With N'Keal Harry missing his second-straight practice and reports that Julian Edelman underwent surgery and is expected to be miss at least this weekend's game against the Bills, Jakobi Meyers suddenly finds himself a focal point for the Patriots passing offense.
"I'm not exactly sure what's going on with everybody but I do pray for their safety and I hope they are going to bounce back soon because we miss them already," said Meyers of the mounting injuries, before adding, "I'm definitely excited for this opportunity and I'm going to do my best to go out there and put my best foot forward and continue to try to play the way I know I can play.
"I'm not exactly where I want to be but I feel like I'm taking a couple good steps forward from last year to this year, being able to learn all the different positions."
After catching 26 passes as a rookie, Meyers was thrust into action against the 49ers, playing close to 80 percent of the snaps and coming up with four catches on six targets for 60 yards. With an expanded role comes expanded duties on early downs as a run blocker, something that was entirely foreign to the former quarterback.
"That's probably one of the hardest things from the day I switched from quarterback to receiver," said Meyers. "I never blocked a day in my life before I got to that point. It definitely has been a lot of ups and downs but I feel like it's something I can keep working on every day."
If the Patriots passing offense is to get on track against the Bills, Meyers will have to join with Damiere Byrd and Gunner Olszewski in finding some magic with Cam Newton.
Meyers actually had a history with Newton that goes back to his high school days.
"When I was younger in high school I made his seven-on-seven team, it was an All-Star team and we traveled to Florida to play in a league," said Meyers, pointing out Newton had gone from being his coach to being his QB. "We ended up losing but it was still a good experience to meet Cam. That was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me."
The Patriots are in for a challenge from both the Bills and the elements on Sunday and for Meyers, this is the biggest opportunity of his young career.
"Every level of my career, it's been the same story," said Meyers. "I never started out on top, I wasn't a five star, I didn't go to high school as a football player. It was just a lot of adversity I had to work through that taught me a lot of things on the way up. Like I said, I was always pretty confident. I knew what I could do, I just had to be patient for my opportunity. If I sat there and got down about it or cried about it I wouldn't be ready for when that chance came."
It was another rainy fall day on the upper fields as the Patriots put on full pads. With rain in the forecast for Sunday in Buffalo, it was a good day to test the team's focus on ball security in wet conditions. Julian Edelman's absence was the headliner, with reports coming out later that he had had a procedure on a knee that has bothered him for the entire season.
Edelman joined N'Keal Harry and Carl Davis as those missing from practice, while practice squadder Rashod Berry returned after missing Wednesday.
In all, the Patriots are hurting at wide receiver, down two of their top three. However, the defense looks like it could get a boost sooner than later when Beau Allen and Josh Uche enter the mix. Stephon Gilmore was a new addition
Webex Quotes of Note
Jason McCourty on the team's focus:
"I think for us as a team, it's just a matter of putting the work in and continuing to work our butts off to improve and then when it comes to Sunday, we have to go out there and we have to execute. We have to play better, so my trust and the way I feel hasn't changed at all, but the truth of the matter is we have to go out there and play better."
Dalton Keene on getting in his first game:
"It was awesome. Honestly, my dream come true being able to play for a team like this and I had a lot of really good guys to learn from the first couple weeks when I was inactive. It was a great learning experience, seeing Devin and Izzo and Jak and those guys out on the field, they really helped me grow as a player in the last couple weeks. I feel like they are a big part of what happened and opened up that opportunity for me."
Cam Newton on Julian Edelman:
"His presence was missed today. What he brings to this team, he's more than just an unsung hero. He is everything the Patriots represent. Heart. Tough. Resilient. Gritty. That's Julian Edelman."