Patriots

N'Keal Harry carrying perfectionist approach from Arizona State to Patriots minicamp

N'Keal Harry carrying perfectionist approach from Arizona State to Patriots minicamp

FOXBORO -- N'Keal Harry stayed down on the ground for an extra beat or two, his face mask in the turf. Before he started to get to his feet, he slapped the grass with his hands. He was frustrated. That much was clear. 

It was a moment that came toward the end of what had been a decidedly up-and-down practice for the first-round rookie receiver Tuesday. Harry heard it from coaches during drills. He didn't always connect with Tom Brady in their first practice together. And when an out-route fell incomplete after he made a diving attempt to snare it, he was visibly bothered. 

"Tough catch," he said later, "but I expect myself to make it."

Brady peppered Harry with targets throughout the practice, an indication that the 41-year-old -- who has taken some time to warm up to young receivers in the past -- understands Harry's development could make a drastic impact on the overall success of the Patriots passing game.

There was a slant that fell incomplete early, and a contested fade that nicked Harry's fingertips before hitting the turf. There were completions sprinkled in throughout as well: a corner route mid-way through the session; a pass to the sideline threaded between coverage.

But the misses seemed to bother Harry, which is consistent with the reputation he established at Arizona State. He was a perfectionist of sorts there, and that approach has apparently followed him to New England.

"N'Keal's very competitive," Arizona State receivers coach Charlie Fisher told The Next Pats Podcast earlier this offseason. "He looks to do good. He gets pissed if he doesn't do it good in practice. Like all great players, he wants to do it good. He takes great pride in trying to do whatever it is your trying to teach him, and he tries to do a good job with it."

In an offense that has proven very difficult for young receivers to grasp over the years, Harry may have to strike some sort of balance between beating himself up after practices and finding room for growth in the mistakes he makes. 

But in some ways, what we saw from Harry in his first Gillette Stadium workout with Brady is likely part of the reason why the Patriots liked him as much as they did on draft weekend. There was no entitlement in how Harry carried himself Tuesday. No nose-in-the-air, I'm-a-first-rounder-I've-got-this kind of comportment.

Harry treated the first day of minicamp, "teaching camp," like a game. There is a long list of Patriots who've handled practices with similar intensity, who've attacked every rep as if their livelihood depended on it, who've worked out just fine -- including the guy throwing Harry passes this week.

That he didn't secure every football thrown his way should not have been the takeaway for anyone watching Harry closely on Tuesday. It was that he was bothered by the ones he didn't.

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Sony Michel and Demaryius Thomas to start camp on PUP list

Sony Michel and Demaryius Thomas to start camp on PUP list

As the Patriots gear up for the start of training camp and another Super Bowl championship defense, a few key players will start camp on the physically unable to perform list (PUP). 

Sony Michel and Demaryius Thomas are the big names on there, per Field Yates, while Mike Reiss reported Nate Ebner, Cole Croston, Deatrich Wise and Ken Webster will begin camp on the PUP list. 

All this means is the players on the PUP list at this time have not been cleared for on-field drills yet. They can come off any time since it is just training camp. If any of these players end training camp on the PUP list, they can be placed there for the regular season, where they won't be able to practice or play for the first six weeks of the year. 

On the bright side, it appears left tackle Isaiah Wynn will not begin camp on the PUP list, according to Mike Reiss. The Patriots selected Wynn in the first round of the 2018 draft, but the University of Georgia product missed the entire season with an Achilles injury.

Wynn projects to be the team's starting left tackle this season after the loss of Trent Brown in free agency, so it's a good sign he'll be able to participate right away at camp. 

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Patriots HOFers Brown, Harrison back on the field in Foxboro this week when training camp begins

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AP Images

Patriots HOFers Brown, Harrison back on the field in Foxboro this week when training camp begins

As the Patriots return to training camp this week, they'll be plenty of familiar faces getting back to work and some new additions. 

Among those who know they're way around the fields in Foxboro and will be out there again are a Patriots Hall of Famer and soon-to-be Pats HOFer, Troy Brown and Rodney Harrison. 

Brown, the former versatile receiver inducted into the team's Hall in 2012, will be on the field working with receivers again, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN. While not officially on the coaching staff, Brown worked with first-round pick N'Keal Harry, free-agent signee Maurice Harris and veteran Julian Edelman, along with other receivers at minicamp in June. He's lent a hand to Bill Belichick and special teams coach Joe Judge, who is also doubling as receivers coach after several staff departures in the offseason. Brown's former teammate Jerod Mayo is on the staff and will work with linebackers.

Harrison, who will be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame at a Gillette Stadium ceremony on July 29 along with late offensive lineman Leon Gray, is scheduled to arrive on Thursday, when the team begins practices. While not coaching, Harrison, the former hard-hitting safety who now works for NBC as an NFL analyst, will be a visitor on the field and is never shy about sharing his insights and opinions, such as going into the Pats Hall means more than being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall in Canton.

"To get named a Hall of Famer to the greatest organization in sport ever, it just means so much to me," Harrison told Reiss. "I'm still stunned. I can't believe I'm in the Patriots Hall of Fame. All I can do is shake my head at this point."

As for the current edition of the Patriots, Harrison expects them to be in a familiar position:  "I know Kansas City is really good...but I still think the Pats are the best team in the AFC."

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