Cam Newton has his teammates’ back.
This was on display in a major way on Wednesday during a post-practice live stream press conference. Newton was asked about N’Keal Harry, who has been the target of some criticism after a so-so performance in the Week 1 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
N'Keal Harry fumbles just short of the goalline through the endzone. Turns it over.
Harry ranked dead last in separation last season among all qualifying NFL WRs. pic.twitter.com/oLuAuwxYAa
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 13, 2020
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Cam Newton Defends N’Keal Harry
Here is Newton’s response to a question about his relationship with Harry, and how he tried to assist the second-year-pro after the Week 1 win.
I spoke with N’Keal, and let’s just put a lot of things into perspective here. Did he have a good game? Yes, he did. I think that one play overshadowed the production he did have. He bailed me out on a play, on a kind of inaccurate pass that he came down with and got the first down. He did pretty good in the run game. He had a couple contested catches. And all that was kind of for naught because a lot of people just focused on the fumble. And granted, I’ll be the first person to tell you, or he’d be the first person to tell you, or he’d be the first person to tell you, he knows that’s unacceptable. But obviously, when you just put things into perspective, and you call an apple an apple, and a spade a spade, it was just one mistake. Him still being a young player, trying to come into his own, things like that will happen. You just want it to be minimized it as much as possible. But he’s making leaps and strides, as everyone would expect him to be. He’s growing up into his best self. For him, after chatting with him, he knows he has to make practice game-like, and that’s the only thing you can imagine. The thing that makes me and N’Keal even more kind of closer; I told N’Keal my spiel, obviously being at Carolina, I’ve had a N’Keal in my life for as long as my career has existed. Being a high-invested draft pick, dating back to Kelvin Benjamin, to devin Funchess, those young guys. Me also being young at the time too. Then you invest in Curtis Samuel, D.J. Moore, Christian McCaffrey. So it’s nothing new to come on a team, and you have a young talent at receiver, and trying to morph him into the best player he can possibly be. I know N’Keal is buying in — not only to my theory and methods but also to the team as well. Plays like that are going to happen. We just hope that’s the only time it will happen.
Take a look at the entire press conference here:
Why the Pressure is on Harry to Produce
The Patriots selected Harry with their first-round selection in 2019. While he showed some flashes, it was a mostly disappointing rookie season. Newton and the Patriots need to see Harry take a major step in his second season.
Newton is right, Harry did make a few solid plays on Sunday. However, he did have a costly fumble that resulted in a shift in momentum. He’s got to clean up the mistakes, but there is no doubt Newton has established himself as a real leader in the Patriots locker room.
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