N’Keal Harry cost the Patriots offense seven points Sunday.
Fighting for extra yardage at the goal line, Harry fumbled the football out of the final zone for a Dolphins touchback. Instead of putting the game on ice, it allowed Miami to claw its way back in.
By all accounts, it was a bad mistake.
But asked about Harry̵
“I talked to N’Keal, and let’s just put a lot of things in perspective here. Did he have a good game? Yes, he did, ”said Newton. “I think a piece overshadowed the production he had. He saved me out on a piece, on a slightly inaccurate pass, which he came down with and got a first down. He did pretty well in the race. He had a few contested catches.And all this was a bit for not because many people just focused on the fumble.
“And of course, I’ll be the first person to tell you he knows – or he’s going to be the first person to tell you he knows it’s unacceptable. But of course, when you just put things in perspective and you call an apple an apple and a spade a spade, it was just a mistake. He is still a young player and trying to get to his own, things like this will happen. ”
It’s impossible not to be struck by how differently Newton and Tom Brady have handled all things Harry.
Newton has taken Harry – affectionately nicknamed “Doughboy” – under his wing, and the 2019 rounder has appreciated his management.
“It’s a really good connection,” Harry said last Friday. “A lot of the time, it’s like a big brother just leading me through a lot of things and helping me a lot.”
It seems far from last season when Harry’s fight to develop chemistry with Brady was a season-long story.
Let us examine a similar error step.
When Harry became muscular in a slant in the first quarter that went to a wiretap in Houston last December, Brady froze him out. Quarterback did not see Harry’s way the rest of the night, and the Patriots lost, 28-22.
They dropped to 10-2.
“I threw it and they got it,” Brady said afterwards. “Poor result.”
During his 20 years of dominance in New England, Brady was accustomed to the only-takes-a-glance chemistry with Julian Edelman, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Randy Moss, etc. The then 42-year-old quarterback had little interest in breaking a new wide receiver who had missed so much of the season.
Newton’s NFL experience has been drastically different.
“Being in Carolina has had an N’Keal in my life for as long as my career existed,” Newton said.
He then rattled off Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess, Curtis Samuel, DJ Moore and Christian McCaffrey, all Top 40 drafts that Newton was tasked with herding into the Carolina offense.
“It’s nothing new to get on a team and you have a young talent on the receiver,” Newton said. “You try to turn him into the best player he can possibly be. I know N’Keal buys in, not only for my theory and methods, but also for the team’s. Such pieces will happen. We just hope this is the only time it will happen. ”
It’s a completely different approach to Harry. After an overwhelming rookie season, it might also yield greatly different results.
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