Patriots: N’Keal Harry’s preseason dud proves fans should temper expectations
By Jerry Trotta
The New England Patriots won their first preseason game of the year in surprisingly entertaining fashion, as they defeated the Washington Football Team thanks to some stifling defense and an electric debut from 2021 fourth-round selection Rhamondre Stevenson.
Speaking strictly in terms of the offense, we liked what we saw overall. Cam Newton and Mac Jones moved the ball well and the offensive line gave them time to throw. As we mentioned, Stevenson looked like a stud and the running game was efficient.
All good, right? For the most part. However, it would’ve been nice to see the Patriots’ wide receivers make more plays. Kristian Wilkerson was the standout performer of the group with six catches for 39 yards, and he dropped a sure touchdown from Jones.
What does that tell you? Moving past that, we were expecting more from N’Keal Harry, who produced a dud after being coined the surprise star of training camp.
N’Keal Harry didn’t live up to expectations in the preseason opener.
Harry played 36 snaps on Thursday, the most of any Patriots WR, and managed just one reception for four yards on his only target. That’s right, folks. After gaining as much buzz as any player on the team at the start of camp, Harry performed another disappearing act.
It just isn’t what fans were expecting. While no other New England wideout covered himself in glory on the night, Harry got more playing time than everybody else. It felt like Jakobi Meyers subbed out after every play and he still managed one reception for 11 yards.
It’s also telling that Harry logged the most snaps. After all, the 2019 first-rounder wouldn’t play more than any WR if his spot on the 53-man roster was safe, right?
The Patriots want to give Harry more playing time to see if he can carry the momentum from training camp into live game action. All we’ve heard is that his burst off the line was improved and that he’s been a monster on fifty-fifty balls, most of which came in 11-on-11 drills.
When the time came for Harry to show off his purified skillset, he was nowhere to be found. That’s unfortunately been the story with the young wideout since he was drafted.
While it would be wrong to overreact to one preseason game, Harry is running out of time to prove he deserves a spot on the roster…and a future with the franchise. If he’s a no-show for the next preseason game, too, he might get that trade he requested before camp after all.