Why You Should Be Joining the N’Keal Harry Fan Club When Everyone is Jumping Off (Part Two)*
(*If you missed Pt. 1 of the N’Keal Harry Fan Club Experience, Click Here*)
Being one of the few remaining members of the N’Keal Harry fan club is not fun. There are plenty of downs and fewer ups. But the hardest core, most ride-or-die people in the N’Keal Harry Fan Club appear to be the New England Patriot coaches. So this rollercoaster ride continued, with the Week 13 slobber knocker against the Bills for AFC East supremacy serving as the ultimate litmus test for membership. Considering the stakes of this game, there was no way this “bust” would see the field, right?
Well, Harry was on the field for the first snap. A run. And the second. A run. This was not unusual. In fact, for those that paid attention this year, N’Keal Harry just being on the field was actually a type of tell; if Harry was on the field, it was more than likely the Patriots would call a run play. With 5:18 left on the first-quarter clock, Harry showed why he is on the field for run plays.
And again for the two-point conversion.
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All of a sudden, everyone started sending in applications to the N’Keal Harry Fan Club. But since this is the N’Keal Harry Experience, nothing ever comes easy… And almost everybody jumped shipped a couple of minutes later…
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You can understand why; even if you didn’t think of Harry as a “bust,” giving Patriots fans flashbacks of Harper’s Muff is a surefire way to get run out of town. But a strange thing happened; when Patriots fans looked into Bill Belichick’s notorious Dog House for Players Who Commit Turnovers, Harry was nowhere to be found. Instead, Harry was on the field. And even on kickoffs.
So why? What happened? How and why are the Patriots coaches not treating N’Keal Harry like the bust he is? He even lost Jerry Thornton!
I would release Harry now
— Jerry Thornton (@jerrythornton1) December 7, 2021
But what good-hearted (but irrational) people like Jerry Thornton are overlooking is the thing Belichick never overlooks; does this player give the Patriots a better chance to win? Despite what many Patriots fans think, Bill Belichick has declared about as dramatically as possible, “N’Keal Harry gives the Patriots a better chance to win.” Or to put it another way that is more Patriots-like, Belichick trusts Harry to do his job. After years of nobody trusting Harry to do pretty much anything, Belichick trusts Harry to do almost everything. That includes catching punts in the worst receiving conditions for any NFL player this season.
The N’Keal Harry Fan Club Has One Very Important Member
Regardless of whether or not you think Belichick’s decision to stick Harry back on that particular punt was smart or dumb, the real story is that Harry was back there at all. Belichick put him in there for a reason. So what was the reason? Because he wanted to go for the jugular early against the Bills.
Belichick wanted a touchdown on that punt and he trusted Harry with the assignment (and also an extra returner on a windy night). Look at the blocking for that punt return. It is perfect. Hat-on-hat with even the two free runners needing to defeat blocks. Although most Patriots fans have forgotten, Harry was also excellent on special teams at Arizona State. So Belichick rolled the dice and decided to give Harry an opportunity. Even when he failed (spectacularly), Belichick sent him back out for kickoff return.
So there is good news for the N’Keal Harry Fan Club; if you want to see more of Harry, you are probably going to get your chance. Extrapolating from the Bills game a bit, do not be surprised if Harry shows up more on both kickoff return and still punt return. But the best news is what we learned last night; the Patriots play Harry when they want to run.
Bad News for Harry Haters… and NFL Run Defenses
That is the awful news for those that want to see the N’Keal Harry Fan Club disappear; the Patriots want Harry on the field when they run. Unfortunately for his detractors, Harry is the best blocking wide receiver on the roster. And unfortunately for the rest of the NFL, the Patriots’ offense is predicated on the run. So prepare to see more of N’Keal Harry on the field.
And don’t sleep on Harry in the passing game. You saw those TOUGH catches in Part One. If you think Patriots coaches did not notice them or forgot about them, then you know nothing of Patriots coaches. Mac Jones is also risk-averse when passing the ball so Harry is not naturally his favorite receiver. However, there is a very good chance this is Josh McDaniels’ version of the Guy in the White Suit; just when you turn your head, he will do something spectacular.
Maybe that is all conjecture. Maybe this is all wishful thinking. But the Patriots are 8-of-10 for 117 yards when targeting Harry. And everybody hates to remember it, but he is a beast so long as you get him the ball! So ask yourself this question Patriots fans; the Pats are 9-4 and the No. 1 Seed in the AFC… So why is a “bust” on the field for 38% of plays… for this team? Because he does his job, and, most importantly, Belichick knows it… whether or not Patriots fans want to acknowledge it. So jump on the N’Keal Harry bandwagon for now… because you never know when it will crash.