Hunter Henry grabbed a touchdown in his fourth-straight game on Sunday against the Jets, as the free-agent tight end continues to show growing chemistry with rookie quarterback Mac Jones, especially in the red zone. For the season, Henry is second on the team with 24 catches through seven games, a pace that could put him around his career-best (60 catches) if he can keep it up.
"Hunter has been really good in a lot of ways," said head coach Bill Belichick on Monday this week." He's a smart player. He can do a lot of things. He's got a good, versatile skill set. I really thought one of his best plays he had yesterday was on the opening kickoff where the Jets tried to kick the ball opposite of the way we expected and what the wind would indicate, but it was a play designed to send the ball up into the sun and make it a tough catch and tough play there... It was a heads-up play by the kickoff return team in a lot of areas, but really Hunter made the key block on that and came the farthest to do it. It's little things like that that Hunter does that are really kind of, they're little things that become big things."
By focusing on the little things, Henry has emerged as a recent bright spot on offense and helped deliver a needed divisional win. Now, the tight end is hoping it's a springboard while knowing there's a lot of work still to be done.
"It's not going to be the same every week," said Henry. "We exploded last week, we executed at a high level against a good defense that throws different looks at you. We were really balanced, pass and run game that complimented each other. So we have to continue that and continue to get better at that. It's a big focus for us."
The Patriots offense has been making strides, currently coming in at number 15 in offensive DVOA and the balance (18th in passing, 14th in rushing), as Henry mentioned, is showing up. With so many new pieces, it's been a process that is just starting to bear fruit.
"We are continuing to come together as an offense," said Henry. "There's a lot of new guys on offense that have come into the system. We are enjoying going out and playing with each other. Coming together a lot closer and it was good to go out there and execute last Sunday, now we have to turn the page and do it again. We have a new challenge and expectation every week."
This week the new challenge will be Henry's former team, the Los Angeles Chargers, who, at 4-2, present a number of different problems. At least the trip will be a welcome escape from a spat of ugly northeast weather, as Henry was looking forward to seeing the So Cal sun, even leaving the possibility open that he too will join in on one of the Patriots' trick plays.
"Can't give away too much, said Henry with a grin. "I might have an arm, I might not."
Practice and Roster Report
Due to a major storm that his easter Massachusetts, the Patriots moved practice inside Empower Field House, welcoming their full 53-man roster as well as some new faces. This meant that Devin McCourty and Jonnu Smith were present after neither were able to finish Sunday's game against the Jets. Dont'a Hightower was also in attendance after missing last weekend's game.
A collection of reports indicated that the team is signing Calvin Munson to their roster from the Miami Dolphins practice squad, while also added two cornerbacks, Brian Poole and De'Vante Bausby, to their practice squad. After an unfortunate spate of injuries, these signings were necessary to round out depth, with Harvey Langi and Jonathan Jones both ending up on Injured Reserve.
Quotes of Note
Davon Godchaux on facing the LA Chargers:
"We know the Chargers are going to be ready to go. Herbert is playing well, they've got good skill players…coming off a bye week, they're going to be rested."
Lawrence Guy on the Chargers:
"They're a good team. Way different than last year. You see the momentum building. They're coming off a bye and had ample time to study us and see what we're going to do."