Patriots: N’Keal Harry’s ineffectiveness was on full display again vs Cardinals
By Jerry Trotta
Patriots WR N’Keal Harry had another brutal day at the office against Arizona.
Did the New England Patriots deserve to win on Sunday? Absolutely not, and fans probably would’ve been better off had they lost and saw their playoff odds become nearly impossible from a mathematical standpoint, but we digress.
However, just because the Patriots emerged victorious against a playoff-caliber team doesn’t mean we’re going to sing their praises. Outside of a few standout performers, like defensive lineman Adam Butler, the entire team looked sluggish and significantly off the pace.
Perhaps no player embodied the latter description more than wide receiver N’Keal Harry, who unfortunately continues to prove he’s a bust. The 2019 first-round pick failed to haul in a reception on three targets (one of which came on a drop in the red zone), lost two yards on a carry, and committed a costly holding penalty.
To make matters worse, Harry’s awareness hasn’t improved from his rookie season. Check out quarterback Cam Newton seemingly signal for the second-year wideout to get to the first down marker on a third and long at the end of the third quarter.
That was a potential turning point in the game, and Harry, despite Newton’s evident assistance, insisted on standing his ground two yards short of the sticks. He also missed a number of crucial blocks on top of the holding penalty, so it’s not like he did much to make up for his receiving blunders.
It’s just the same old story with the 22-year-old, who was widely regarded as the top WR prospect coming out of Arizona State heading into the 2019 draft. Sunday marked the third game this season that he was held without a catch despite playing a large chunk of the offensive snaps.
That ineffectiveness becomes even more alarming when you realize that Harry has broken the 40-yard receiving threshold on just two occasions in 2020. Every time you think a breakout stretch is looming, he regresses in emphatic fashion.
Keep in mind that this is all coming with Julian Edelman sidelined with a knee injury. The opportunities for Harry to do something as little as show flashes of potential and improvement have been there in bunches this season, and he’s continued to fail.
Let’s call it what it is, folks. If the Patriots had better alternative options, the former Sun Devil would likely find himself riding the bench in most games. With Edelman out, they don’t have the luxury of benching him, but you can count on his snap count being reduced after his latest forgettable performance.