Patriots: Josh McDaniels isn’t giving up on N’Keal Harry
By Jerry Trotta
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels isn’t ready to give up on struggling wide receiver N’Keal Harry.
A lot was expected of Patriots wide receiver N’Keal Harry in 2020 following a lackluster rookie campaign, which was really doomed from the start after an ankle injury limited his participation in training camp and the preseason.
As we know, Harry was ultimately placed on injured reserve and didn’t appear in his first game until Week 11. By that point in the season, he was really an afterthought of New England’s offensive game plan and that showed in his production, as he failed to eclipse the 30-yard threshold despite logging a 45.2% snap share in seven games.
Fast forward to this season, however, and the narrative surrounding Harry has somehow worsened. The 2019 first-round pick has found himself in the crosshairs of fans and the media after his latest forgettable performance vs Arizona, in which he dropped a touchdown and committed a costly holding penalty down the stretch.
It’s been nothing but tough sledding for Harry, but one member of the coaching staff isn’t ready to give up on him in light of his inconsistencies. During his latest media session, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels expressed his confidence in the second-year wideout.
"“I think N’Keal has done some things, certainly some positive things that have helped us during the course of the games that he’s played,” McDaniels told reporters. “And I think, like most young players who’ve had to miss time throughout the early part of their careers, he’s got plenty of things that he can improve on and that he needs to improve on.”“The name of the game for young guys is to learn how to play and how to do their job at this level, and then to be able to be consistently dependable doing it against good competition under pressure is the next step for guys in this league.”"
That was a very political response from McDaniels, who acknowledged that Harry has a lot to improve on before he can become a dependable player for the Patriots, but it says a lot that he isn’t ready to give up on him despite everybody outside of the organization jumping at the opportunity to call him a bust.
Perhaps fans should quit harping on his blunders and just accept the fact that Harry is going to be more of a project than the Patriots had thought when they used the No. 32 overall pick in the 2019 Draft on him.
After all, the Arizona State product is just two weeks away from his 23rd birthday and is probably taking longer than expected to adjust to the speed of the NFL. We know, there are a handful of other receivers the same age and in the 2019 draft class that are already bonafide superstars, but it’s been evident for quite a long time that he isn’t on their level.
Knowing that, there’s just no reason to get worked up about about Harry’s ineffectiveness and try to compare him to players that are miles ahead of him in terms of their development. We’re not as forgiving as McDaniels, but maybe fans can get off his case a little bit because it certainly isn’t helping his confidence.