Asked Tuesday if the Patriots should make a trade for a wide receiver, quarterback Cam Newton provided a strong message in support of the group he’s working with, saying “the answers are in that locker room.”
Meaning, he was fine with Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Damiere Byrd, and Jakobi Meyers, who were on the receiving end of his 397-yard throwing performance in Sunday night’s loss to the Seahawks.
Even if Newton was being politically correct, what did that kind of support mean to the group?
Harry, who Newton went to repeatedly with the game on the line, was clearly touched.
“You know, it’s good to have trust from our quarterback. At the end of the day, as receivers, we just want to make him as comfortable as possible,” Harry said during a video conference call Tuesday, “and when he drops back he has faith in every single one of us that he can trust us to come down with the ball. It’s really encouraging.”
Byrd also welcomed Newton’s message, which was delivered during the quarterback’s weekly appearance on WEEI.
“I think it brings everybody together,” said Byrd. “I think all of the time we spent this offseason, training camp, we have a lot of confidence in the guys that we have. And we’re going to do whatever we can through the season to continue to get better and make this team better.”
Harry had his best outing as a pro, catching 8 passes for 72 yards, including three on the final drive. Byrd pulled in 6 passes for 72 yards. Julian Edelman, meanwhile, led the receiver group with 8 catches for 179 yards.
Harry said the collective performance of the group gives them an idea of just how good they can be.
“It was very encouraging. Of course, we still have a lot of things to work on and a lot of things to clean up,” said Harry, “but I think going into practice last week we weren’t satisfied at all. We know as a group how good we can be. It’s just about unlocking that potential. I think last week we started to head in that direction and it’s on us as an offense to continue that trend week by week.”
Harry was asked a few times, and few different ways how it was different working with Newton, as opposed to Tom Brady. Harry didn’t necessarily bite on the question, saying it was hard to compare since it was two different situations.
He was coming in as a rookie last year, and was hampered by an injury that put him on injured reserve to start.
“I think when it comes to wanting me to succeed, and in that regard, I think Tom wanted me to succeed just as much,” said Harry. “But like I said, it’s just hard trying to compare. I just feel as a rookie, it was just a lot harder for me to try to grasp the offense, missing half of the season, and then just getting thrown in there like that. So like I said, it really is hard to compare. But it is helpful having Cam guiding me along everything that’s going on.”
The receivers love Newton’s energy.
“His confidence is just contagious. I think the energy that he brings always uplifts everyone,” said Byrd. “I think naturally anybody if you’re having an off day or a hard day if you surround yourself with people who are positive and upbeat, then your mood will change and I think that’s just exactly what he does every day, day in and day out whether it’s a game day or practice, and that’s what really kind of draws people together and want to succeed and also want to see him succeed.”
Harry got a boost when Newton trusted him down the stretch. He’s worked hard to gain Newton’s trust.
“It means a lot. To me, it means that he trusts me in the critical situation,” said Harry. “That’s all I can ask for as a receiver. It’s my job to help him gain confidence, not only throughout the game, but throughout the season. I take a lot of pride in that.”
Diggs reaches out
Harry indicated that Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs, who was ejected for the helmet-to-helmet hit he laid on the Patriots receiver in the first quarter, had communicated with him.
“Yeah, he reached out and he made it clear that he was not trying to hurt me and it was not intentional,” said Harry. “When it happened, I didn’t think it was intentional either. I know that when you’re out on the field, stuff happens super, super quickly. So I never felt like it was intentional. I think it was just one of those football plays. So I had already kind of figured that he wasn’t trying to do that. Him reaching out definitely meant a lot in the same regard.”
Waller a matchup nightmare
One player the Patriots will be wary of when the 2-0 Las Vegas Raiders come to town is tight end Darren Waller, who caught 12 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown in the Raiders Monday night upset of the Saints.
Bill Belichick has been impressed with the 6-foot-6, 255-pound tight end, who lines up everywhere, and is a matchup nightmare for defenses.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a guy like this. He’s got receiver skills ... he’s got a lot of length like a big receiver does, but he’s got very good quickness,” said Belichick. “He’s a very versatile player, a pretty unique guy in the league. There’s some other good tight ends, but nobody really does more than this guy does, and he does it very well. He’s got excellent hands, makes a lot of tough catches. He’s definitely a matchup problem.”
Vote of confidence for Folk
Even though Nick Folk missed two field goals (45 & 51 yards) in the first two games, special teams coach Cam Achord didn’t seem too concerned with his veteran kicker.
“We’re confident putting him out there,” said Achord. “We’re confident in his abilities right now.”