Patriots

Patriots' N'Keal Harry must break this bad habit in 2020, trainer says

Patriots' N'Keal Harry must break this bad habit in 2020, trainer says

If you ask Rischad Whitfield, an ankle injury wasn't the only thing that slowed N'Keal Harry down last season.

Whitfield, a personal trainer who brands himself as "The Footwork King," has been working with Harry this offseason to improve the New England Patriots wide receiver's footwork.

Specifically, Whitfield is trying to get Harry to play lighter and faster -- and get the 22-year-old out of improper foot mechanics that have slowed him down.

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"N'Keal told me, he goes, 'All my life, I've been told to stay low, stay low, stay low.' But the lower you get, the heavier you get," Whitfield told NFL Media's Mike Giardi in a recent interview.

"That's a science. Anybody can do a squat right now with no barbell on their back, have a little squat and then jump. The lower they get, the heavier they get. They can't move. I'm breaking him out of that mold."

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Harry used that low, wide base to overpower defensive backs at Arizona State. But Whitfield, who has worked with Odell Beckham Jr., Mecole Hardman and Deebo Samuel among other talented wide receivers, believes that approach won't work against the NFL's bigger, stronger cornerbacks, which is why he's trying to make Harry more nimble.

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"He gets really wide, so I'm keeping him working with his base narrow and a little bit higher, just like a boxer," Whitfield said.

"This is the prime example I give him: You can't box with no footwork. You got to bob and weave and move out of the way. They're nimble. They're light. I got to get him to that, because he'll get wide. He'll stomp. He'll move his feet, but it's so heavy that it's not going anywhere. He's not moving the defensive back vertical."

That's not an encouraging assessment of Harry, the Patriots' first wide receiver taken in the first round since Terry Glenn in 1996. But it may explain why Harry created an average of just 2.2 yards of separation on his routes in 2019, which according to Next Gen Stats was the lowest on the team.

The good news is that Harry has multiple coaches working with him on his footwork -- he's also training with ex-Patriots tight end Dwayne Allen's brother, Justin Allen -- and if that hard work pays off, he could be a prominent weapon for second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham.

Patriots fans may bristle at Chris Jones' reaction to Chiefs extension

Patriots fans may bristle at Chris Jones' reaction to Chiefs extension

Did the 2001 New England Patriots believe they were launching a dynasty after winning Super Bowl XXXVI? Probably not.

But the defending Super Bowl champions appear a bit more confident.

Days after signing quarterback Patrick Mahomes to the richest contract in North American sports, the Kansas City Chiefs agreed to a four-year, $85 million contract extension with defensive tackle Chris Jones, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday.

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So, how did Jones celebrate his new deal with Kansas City? By declaring an apparent continuation of the Chiefs' "dynasty."

Jones has every reason to be confident in his team, which kept its core intact after winning Super Bowl LIV and is the current Super Bowl LV favorite.

But Patriots fans who watched Bill Belichick and Tom Brady lead New England to six championships over two decades might view Jones' "dynasty" talk as premature.

After all, no team has won back-to-back titles since the Patriots in 2003 and 2004, and no team aside from New England and Seattle (2013 and 2014) has even reached the Super Bowl in back-to-back years since 2000.

And after signing Cam Newton, the Patriots may believe their own dynasty isn't dead yet despite Brady's departure to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

History won't stop Jones and the Chiefs from setting lofty goals, however, as Mahomes said recently he's eyeing Brady's record of six Super Bowl titles. Better get started soon.

Tom E. Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast: Did Pats just become Cam Newton's team? | Listen and subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Hypocrisy for Patriots fans to root for Tom Brady, but not Cam Newton

Hypocrisy for Patriots fans to root for Tom Brady, but not Cam Newton

If you rooted for Tom Brady and don’t root for Cam Newton, you are a hypocrite. 

In 2014, the Patriots started the season 2-2 and after a humiliating loss on Monday Night Football in Kansas City, some idiot — that would be me — declared that the Pats had lost their soul.

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Of course, I was wrong, as the greatest quarterback ever went on to the lead the Pats to their fourth Super Bowl win with a big assist from Malcolm Butler. 

That was Part 2 of the "Tom Brady: Me Against the World" trilogy.

Of course, the original was getting drafted as a sixth-round pick out of Michigan. Part 3 was Deflategate when Brady won his fifth Super Bowl after he was suspended for four games.

For the purpose of this writing, we focus on Part 2 because some thought Brady’s best days were behind him. (Many feel the same about Cam Newton now.) Even Bill Belichick said Tom was getting older and the plans for his successor in Jimmy Garoppolo were laid out before us ... and Brady.  

Tom E. Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast: Did Pats just become Cam Newton's team? | Listen and subscribe | Watch on YouTube

But once again, Brady defied the odds and forced Belichick to trade Jimmy G. to San Francisco. Needing to prove he still had "it," Brady reinvented himself and became a physical specimen, defying Father Time.

Can Cam Newton do the same? He is not as old now as Brady was then, but this guy was left for dead by the rest of the NFL and has even more to prove than Brady ever did.

If you backed Tom Brady, how can you not do the same for Cam?

Look, I love Tom Brady the football player. Off the field, I think he’s lost his mind, but there has been no better player in the history of sports than TB12. (See Tom, I used your logo. Happy?)

However, right now I am in Cam’s corner like I was in Brady’s when he was a Patriot. And you should be too.