N'Keal Harry had a difficult rookie season, but the New England Patriots wide receiver has shown encouraging progress in Year 2.
Harry is coming off his best performance as an NFL player. He set career highs with eight receptions, 72 receiving yards and 12 targets in the Patriots' 35-30 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2.
Perhaps the most interesting element of Harry's performance versus the Seahawks was how much trust Patriots quarterback Cam Newton showed in the second-year wideout late in the game.
Harry was targeted seven times in the fourth quarter and he tallied four receptions for 50 yards. He was targeted four times and made three catches for 42 yards on the Patriots' final drive, which ended at the 1-yard line when the Seahawks prevented Newton from running into the end zone as time expired.
“It’s good to have trust from my quarterback. It means a lot," Harry said Tuesday when asked about Newton looking his way on the final drive. "To me, it means he trusts me in a critical situation ... I take pride in that.”
The 22-year-old wide receiver's rookie campaign was hampered by injuries. He didn't play much in the preseason and played in only seven regular season games. He totaled 12 receptions for 105 yards and two touchdowns on 24 targets.
Harry has already surpassed several of his rookie stats through just two games in 2020 with 13 receptions for 111 yards on 18 targets.
Newton has been fully supportive of Harry during his short tenure as the team's starting QB. When Harry fumbled in the Patriots' win over the Miami Dolphins in Week 1, Newton was quick to defend him.
It's clear that Newton is making a strong effort to build chemistry with Harry. There's still plenty more work to be done, but the early returns on the field are no doubt a positive sign for the Patriots offense.
"It's good to have trust from our quarterback," Harry said. "At the end of the day, as receivers, we just want to make him as comfortable as possible when he drops back he has faith in every single one of us, and that he can trust us to come down with the ball. It's really encouraging."