Patriots

Belichick's assessment of N'Keal Harry's recent play is telling

Patriots

What's the opposite of a ringing endorsement? Look no further than Bill Belichick's assessment of N'Keal Harry's recent play.

The New England Patriots head coach was asked Wednesday how the second-year wide receiver has taken advantage of his increased playing time this season after already surpassing his snap total from an injury-plagued rookie campaign.

Belichick's response:

"As a team, we need more time on the practice field than we’ve had recently. So, hopefully we'll start getting that this week and that will be good for all of us.

"I think we all need to work on fundamentals and awareness and anticipation and things like that. It's true of every position but obviously in the passing game ... there's a lot of that."

Translation: Belichick believes Harry has plenty of room for improvement.

That's a kind way of putting things after the 22-year-old didn't record a catch on just two targets in the Patriots' 18-12 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

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Since an eight-catch, 72-yard effort against the Seattle Seahawks, Harry has totaled just five catches for 55 yards over his last three games, taking a back seat in a Patriots passing attack that desperately needs him to drive production.

So, is Harry entrenched in Belichick's doghouse? Not quite. The Patriots head coach reiterated how the team's lack of practice reps over the last two weeks as it deals with positive COVID-19 tests has affected the entire roster, Harry included.

 

"We're all, I wouldn't say starting over, but we need a lot of work," Belichick added. "I think we've made some gains, but we need to do more on the field and hopefully we'll be able to do that this week.

"So that's N'Keal, that's everybody. He's way ahead of where he was last year because he's been on the field and he's been practicing. There was a point in time where he strung together a lot of quality reps. We need to do that again."

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The San Francisco 49ers and their fifth-ranked passing defense come to town this Sunday, so time is of the essence for Harry to produce more quality reps.