Patriots training camp observations, Day 10: N’Keal Harry continues to impress


After N’Keal Harry’s agent inexplicably went public with a trade request for his former first-round pick client this summer, there was probably some question as to whether the third-year receiver would even make it to training camp in New England.

But just weeks later, Harry is indeed in Patriots training camp and is arguably in the midst of his most productive work in Foxborough.

Sunday afternoon on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium, Harry put together another impressive workout in the full-pads, relatively physical session.

The highlight of the day for Harry was a diving touchdown catch on a deep ball down the left side from Cam Newton, beating Joejuan Williams for the score in a one-on-one battle. The play drew a loud ovation from the crowd in attendance and continued what has now been a string of practices in which Harry has been healthy and been productive.

“Any ball that’s in my vicinity, I feel like I have to do anything in my power to get it,” Harry told the media after the team’s third full-pads practice of the summer. “So balls like that, I’m going to dive for it, and I’m going to give my all to get there. I’ll do anything to catch that ball.”

Harry has caught the ball well at all three levels of the defense in recent practices, and against a variety of defensive backs. With veteran Nelson Agholor out of action on Sunday, Harry even took a few more high level reps than has been the case previously.

And nearly all the reps he’s had of late have been productive. He’s stacking good days together, as Bill Belichick likes to put it.

“That’s been my main focus this whole training camp, this whole offseason, I just had a vision the whole time, and now I’m starting to attack that vision every day,” Harry declared.

Even if it’s not necessarily the vision his agent had when he requested a trade or the vision of what many outsiders might have predicted.

Beyond Harry’s ongoing playmaking, here are one man’s observations from the media tent on the grassy hill at the end of the Patriots training camp practice fields:

--Those players not on the field for/taking part in the practice included Jarrett Stidham, Nick Folk, Agholor, Stephon Gilmore, Brandon Bolden, Adrian Colbert, D’Angelo Ross, Chase Winovich, Akeem Spence, Cameron McGrone, Terez Hall, Joshuah Bledsoe and Byron Cowart.

--Kyle Van Noy wore a regular blue No. 53 jersey, dropping the red, non-contact jersey he wore for the first nine sessions of camp.

--Stidham actually made his first appearance on the practice field, though it was in street clothes. The third-year backup quarterback reportedly had back surgery. He walked onto the field wearing a mask and then spent the time following the quarterbacks around during the two-plus-hour workout.

--Ted Karras was back on the field in full pads and taking his usual rotational reps on the interior offensive line after missing multiple workouts with an apparent left leg/knee injury.

--Tight end Hunter Henry and long snapper Joe Cardona both left the workout early and retreated to Gillette Stadium. Henry left after spending some time in the training area in the storage shed at the far end of the practice field.

--David Andrews did not take reps late in the practice after seemingly experiencing some discomfort in his right hand.

--Offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins left practice early with a staffer, going down the step into Gillette.

--Spence was actually on the field before any other Patriots in full pads doing some work on the far end of the field with a heavy back and sled. He then retreated to lower rehab field with other absentee players prior to the start of the practice.

--Jalen Mills was the first player on the field for the workout. He did various individual drills on the far end of the field prior to practice. Mills continues to get a lot of reps in the back end opposite J.C.
Jackson in the position usually held by Gilmore. He has struggled at times and doesn’t look overly fluid, fast or comfortable in the spot on the outside.

--As has been the case all summer, both Newton and Mac Jones drew a loud cheer from the crowd when they arrived on the field.

--Newton was his usual dancing, upbeat self during pre-practice stretching.

--Working smarter rather than harder in the warm, stagnant air, a member of the equipment staff used a golf cart to push a two-man sled off the practice field.

--Fullback Jakob Johnson spent an extended period by himself at the far end of the field “blocking” and exploding through a one-man sled. It was during a portion when the tight ends and running backs were working with the quarterbacks.

--There were three kids in the friends-and-family tent area wearing blue No. 22 Patriots jerseys that said “Daddy” across the back.
Going out on a limb, they were likely Cody Davis’ boys.

--Harry had another nice catch down the field dropped into his waiting hands by Jones, beating Kyle Dugger in coverage.

--Newton had a nice-back-shoulder throw to Jonnu Smith on which the tight end showed nice body control to spin and make the catch.

--Before he left, Henry had an ugly drop on a short out in 7 on 7 work after which the tight end remained face down on the ground for a few moments in apparent disgust.

--Not only has Harry been active on offense, but he’s been doing his part in special teams in practice. He got some work last week on kickoff return and has been a scout team contributor on both kickoff and, today, punt return.

--The entire punt team had to take a penalty lap, including coaches, after a segment of practice focused on plus-50 punting.

--Not long after, during an 11-on-11 rep in the red zone, the entire offense had to take a lap.

--Both quarterbacks had an up-and-down day, which has been relatively normal this summer. Newton threw an interception to Devin McCourty when he tried to force a throw into coverage in 7-on-7 work. A few plays later in the same drill, Jones threw an interception to Michael Jackson in coverage of Marvin Hall. Both QBs would likely want to have those particular throws back. Both quarterbacks also made a number of good throws, though Jones may have had the slight edge on the day.

--With the pads on and a focus at points on the run game, there was some pretty good popping of pads during the more physical portions of the practice.

--With Andrews on the sideline, both Marcus Martin and James Ferentz got reps at center between Mike Onwenu and Shaq Mason late in practice.

--Ja’Whuan Bentley continues to have a very strong camp. He had a couple interceptions earlier in camp. He was a force in the backfield against the run in some goal line work on Sunday. He also looks slimmer and more athletic, although that could be in part due to his switch to No. 8.

--With Cardona out of the mix, a couple backup snappers got to show their stuff. Jonnu Smith handled the duties for the punt team, only having one ugly one-hopper among a handful of snaps to Jake Bailey. Deatrich Wise handled the field goal snaps, again doing so with only one really bad snap in a bunch of attempts. Neither looked like Cardona, but they got the job done at the very least.

--As practice closed out with field goal, Wise was snapping to backup holder Gunner Olszewski with Bailey handling the kicking. It appeared to be a drill to allow the rush to block the kick, which Bentley did impressively on the first couple reps.

--As he’s done most days in camp, McCourty vociferously broke down the entire defense after practice, separate from the Belichick-led team breakdown.

--All the QBs stayed out late after practicing working with pass catchers, including Smith and James White.

--Wise was once again one of the last players on the field. The veteran has been one of the hardest working players in terms of extra time spent on the field this summer. Bill Murray did some extra work with Wise.

--Those players meeting with the media after practice included Harry, Matthew Slater, Henry Anderson, Justin Bethel and Harvey Langi.

Featured Image Photo Credit: New England Patriots