Patriots

Patriots WR N'Keal Harry's college coach says NFL stage 'won’t be too big for him'

Patriots WR N'Keal Harry's college coach says NFL stage 'won’t be too big for him'

Many rookies crumble under the pressure that comes with playing in the NFL, but Herm Edwards is confident New England Patriots wide receiver N'Keal Harry won't have that problem.

Harry spent most of the season on injured reserve and returned to practice Oct. 15. He could make his Patriots debut in Sunday's Week 11 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. Lincoln Financial Field is not an easy place for opponents to play, especially with thousands of raucous Eagles fans creating plenty of noise. 

Still, Edwards, who coached Harry at Arizona State, doesn't think the stage will be an issue for the 21-year-old wideout.

“He’s got great football instincts,” Edwards said Tuesday on WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show".

“And the thing I think (Tom Brady) and the guys know about him is, if you get him in 1-on-1 situations, you can throw the ball to him and trust that he can come down with it. (Harry is) very competitive for the football. And the game’s not too big for him. The lights won’t be too big for N'Keal when he goes on the field. That won't be a problem. It's just a matter of how they're going to use him.”

Harry made plenty of contested catches in traffic during his Sun Devils career, and his ability to win these matchups helped make him a first-round talent. The Patriots like his skill set enough to make him the first wide receiver head coach Bill Belichick has ever drafted in Round 1 during his 20-year tenure in New England.

The Patriots won't need Harry to be elite right away, but he does need to make some sort of meaningful impact. Veteran receivers Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu are dependable, but after them, the talent on the depth chart drops quite a bit. Phillip Dorsett has shown flashes impressive play, but he's been inconsistent. The Patriots still don't have a tight end who's a real threat in the passing attack, either.

One more weapon for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady would be a huge help, and if Harry can be reliable on third downs and 1-on-1 matchups on the sidelines, New England's passing offense should be much tougher to defend than it has been through the first 10 weeks of the season.

Josh McDaniels gives positive update on N'Keal Harry's progress>>>

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Sources: Tom Brady and family preparing to leave New England

Sources: Tom Brady and family preparing to leave New England

Tom Brady doesn't officially become a free agent until the new league year begins on March 18, but the rumors are already flying about the New England Patriot quarterback's future.

A report surfaced earlier in the week that Brady and his family purchased a home in Greenwich, Connecticut. As NBC Sports Boston's own Tom E. Curran pointed out, that is false.

But that doesn't mean Brady isn't planning on making a move.

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Thursday night on "Arbella Early Edition," Gary Tanguay revealed that a source told him Brady and wife Gisele Bundchen are looking to leave New England.

"I was told today by a source the family is planning to leave the area," Tanguay said. "The priority this time is to let the kids finish school this year, then they're gone."

Tanguay's report doesn't mean Brady is definitely leaving New England, but talks of him and his family looking to live somewhere else continue to gain steam.

If Brady indeed is moving on from New England and looking to start a new chapter, some of that could do with his desire to finally make the money he's worth in free agency.

According to Tanguay, Brady is "embarrassed" by the number of quarterbacks in the league that make more than him and has been fed up about it dating back to the summer, before he signed his contract extension.

Thirteen quarterbacks, including Brady's former backups Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, make more on average annually than the six-time Super Bowl champion according to overthecap.com.

The truth is, we won't know for certain what's going through Brady's mind until the ink is on paper for the 42-year-old's new contract. Until then, it's going to be a stressful offseason for Patriots fans.

Curran: Is this newfound time a silver lining for Patriots?

Patriots Talk Podcast: What exactly are the Patriots up to right now?

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Patriots Talk Podcast: What exactly are the Patriots up to right now?

Needless to say, it's unusual for the New England Patriots to have so much down time in January. Typically, they're playing in the AFC Divisional Round. And the AFC Championship Game. And often, the Super Bowl.

But this year, they were eliminated in the Wild Card Round for the first time since 2009. And now, they have a lot of time on their hands.

And while their early playoff exit was surely discouraging, the Patriots could stand to benefit from this extra time.

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On the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discussed how the Patriots could utilize the extra time and the positive impact it could have on the organization.

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Curran pointed out that because the team has so often been playing into February, their already thin staff has been stretched thin come draft season, which explains why the team has had some draft misses in recent seasons.

Really, it comes down to 312 days of prepreparation were sacrifice. And so for a bare bones organization in terms of both front office and coaching staff -- these guys have had shorter offseasons by a month on average than any other team in the NFL.

So on one hand, it's remarkable and it's a high-class problem. On the other hand, isn't it somewhat inevitable that you might have some draft swings and misses?

Perry agreed with Curran and brought up that the fact that the extra time off will give Belichick a real chance to thoroughly evaluate his roster.

I think for a team that is looking at a reboot, one of the sort of ironic things about that is that now you have time to really think that through in more detail and not to say that Bill Belichick isn't planning or looking at his roster, how it's constructed, how the contracts set up and trying to plan ahead. I'm sure he is doing that to a certain extent.

But you can only spend so much time on those things when you're getting ready for the divisional round, the AFC Championship Game every year, the Super Bowl every other year.

This surely makes sense and is definitely a positive for the Patriots. Perhaps with that extra time, Belichick can find a way to retain Tom Brady while significantly upgrading his supporting cast.

For more on the Patriots offseason plans, potential changes in their front office, and predictions for the AFC and NFC Championship Games, check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, which drops every Tuesday and Thursday as a part of the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.