Silver linings of the past few weeks of Patriots football? You’re welcome: Damien Harris and Jakobi Meyers are so much better than people they replaced.
Cam Newton probably wasn’t right when he claimed that the solutions to the Patriots’ offensive problems were all entirely situated within their locker room.
However, if all Pats fans were looking for was a marked improvement, then it’s possible Newton wasn’t that far off.
It’s easy to get lost in the narrative of the Bills game, which flipped on a dime when Newton fumbled on his way towards the goal line, but prior to that all-time gaffe, the Patriots had established an offensive rhythm predicated mainly on Damien Harris‘ effective version of ground-and-pound.
And when Newton needed a safety valve, Jakobi Meyers replicated his preseason performance from 2019; he was far more likely to be open on short routes than Julian Edelman had been in recent weeks.
When the men they’re replacing return from battling injury issues, the Patriots will need to continue to emphasize Harris and Meyers’ development.
Harris, now in his second year out of Alabama, has improved dramatically in each of his three weeks as a focal point in the backfield. Regrettably, he’s battled ankle issues ahead of Monday night’s battle (LOL, sorry, couldn’t say it with a straight face) against the Jets, but thus far, he’s been everything Sony Michel isn’t. With a head of steam, he’s very tough to take down in the open field. He hits holes decisively, showing all of his collegiate burst, something we wish we could say for Michel. At a certain point, that loss has to be acknowledged instead of talked around.
As for Meyers? With regret, the N’Keal Harry pick hasn’t looked any more prescient with Newton under center, no matter how many offseason stories about their rapport we tried to devour. Add in recurring concussion issues, and his future starts to look frightfully cloudy, not to mention that every time Meyers has gotten run, he’s been far more proactive with the football and in space.
Based on well over a year of evidence, a lot of things must go right for Harry and Michel to have success. On the other hand, Harris and Meyers can make something out of nothing.
No matter how Monday night goes, the second half of this season must be about emphasizing their development, rather than restricting it with a return to the status quo for Michel and Harry.