Patriots tight end Jonnu Smith isn’t shirking responsibility for his bobbled pass that turned into a pick-6 during Sunday’s loss to the Saints.
“Mac [Jones], he didn’t do anything wrong,” Smith said Monday. “It’s not on his end. I put that on myself. Every ball he threw to me yesterday was catchable, catches that I’ve made, that I know I can make. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t come up with them.”
Smith turned in a tough performance, catching just one of his six targets. His lone reception was a 4-yard swing pass on third and 11 in the third quarter, with the ball at New Orleans’ 12-yard line. The Patriots settled for a 26-yard field goal.
In addition to the pass that skipped off his fingertips and into the arms of Saints safety , Smith had two other drops.
Smith, who signed a four-year, $50 million contract this offseason, said he feels “absolutely” comfortable within New England’s offense.
“That’s the least of my worries is me being comfortable in the system,” he said. “I’m extremely comfortable in this system, comfortable with my role in the system.”
Smith did miss time during training camp with an ankle injury. In Week 2, he also popped up on the injury report (hip) and was limited in practice for two days, but he returned to full participation in Week 3.
Through three games, Smith has 10 catches on 16 targets for 74 yards.
He stressed the importance of a short-term memory and mental toughness.
“The great thing about it is I have another opportunity,” he said. “I didn’t put my best product and myself out there. I know that, the whole world knows that. But I know the player I am, I’m confident in the player I am, and I’m just looking forward to moving forward.”
Smith’s teammates also expressed their support.
“We all had a tough game,” said fellow tight end Hunter Henry. “It wasn’t just him. It was all of us. He doesn’t need to hang his head.”
Added wide receiver Jakobi Meyers: “I know he’ll bounce back. I know whatever happened won’t affect him going forward.”
Smith recognizes his showing left a lot to be desired.
“Just not performing well enough to put us in a position to win, that’s what eats me up the most as a competitor, as a teammate, someone that you count on and depend on,” he said. “It’s upsetting. But, man, I’m looking forward to next week, as we all are. We’re flipping a new page.”
Harry might be activated
Could wide receiver N’Keal Harry be activated for Week 4?
“It’s a possibility,” Belichick said. “It’s definitely a possibility. We’ll see where he is today, but he’s making progress. We’ll probably make that decision in the next 48 hours.”
Harry suffered an upper-body injury in New England’s second preseason game and has not practiced since. Once the team finalized its 53-man roster, he was placed on injured reserve.
This week marks the first week Harry is eligible to return. The Patriots also have Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, and Meyers at receiver.
Ignore the noise
With quarterback Tom Brady slated to return to Gillette Stadium Sunday, some of his former teammates expressed their excitement.
“It’s definitely super cool to have the opportunity to plan against Tom Brady,” said outside linebacker Chase Winovich. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about it.”
But captain Matthew Slater stressed the importance of keeping the focus on the team and its need for improvement, and a win.
“I think this week, the New England Patriots need to focus on the New England Patriots, and the things that we need to do to start playing better football, consistent football, competitive football,” Slater said. “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing this week, that would be the case. It just so happens we’re playing the guy who is one of the cornerstones of this place.
“So, it is what it is. I’m going to encourage the guys to ignore the noise, which we always say around here, but there’s certainly going to be a lot of noise this week.”
LB Bentley injured
Belichick confirmed that linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley missed the majority of the second half with an injury . . . Bucs wide receiver Scotty Miller has “pretty severe turf toe,” according to coach Bruce Arians. The team is also still evaluating starting cornerback Jamel Dean and running back Giovani Bernard, who both suffered injuries Sunday, and expects to have updates Wednesday.
Nicole Yang can be reached at email@example.com.