There’s growing confidence in the Patriots’ WR room

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There has been plenty of frustration surrounding Mac Jones and the Patriots “new offense” through a week of training camp.

There’s also been plenty of ongoing questions about the New England wide receiver depth chart, one that added veteran trade addition DeVante Parker and speedy second-round pick Tyquan Thornton this offseason but still lacks a proven go-to, No. 1 option.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t some optimism at the position, led by the attitude of the longest-tenured Patriots player at the position: fourth-year leading returning receiver Jakobi Meyers.

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“We have a great group of guys honestly who just all really are for each other,” said Meyers, who’s playing out the 2022 season on a $3.98 million restricted free agent tender after leading New England with 83 catches for 866 yards last season. “We all like seeing other guys make plays.
And we have a lot of guys who can make plays, so it’s a lot of excitement in the room right now.”

Meyers has looked like his solid self this summer. Parker has flashed contested-catch and playmaking ability that made him a 1,200 receiver for the Dolphins in 2019. Kendrick Bourne continues to bring energy to the practice environment. And despite his disappointing first season in Foxborough a year ago, Nelson Agholor has arguably been the best receiver on the practice field through a little over of a week of training camp action.

“He's come out here. He's made plays consistently, made plays obviously down the field which is very important but also in other areas, very few mental errors, very few mistakes. So he's looked good,” Bill Belichick said of New England’s highest-paid receiver.

Even in the midst of an offense that’s been scuffling a bit and working out the kinks, each guy has found times to show his stuff and that, according to Meyers anyway, is what the group is all about.

“We were talking about it the other day, it’s a lot of guys who can make a lot of plays,” Meyers said. “It’s not one guy in the room where I could point to you like, ‘Well he might not make it.’ Honestly. That says a lot about the guys. They can all do different things but they all do them very well. Like I said earlier, I’m really excited about this group.

“I feel like we have a lot of chances to make plays on the outside. I’m really excited because we have some freakish athletic dudes in the room now. Fast, can jump, can move side to side. So feel like it opens up a lot for us as far as just getting behind linebackers and getting to the third level of the defense.”

That said, Meyers understands the frustration that Jones has shown at times on the practice field for an offense that the receiver described as “growing.”

“I understand where he’s coming from,” Meyers said. “We’re all competitors first and foremost. Even if we had a 10-for-11 day, we’re going to be pissed about that one. So I understand why he kind, why he wants…he’s a perfectionist. He wants to be great at everything he does. I like it. I love it, honestly. It’s going to make us winners and I’m just trying to follow him.”

Part of Meyers’ confidence in what the receivers can do obviously stems from a confidence in Jones, both as a leader and an on-field playmaker. As such he would never try to rein in his quarterback’s expectations.

“I don’t know if you can be too much of a perfectionist.
He’s hungry. That’s a hard thing to stop somebody from being. When you want to be great, you want to be great. And he definitely wants it,” Meyers said.

And the still-young veteran receiver and leader of the receiver group thinks he and his position mates can help Jones get to where he wants to go.

“I’m excited to try to go out there and make plays and just do the best I can for Mac,” Meyers concluded, clearly expecting his fellow wide receivers to do the same this coming season. “Coming off of last year, it was just kind like, ‘Man, that wasn’t the year that we wanted.’ So we all kind of got together just as receivers and were like, ‘Whatever they put on our plate, we’re going to all do it together.’ We knew last year we just weren’t our best selves and we wanted to come out this year and just really show guys what we can do in that room.”

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