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What’s a “Chance Man?”
That’s how Newton referred to N’Keal Harry on Thursday when asked about the second-year pro during a live stream with the media.
Looking to Take Shots With N’Keal Harry
The Patriots’ passing game has been the subject of ridicule most of the season.
Newton has taken most of the criticism, but the receivers have also absorbed a lot of blame. Chief among the receivers eating shots from the media and fans is Harry. The 2019 first-round pick has been called out repeatedly for not performing anywhere near the level of players taken after him in last year’s draft like the Seattle Seahawks’ DK Metcalf and the Tennessee Titans’ AJ Brown.
Over the past two games, we’ve seen some glimpses of what most have been hoping to see from Harry. He’s been more physical and willing to go up and snag passes despite facing tight single coverage. These are situations a player like Harry, who stands 6’4″ and weighs 230 pounds, should win.
In one of these situations, Harry pulled down just his second touchdown of the season two weeks ago against the Los Angeles Chargers in a 45-0 rout. The following week Harry showed some flashes when he pulled down a few more impressive grabs and nearly drew a huge defensive pass interference call.
He finished with a modest 49 receiving yards, which was good enough to lead the team in that category. That performance came in a losing effort to the Los Angeles Rams, but for Harry, it still represented progress.
Because of Harry’s hints at turning the corner, Newton was asked to talk about the young receiver’s development. Newton acknowledged Harry’s improvement and growth. He also referred to him as his “Chance Man.”
This meant, Harry is the kind of receiver you take a chance with by simply putting a pass up in the air and trusting him to come down with it.
You can see the entire interview in the video below.
It’s a Good Strategy
Let’s face it, the Patriots’ offense could stand to take more shots downfield.
There is a thought that Newton is incapable of converting on these throws, but the statistics don’t support that pessimism, nor do some of the highlights from earlier this season.
Statistically, Newton ranks No. 2 in the NFL on deep-ball accuracy (any pass traveling 20 yards or more) with a completion rate of 57.9%, per Player Profiler. Yet, he ranks 33rd in deep-ball pass attempts with just 19.
This is the kind of throw and look that would give Harry a good chance for success, and it’s probably the ball Newton throws best of all. Why aren’t we seeing Harry get these opportunities 4-5 times per game?
That’s not even to mention giving Damiere Byrd these kinds of looks more often. Harry still has a chance to develop into a weapon in the passing game, but something tells me he’s going to need more opportunities to be the “Chance Man.”
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