Joe Judge: N'Keal Harry very motivated, engaged mentally despite missed time


FOXBOROUGH -- There have been a lot of questions with Patriots rookie wide receiver N'Keal Harry this summer.

The first-round pick was injured in the joint practices against the Lions, but played in the first preseason game a few days later. While he played in the game, he suffered another injury while making his second of two contested catches that forced him from the game in the first quarter. 

Harry then didn't do much in the joint sessions in Tennessee the following week and flew back early before the game. He hasn't played in any of the two preseason games since the first and for the majority of the media portion of practices at Gillette Stadium hasn't been moving comfortably.

With that being said, wide receivers/special teams coach Joe Judge seemed pleased with what Harry has been doing.

“The focus with N’Keal is, he’s working with the trainers on everything they ask him too. He’s been doing everything in the classroom and progressing every day. He can only improve on what he can work on,” Judge said to reporters Monday. “And as far as my exposure with him, he’s coming to work with a clear head. He’s very motivated and he’s engaged mentally in everything we’re doing.”

On Tuesday, Harry seemed to be moving better than any other day since suffering the injury, which was obviously a good sign. Prior to that, even though he may not have been a full participant in practice, he was still doing everything he could not to fall behind.

“I think it’s just little things day to day sitting in the meeting rooms,” Judge said. “The insightful things he’s asking: Why did this guy make an adjustment here? Could he do the same thing in his role? He’s kind of trying to look deeply into the details and that’s been a positive. Again, there’s still a lot of big-picture things that all these rookies have to capture of our overall offense. But really, the difference between the young guys is the details and that’s what he’s been focused on.”

With that being said, Harry has missed significant time this summer, which certainly could impact his total production come the regular season.

“That’s just the nature of it. And that’s for everyone. Rookie, vet — it doesn’t matter. You miss out on this part of the season, it’s tough," Judge said. "There’s a natural setback. But you’ve got to mentally fight to stay engaged. You’ve got to get the mental reps, as we say. And physically when you get back, you’ve got to push as hard as you can to catch up.”

If healthy, Harry figures to play a signifcant role in the offense being behind Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon and possibly Phillip Dorsett and Demaryius Thomas on the depth chart.