‘Polarizing’ Patriots WR Not ‘On the Same Page’ With OC: Report

Getty N'Keal Harry

N’Keal Harry has failed to live up to expectations since being drafted by the New England Patriots in the first round in 2019. What went wrong? Some blame Josh McDaniels’ rigidness.

 and   of Pat’s Pulpit collaborated on a look at the Patriots’ wide receiver situation, and shared this take on Harry, whom they called “one of the most polarizing players” on the team.

So how can Harry turn things around? It starts with a more specific role. Through his two seasons the Patriots have tasked Harry with doing just about everything, from working the boundary as a possession receiver to running end arounds from the slot, he’s been asked to do a little too much. That statement won’t sit well with some, who believe if he can’t be a “Prototypical Patriot” then they should just move on, but the fact of the matter is, if the Patriots are ever going to get over their shortcomings in the draft it’s going to be by adapting to the talent and not forcing the talent to adapt to the team. There is still some hope for both sides if Harry and his offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels can ever get on the same page.

There would appear to be some truth to that, and we’ve ever heard about McDaniels’ unwillingness to adapt to his player’s strengths hurting Cam Newton in 2020.

Unfortunately, when you’ve been successful, as McDaniels has been with the Patriots–granted we’re still not sure how much of that was due to calling plays for Tom Brady–it is tough to push a guy to change.


Harry Could Still Be an Excellent Short-Yardage and Red Zone Threat

It’s probably not what the Patriots had in mind when they drafted Harry in the first round, but he still has the potential to become a TD machine.

At 6’4″ 225 pounds, Harry is one of the more physically imposing wide receivers in the league. He doesn’t have an issue out-muscling corners for the ball in short-yardage situations. When you consider the team might be able to run three tight end sets with Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry and Devin Asiasi, they could be a handful inside the 10-yard line with Cam Newton, Harry at receiver and James White/Damien Harris/Sony Michel/Rhamondre Stevenson in the backfield.

The options would be aplenty. New England would have excellent personnel on the field to run the ball with Newton or one of the running backs, while also having capable pass catchers who represent big targets in the end zone.

If Harry catches four or five TD passes in these kinds of situations, some of the boos from fans would be silenced and New England might have found a way to get some value from their former first-round pick.


Patriots 2021 Preseason and Regular Season Schedule

Harry and the rest of the receivers only have a little over a month to prove their worth with the team possibly only keeping five players at the position. Here is a look at the Patriots’ schedule for the preseason and regular season:

Date   Opponent Time/TV

Thursday

Aug. 12

 

Washington Football Team

 (Preseason)

Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA

7:30pm ET

Local/NFL NETWORK

Thursday

Aug. 19

 

at Philadelphia Eagles

 (Preseason)

Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA

7:30pm ET

Local/NFL NETWORK

Sunday

Aug. 29

 

at New York Giants

 (Preseason)

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

7:30pm ET

Local/NFL NETWORK

Sunday

Sep. 12

 

Miami Dolphins

Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA

4:25pm ET

CBS

Sunday

Sep. 19

 

at New York Jets

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

1:00pm ET

CBS

Sunday

Sep. 26

 

New Orleans Saints

Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA

1:00pm ET

FOX

Sunday

Oct. 3

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA

8:20pm ET

NBC

Sunday

Oct. 10

 

at Houston Texans

NRG Stadium, Houston, TX

1:00pm ET

CBS

Sunday

Oct. 17

 

Dallas Cowboys

Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA

4:25pm ET

CBS

Sunday

Oct. 24

 

New York Jets

Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA

1:00pm ET

CBS

Sunday

Oct. 31

 

at Los Angeles Chargers

SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA

4:05pm ET

CBS

Sunday

Nov. 7

 

at Carolina Panthers

Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC

1:00pm ET

CBS

Sunday

Nov. 14

 

Cleveland Browns

Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA

1:00pm ET

CBS

Thursday

Nov. 18

 

at Atlanta Falcons

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA

8:20pm ET

FOX/NFL NETWORK/AMAZON

Sunday

Nov. 28

 

Tennessee Titans

Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA

1:00pm ET

CBS

Monday

Dec. 6

 

at Buffalo Bills

Bills Stadium, Orchard Park, NY

8:15pm ET

ESPN

Sunday

Dec. 12

  BYE  

Saturday

Dec. 18

 

at Indianapolis Colts

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN

Time TBA ET

or Sun., Dec. 19

Sunday

Dec. 26

 

Buffalo Bills

Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA

1:00pm ET

CBS

Sunday

Jan. 2

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA

1:00pm ET

CBS

Sunday

Jan. 9

 

at Miami Dolphins

Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL

1:00pm ET

CBS

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