FOXBOROUGH, Mass.: One of the issues Rob Gronkowskis absence within the Patriots offense final season highlighted was the inexperience of their receiving group.
A looming presence at 6-foot-6, Gronk was a menace to make massive performs at any time when he was on the sector and he in flip opened throwing lanes for his teammates.
But with out him the offense suffered as Tom Brady struggled to construct chemistry with rookie receivers NKeal Harry, Gunner Olszewski and Jakobi Meyers.
Bradys departure, a disjointed offseason and truncated coaching camp have created extra points for New Englands offense in 2020. But these are challenges the trio feels extra geared up to deal with in Year 2.
I feel I discovered similar to all people else did final yr, mentioned Olszewski, who transformed to receiver as a rookie after taking part in cornerback in faculty. Were all new receivers within the NFL. And that is our second yr as NFL receivers. I dont contemplate myself extra behind or forward of anyone. Ive been a receiver since Ive been right here, and thats the place I play.
As Brady labored to domesticate belief with the brand new faces on offense final season, veteran Julian Edelman did his greatest to choose up the slack, main the Patriots with 100 catches for 1,117 yards and 6 touchdowns.
But the remaining seven receivers on the roster mixed for under 117 catches and 10 touchdowns. Harry, the Patriots first-round choose in 2019, had two of these TDs however performed simply seven video games earlier than happening injured reserve for the rest of the season.
While it wasnt the rookie season he anticipated, Harry mentioned hes taken loads of classes from it.
I discovered that within the NFL, you need to show your self day in and time out, he mentioned. This is a league the place nothing is given to you. You earn all the things daily. Thats my method coming into this season and thats my method stepping on to the sector day by day.
One of the issues Harry targeted on through the day without work was his footwork, enlisting the assistance of coach Rischad Whitfield, often known as The Footwork King whereas figuring out this summer season in Houston. According to Next Gen Stats, Harry ranked final amongst Patriots receivers with a mean of two.2 separation yards.
Receiver Mohamed Sanu mentioned hes already seen enchancment from Harry.
I do know he works at it day by day. Hes attempting to get higher on the little particulars. Asks nice questions. As a second-year participant, thats what you wish to do, Sanu mentioned. I do know we wish to get higher and higher in any respect the little, minor particulars the intricacies within the offense. Its nice. All of the receivers not simply NKeal are working towards the identical objective: attempting to be constant day by day, snap after snap, play after play, assembly, walkthrough. I adore it.
Even with the pandemic impacting the offseason program, Meyers mentioned he, Harry and Olzewski all stayed in contact and had been the primary to boost their fingers when quarterbacks Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer reached out to arrange some casual throwing periods. They did the identical with Cam Newton after he signed.
Meyers mentioned he feels as if the bonds they started constructing final season and through these exercises this summer season will profit them going ahead.
I really feel like had been getting extra comfy with understanding what we’ve to convey to the workforce, Meyers mentioned. This is a enterprise. I really feel just like the extra had been round one another, the extra we get comfy with one another. Weve acquired to grasp it is a enterprise and at some point we could possibly be right here and at some point we couldnt be.
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