Patriots

Patriots' Devin McCourty encouraged by what he's seen from N'Keal Harry in practice

Patriots' Devin McCourty encouraged by what he's seen from N'Keal Harry in practice

The New England Patriots offense has battled inconsisteny and injuries at the wide receiver position throughout the season, but help is on the way.

Rookie wideout N'Keal Harry, who the Patriots selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, was activated from injured reserve last week and could make his regular season debut in Week 11 versus the Philadelphia Eagles.

Harry has a lot to catch up on after missing the first nine weeks due to injury, but Patriots safety Devin McCourty is encouraged by what he's seen from the Arizona State product on the practice field. McCourty, in an interview Thursday with WEEI's "Dale & Keefe", explained how Harry goes at the defensive backs with great intensity in practice.

“I just think he continues to get better," McCourty said. "I think one of the things he does a really good job of is playing hard in practice. He, at times, he pisses off the (defensive backs) because he works his butt off, out there blocking, out there getting open. I think that's the good thing about seeing him out there running around.

"It’s hard. When you’re a young guy and you’re a rookie and you miss that much time, you just come out there and it’s everything in your game you have to work on. I think as an older guy, that's been exciting to see him there every day after practice just getting work in. He’s doing his best to try and get back out there.”

Harry's addition should give the Patriots another big, strong wideout capable of making tough catches in traffic. It's a dynamic the Pats could certainly use, especially with the recent departure of Josh Gordon.

A lack of quality depth at wide receiver has plagued the Patriots at times in 2019, but if Harry is able to stay healthy and newly acquired Mohamed Sanu continues to make a strong impact, New England's offense could kick into high gear in the near future.

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Patriots downgrade S Patrick Chung, RB Damien Harris to out for Eagles game

Patriots downgrade S Patrick Chung, RB Damien Harris to out for Eagles game

The Patriots have downgraded safety Patrick Chung and running back Damien Harris from questionable to out for the game Sunday against the Eagles in Philadelphia.

Chung has had heel and chest injuries but did play in the Pats' last game before their bye week, the Nov. 3 loss to the Ravens. Harris appeared on the injury report for the first time on Friday with a hamstring issue. The rookie third-round pick from Alabama has only been active for two games this season.

The loss of Chung could impact the Patriots most in their coverage of Eagles tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Taking on tight ends is something Chung has excelled at. 

ESPN Mike Reiss reports that Patriots tight end Matt LaCosse, out with a knee injury since Oct. 10, did travel with the team to Philly so he will likely be active for the game.

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Ten years ago today, on fourth-and-2, Bill Belichick made one of his most controversial decisions

Ten years ago today, on fourth-and-2, Bill Belichick made one of his most controversial decisions

It was one of the most controversial calls in Patriots history...and it didn't come from an official.

It was Bill Belichick's decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 in the final minutes against the Indianapolis Colts. And it was 10 years ago today.

THE DECISION

It remains Belichick's most talked-about moves this side of Malcolm Butler. In a Week 10 matchup in Indianapolis, the 8-0 Colts faced the 6-2 Patriots in a high-scoring affair. Leading 34-28 but backed up at their own 28-yard-line and needing two yards for a first down, Belichick chose to go for it on fourth down and try and keep the ball out of quarterback Peyton Manning's hands.

THE PLAY

Tom Brady completed a pass to running back Kevin Faulk, who was driven backward by the Colts' Melvin Bullitt. After a measurement, Faulk was ruled short of the first down. Three Colts plays later, a Manning-to-Reggie Wayne TD pass and extra point with 13 seconds left a 35-34 victory.

THE AFTERMATH

There was plenty of second-guessing of Belichick's move. Had he outsmarted himself? Why didn't he punt and show more faith in his defense? 

“We thought we could win the game with that play,” he explained at the time. “That was a yard I was confident we could get.” Belichick had maintained it was more like fourth-and-long-1, rather than 2. Where the ball was spotted after the Faulk play is still the subject of debate.

Those Pats would go on to lose two of their next three, finish 10-6, still win the AFC East but get smoked by the Baltimore Ravens 33-14 in Foxboro in a wild-card playoff game. Manning's team won its first 14 games, then rested its regulars and lost twice before reaching its first Super Bowl as the Indy Colts and losing to the New Orleans Saints. 

TODAY

When Indianapolis reporter Kevin Bowen tweeted about the play's 10th anniversary on Saturday, it stirred up memories for former Colts linebacker Gary Brackens, who recalled the disrespect he felt from Belichick's decision to test the Indy defense. 

To this day, "Fourth-and-2" means only one thing to most NFL fans.

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