Patriots

Devin McCourty gives detailed take on Patriots' wide receiver battle in camp

Devin McCourty gives detailed take on Patriots' wide receiver battle in camp

The New England Patriots wide receiver group is a work in progress.

Suspension, injuries and offseason departures have resulted in a bunch of new faces competing for reps throughout training camp and the preseason. 

Patriots safety Devin McCourty has played against the Patriots' receiving corps each day in practice over the last few weeks, and he gave his perspective on the WR competition after Monday's session.

"They've been very competitive," McCourty told reporters. "I think it's been fun. Whenever you get new guys, younger guys to come in since April and start against us starting with May practices, we had a lot of new guys that knew our defense, were well into some of the things we do from a defensive standpoint, some of the adjustments. Now, you’re starting to see some of those guys like, 'Yeah alright, I've seen this before. I've been out here. I know what Tom (Brady) wants, I know what (Brian) Hoyer wants, this is how I have to adjust.' So, it's fun.

"You see a lot of these drills are back and forth, and I think that's a good sign that everybody's out here competing in camp and it's just been fun seeing these guys bet better. Even guys like Maurice Harris. That's a guy that's played in this league. When you come somewhere new, he's adjusting, he's competing, he's making plays. Bill (Belichick) always says it's like a heavyweight fight. You want to just keep throwing haymakers back and forth, and that's how you get better as a team."

Two wideouts who've impressed in camp so far are Braxton Berrios and Jakobi Meyers. Meyers, in particular, has been a pleasant surprise for the Patriots. The undrafted wideout out of North Carolina State tallied six receptions for 69 yards and two touchdowns in New England's 31-3 win over the Detroit Lions in last week's preseason opener.

"Even a guy like Braxton – didn’t play last year but was in our system, was working out. It doesn't take long for people to start viewing you as, 'Hey man, you're kind of a veteran. We need you to pull some of the young guys along.' And I think he's done a great job of that," McCourty told reporters. "For one, just coming out here with that work ethic each day. For him, that started last year. All of the guys that were here, we saw them in there working out, getting better and I think he's just doing a great job of taking advantage of the opportunities.

"Same thing with Jakobi – he comes in here, undrafted rookie. You’ve just got to come out here and try to perform each day and take advantage of whether it's with the ones, twos, threes – just take advantage of every opportunity you get. I thought he's done a good job of that."

The Patriots have been without their No. 1 wide receiver in Julian Edelman for all of camp and the first preseason game because of a left thumb injury. But even with a healthy Edelman, the Patriots' wide receiver depth chart is far from impressive. Pro Football Focus recently ranked New England's group 26th of out of 32 teams.

The Patriots need one or two of their young receivers, whether it's Meyers, Berrios, first-round draft pick N'Keal Harry or someone else, to step up and give quarterback Tom Brady another reliable target in the passing game.

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Patriots TE Ben Watson reveals feelings about Panthers DB Eric Reid on Twitter

Patriots TE Ben Watson reveals feelings about Panthers DB Eric Reid on Twitter

As Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid awaits his expected punishment from the NFL for his dangerous late hit to the head of the Patriots' Ben Watson that has the 38-year-old tight end in concussion protocol, Reid has insisted the hit had nothing to do with the recent Twitter beef between the two.

Watson hasn't talked publicly since the hit, but he tweeted about it Saturday.

Our Tom E. Curran tweeted his disdain for the hit just after it happened. 

That, of course, garnered a number of reactions, including a "like" from one Benjamin Watson, as this screengrab shows:

Looking back at the play (via a tweet from the NFL Network's Mike Giardi, above), Watson had already been tackled following a reception from Tom Brady. Reid, a 27-year-old veteran safety, was penalized for unnecessary roughness but escaped ejection.

Now, for the backstory between the two, Reid recently was critical of the Players Coalition as well as Jay-Z's partnership with the NFL. That didn't sit well with Watson, who responded with the tweet below:

Reid has drawn multiple fines for unnecessary roughness and was ejected from a game for his hit on Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger last season. He also contends that he's been unfairly targeted for drug testing by the NFL because of his kneeling during the national anthem.

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Breakfast Pod: The Patriots defense has been awfully impressive

Breakfast Pod: The Patriots defense has been awfully impressive

Some takeaways from the Patriots' first three preseason games: a dominant defense, an up-and-coming rookie backup QB and Tom Brady's reluctance to go to young receivers.

1:11 - Tom Curran joins BST to discuss the success of the Patriots defense over these first three preseason games. The crew also gets into if we're starting to see some pieces being put into place for the next phase of the dynasty - specifically if Jarrett Stidham will in fact be the Tom Brady's successor.

8:31 - Andy Hart and Curran discuss the chemistry issues Brady and Jakobi Meyers seemed to be having Thursday night and if this is going to be a continuing problem for TB12 with young receivers.

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