Josh McDaniels: ‘No shortcut’ for N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers


One of the real lowlights of Sunday night’s loss in Houston was Tom Brady’s first-quarter interception.

The Bradley Roby pick came when Brady targeted first-round rookie receiver N’Keal Harry on a slant route. The young target did not execute the route well, failed to fight for the football and was a big part of the reason that the Texans had a short field to work with on the way to a touchdown.

Harry was not targeted by Brady for the rest of the night and saw limited reps at receiver.

The play was just the latest, most glaring example of the struggle for Brady and his young receivers – Harry and undrafted rookie Jakobi Meyers – to get on the same page and find some consistent efficiency in the passing game. The duo has caught just eight of 21 passes thrown their way over the last two games.

During his Tuesday morning conference call with the local media, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels talked about the work-in-progress relationship between Brady and his young receivers.

“I don’t think there is any shortcut to being on the same page in terms of anticipating what the other person is thinking, seeing and feeling,” McDaniels said. “A lot is made of somebody thinking one thing and somebody else thinking something else. I think there are a lot of factors in the passing game that would determine what being on the same page really means. But practice repetition, there is no shortcut to it. Every rep we take in practice, every pass we throw, every side session that we’re able to take part in, every conversation, every one-on-one drill that we do in practice, every film session that we’re in, it just continues to try to build off of the last one.”

Though New England has 12 games and four-plus months of practice under its belt, that doesn’t mean it’s realistic to think the relationship between Brady and his receivers has evolved to where it needs to be. That’s particularly true given that Harry missed half the year – and half the practice sessions – while on injured reserve.

“I think patience is something that, you know, I know everybody wants everything to be a finished product and we do too,” McDaniels said. “But at the same time you have to understand there’s going to be a process and we’re going to try to stick to it. We have to be committed to it. And we know that it’s productive when we stay the course and continue to coach the right things and fix the right things and the players go out and make corrections and they have success with it. And once they make corrections and have success with it, then they gain confidence in it and they start to trust each other more. And there is no shortcut to that.”

While there is still plenty of work to be done, the approach to that work has not been an issue for anyone involved.

“I think our guys are trying really hard. I have absolutely zero issue with our effort and the desire to do it right,” McDaniels said. “And I think that’s what everybody is working towards. I love the attitude that our guys take into each practice and each opportunity to get better. And each game is the same way. We go into the game, we do some things well, we do somethings we have to fix and try to learn from. And hopefully we can do those better the next week. That’s football. Football is an imperfect game. So hopefully we’re trying to make those corrections and make strides each week. I know our players are working their butt off to try to do that. And I know that the quarterbacks and the receivers, quarterbacks and the tight ends, quarterbacks and running backs, again there is a lot that goes into being productive in those areas, timing, anticipation, reading things the same way, adjusting if you need to. Like I said, a lot of things are improved through repetition and practice. If we can create good habits and have those experiences that we can build on then I think we’ll be better for it down the road. But everybody’s’ looking for the same things, everybody wants the same goal at the end of the day is for us to be the most productive we can be and the most efficient we can be in the passing game.”