The Patriots are gaining some offensive weaponry with the return of N’Keal Harry, who has been studying hard while he’s been on IR.
There have been a lot of doubts about where N’Keal Harry is in learning the New England Patriots playbook. The rookie wide receiver just resumed practicing with the team on Tuesday, though he won’t be eligible to play until Week 9 against the Baltimore Ravens.
I think there should be less doubt about N’Keal Harry and more hype about the Patriots 2019 first-round pick. Harry is young and explosive, and he has had plenty of time to get familiarized with the playbook. To think he wouldn’t be an upgrade or an asset to this offense is absurd; the Patriots obviously had every intention of N’Keal Harry making an impact this season when they drafted him 32nd overall.
Many veteran receivers have come to New England and have said that the playbook is intense. Most of them didn’t last the entire season: Chad Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Joey Galloway, and Sam Aiken, to name a few. The Patriots’ plays are designed for every person on the field to have a specific role; some are able to do it, but most can’t.
While Harry has been rehabbing through his injury and catching up on his playbook, it still doesn’t equate to the ‘on field’ practice and experience needed to succeed in this offense. Fellow wide receiver and teammate Phillip Dorsett has been filling Harry in on what he’s missing on the field, to help prepare and keep him up to speed for when he’s able to return. Here’s what Dorsett shared with Harry, via WEEI’s Ryan Hannable:
"“We’ve stayed on him. I know I’ve stayed on him, talking to him every day about it. Just making sure that he’s in shape mentally, physically, emotionally, making sure he’s ready to play. Obviously, he has to catch up, but he’ll be fine. It’s not like I have to (talk to him). I want to. He’s a good guy. He’s my teammate. I want him to succeed just as much as I want to succeed. At the end of the day, if he succeeds, this team succeeds. We have one goal. We want to win. And we know that he knows that he can help us win.”"
Ever since Dorsett was brought to New England through a trade with the Indianapolis Colts in 2017, he has been nothing short of excellent and professional. After a slow start, Dorsett carved his way into becoming a solid and reliable option for Brady in this offense. One of Dorsett’s great catches came in the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs, where he scored a touchdown in the back of the end-zone during the first half.
Julian Edelman is leading the team with 449 receiving yards. He’s doing his job, as usual. Josh Gordon has been struggling this season as far as making big plays. The Pats have been getting great contributions from undrafted rookies Gunner Olszewski and Jakobi Meyers, but it’s just not yet enough.
I think Harry is going to be a great addition to the franchise for years to come. He’s very versatile, and he has the ability to stretch the field for Tom Brady once he’s healthy. Hopefully he can start making significant contributions to this Patriots offense as soon as he returns.