseason, dropped a deep pass from quarterback Mac Jones on the Patriots’ final offensive drive of their Week 7 loss to the Raiders. After that loss, Parker said the ball hit in the fingertips.

Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne played 56 snaps (93%) in Sunday’s win and led the team with six catches on seven targets for 63 yards with a touchdown, while rookie Demario Douglas was on the field for 37 snaps (62%) in starting slot receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster’s absence. Douglas caught four passes on six targets for 54 yards with a 20-yard rush. Second-year pro Tyquan Thornton played just three snaps (5%) and caught one 2-yard pass.

Reagor would need to be signed to the 53-man roster to see more playing time since he’s used up his three practice squad elevations.

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