Even on a Sunday? Yes. Even on a Sunday. The Summer of N’Keal continued on the Lord’s Day and a wide receiver who once was lost now seems found.
N’Keal Harry made several catches with amazing grace (OK, I’m sorry. I’ll stop …) during a late-afternoon workout and continues to be the story of training camp right behind the quarterback sweepstakes.
That whole, “OK, let me know when he does it a few days in a row and when the pads are on…” qualifier regarding Harry from early in camp? He’s doing it. And we’re letting you know.
Harry had a string of great catches in 1-on-1s early in practice but the best was a fully-extended snagging of a 30-yard throw from Cam Newton. Harry used a double move to extract himself from Joejuan Williams at about the 15. After dusting Williams, he then had to track a well-placed throw from Newton, bring it in and keep it through the ground. Did it all.
“I feel like that’s what I’m gonna do,” Harry said when asked about the catch. “Any ball that’s in my vicinity, I feel like I have to do anything in my power to get it. So balls like that, I’m going to dive for it, and I’m going to give my all to get there. I’ll do anything to catch that ball.”
Asked about his consistency in the first 10 practices of camp, Harry said, “I feel like I’ve been taking really good care of my body, I’m feeling good out there, and I’m just trying to stack the days, get a little bit better each day.
"… That’s been my main focus this whole training camp, this whole offseason, I just had a vision the whole time, and now I’m starting to attack that vision every day.”
Harry’s agent made a trade request in early July. Since then, Bill Belichick and Harry have both indicated that they’ve talked it out and Harry’s indicated that staying in New England would be fine with him. Does that mean his request is rescinded or would he still prefer a change of scenery? Harry punted on that topic Sunday.
“Everything that’s going on off the field, that’s really not my focus at all,” he said. “Like I said, I’m focused on becoming a better football player each day, and whatever happens, off the field, happens. I’m not going to worry about that right now.”
As for using the mountain of adverse reaction to his first two seasons with the team as motivation, Harry said he’s not bothering.
“For me, honestly, I could care less what he doubters think,” he said. “All I know is there’s a lot of people that are still supporting me and still believe in me, so I want to prove those people right. My family included, my friends, my agent, everybody. I want to prove them right and prove myself right.”
Good day for Cam ' Mac
Both quarterbacks at the top of the depth chart had very solid practices. Newton again took the lion’s share of his reps with the presumed starters while Mac Jones mixed in with the starters and took plenty with the backups as well.
A couple of Harry’s first two impressive catches came from Jones – a Mossing of Myles Bryant and a nice catch on Kyle Dugger on a comeback. Newton’s best throw was a deep ball to Kristian Wilkerson. He also laid one in nicely on a line to Jakobi Meyers that should have been hauled in over the shoulder.
Both quarterbacks were very efficient in 11-on-11, though each was picked. Cam got got by Devin McCourty who jumped a route and Michael Jackson undercut a route to pick off Jones.
When the offense ran a “gotta have it” play down on the goal line, Newton was “sacked” (touched) by Dont'a Hightower. The entire offense and the offensive staff had to take a lap after that. The Senator has all the quarterback numbers right here.
- Quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who recently had back surgery, was at practice observing.
- Kyle Van Noy shed the non-contact red jersey and is full-go now.
- Ted Karras was back from his ankle sprain while second-year tight end Devin Asiasi was out for his first practice returning from COVID protocol
- Nelson Agholor was not at practice, nor was kicker Nick Folk. This was the third straight practice Folk’s missed.
- Hunter Henry, Joe Cardona and David Andrews all appeared to get dinged at different points of practice. We’ll keep an eye out to see if they are limited or absent for Monday’s workout, also in the late afternoon.
- Fan attendance was low on Sunday.
- Josh Uche had a busy practice with back-to-back “sacks” of Newton and Jones. He also got in a post-play jam with Mike Onwenu later in practice. Jalen Mills and Kristian Wilkerson got in a brief jam late in practice as well.
- Bill Belichick threw his visor as a penalty flag it seemed during one pre-snap play. It looked like a visor on the offense.
- Deatrich Wise worked on his punt long snapping in live work while Jonnu Smith was a long-snapper for live field goals with Gunner Olszewski holding and Jake Bailey kicking. Not sure if they were trying to help with field goal blocks, but two in a row got snuffed.