Patriots wide receiver N’Keal Harry expressed an appreciation for Cam Newton’s support following his fumble in New England’s season-opening win over the Dolphins.
“He just really makes it a point of emphasis just to help me out and just try to walk me through things and guide me through things,” Harry said Friday. “It’s been a big help up to this point.”
Earlier this week, Newton publicly defended Harry, who lost the ball on the 1-yard line while reaching for the end zone in the third quarter. Because Harry fumbled the ball through the end zone, the Dolphins were awarded a touchback and took possession.
Newton said he spoke with Harry, who is nine years his junior, about the play, stressing it was just “one mistake” that overshadowed his five-catch performance.
“It’s a lesson learned,” Harry said. “I’m glad I learned it early in the season.”
The relationship between Newton and Harry seems to be off to a promising start. As a 10-year veteran, Newton credited his previous experiences working with young receivers and high draft picks in Carolina, such as Curtis Samuel and D.J. Moore. As he put it, he’s invested in “a N’Keal” each season of his NFL career.
Harry can definitely tell.
“Just by the way he embraces me,” he said. “The way he takes me under his wing and just kind of guides me through everything.”
Doing his share
Running back Sony Michel said he was not surprised by how quickly he returned to the field after starting the season on the physically unable to perform list.
“I knew that, eventually, I’d be ready,” Michel said.
In the season opener, Newton was the team’s leading rusher with 75 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. But Michel doesn’t seem fazed by how a mobile quarterback may impact his role. Nor did he seem bothered by the competition within the running backs room.
Michel, James White, and Rex Burkhead each were on the field for 19 of the team’s offensive snaps, while undrafted rookie J.J. Taylor was on the field for nine. Among the backs, Michel received the most number of carries, posting 37 yards on 10 rushes.
“There’s a lot of competition,” Michel said. “Seeing those guys doing a great job, it pushes me to want to go out there and do a good job also.”
As for what Michel is hoping to improve in Week 2? He didn’t get into specifics.
“It’s really all about improving as a team,” he said. “Seeing how I can become a better football player, a good teammate, and do my job better. I think that’s the main focus and I think that’s the only way I can help this team win football games.”
Playing by the rules
The Patriots left for Seattle, their first road trip of the season, following practice Friday afternoon.
Once they arrive, players will have to follow a series of new rules. No trips to restaurants. No room visits by anyone outside of the team’s traveling party. And no use of the hotel’s shared facilities, such as the pool or gym.
Devin McCourty said it’s still important to leave the hotel room — while wearing a mask.
“Just walking around a hotel and being outside for a little while will help,” McCourty said. “I think the good thing is everybody has a good attitude towards it.
"We know these are things that — call it annoying or whatever — but we know it’s for the best for the team and it’s the best for our health in order to continue to have games.”
Uche out for Sunday
Rookie linebacker Josh Uche has been ruled out for Sunday night’s game with an ankle injury.
Uche was a limited participant in practice Friday, after not practicing Thursday. He was one of the team’s inactives last Sunday against the Dolphins.
Six other Patriots are listed as questionable: defensive lineman Adam Butler (shoulder), linebacker Brandon Copeland (knee), receiver Julian Edelman (knee), Harry (shoulder), tight end Dalton Keene (neck), and special teamer Matthew Slater (knee). Slater was the only new addition to Friday’s report.
Nicole Yang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.