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.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Report: Ex-Patriots WR Danny Amendola to re-sign with Lions

Report: Ex-Patriots WR Danny Amendola to re-sign with Lions

Scratch that Danny Amendola-Patriots reunion.

Peter Schrager of the NFL Network reports the free-agent wide receiver is re-signing with the Detroit Lions, where he spent last season and had 62 catches for 678 yards. Former Pats defensive coordinator Matt Patricia will enter his third season as Lions coach in 2020. 

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

The 34-year-old left the Patriots after five seasons to sign with the Miami Dolphins in 2018 and may have burned a bridge or two with Bill Belichick. 

It had been speculated that perhaps bringing in a former reliable Tom Brady receiver might be part of a plan to lure Brady back to New England, with a report in late January that Amendola could come along to wherever Brady lands in free agency, but a Brady-Amendola reunion in Detroit isn't happening, either. 

Next Pats Podcast: Will Patriots go mobile at QB if Tom Brady leaves?

next_pats_podcast.png
NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Next Pats Podcast: Will Patriots go mobile at QB if Tom Brady leaves?

There's one big question that New England Patriots are facing this offseason. Who is going to be their starting quarterback in 2020?

For the past 20 seasons, the team hasn't really had questions at the position. It has always been Tom Brady's job. But with the 42-year-old set to hit free agency, the Patriots can't necessarily count on him returning unless they want to pay him what he's worth.

So, now the question for the Patriots becomes, what will life look like if Brady departs?

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

On the latest episode of The Next Pats Podcast, which returns for its first episode of the 2020 offseason, Phil Perry is here to explore that question. And really what it all boils down to is what the Patriots are looking for in a potential successor.

Click here to listen and subscribe to Phil Perry's Next Pats Podcast:

As Perry notes, it's likely to be one of two types of quarterback: The traditional pocket passer or a more mobile athlete in the mold of some of the recent success stories at the position.

Do the Patriots look for the next Brady? Uber-accurate, somebody who's going to sit in the pocket and absolutely dissect every little aspect of the defense that he is looking at. Or, do they go a different route? Do they go with an athlete? Do they get more mobile? Because talking to people this offseason, I'm getting a whiff -- I'm getting a scent that people believe the pocket passer might be dead.

Perry is joined by guests including Pro Football Focus' Steve Palazzolo, Greg Cosell of ESPN and NFL Films, and NFL Network's Kurt Warner to answer questions about Brady's future and what his game has looked like in recent seasons.

For more thoughts about the Patriots offseason, check out the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast, available as part of the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network.