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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Thu May 23 - 02:00 PM | Tue May 28 - 11:55 AM

Unfiltered Notebook 9/22: Young receivers gaining confidence

The Patriots passing game found life against Seattle with two unexpected contributors.


Perhaps the most exciting development of the Patriots loss to the Seahawks was the development of receivers Damiere Byrd and N'Keal Harry. Byrd grabbed six catches for 72 yards while Harry produced a career-high eight catches for 72 yards.

After a week of limited overall production for the Patriots air attack against Miami, Byrd and Harry helped lead a resurgence in Seattle and it bodes well for the future of the offense.

"It was very encouraging," said Harry on Tuesday via WebEx. "Of course, we have a lot of things to work on and a lot of things to clean up, but I think going back to practice last week we weren't satisfied at all. We know as a group how good we can be and it's just about unlocking that potential. I think last week we're starting to head in that direction and it's on us as an offense to continue that trend week by week."

Byrd wasn't targeted in the opening win over the Dolphins, but saw nine of them against the Seahawks.

"Being a receiver, you don't know what the day is going to be like," said Byrd. "Sometimes you get zero targets, sometimes you get nine or 10 or somewhere in between. It's just how the game goes. You just lock in on the game plan, and try to do your assignment on every play whether it's a run or pass. It's always good to be involved in the game and help the team and put us in position to extend drives and keep plays going and try to get in the endzone."

Quarterback Cam Newton voiced his support of the receiver group when asked if the team needed to make a trade earlier in the day during his appearance on WEEI, saying everything the team needs is already in the receiver room. That kind of support goes a long way with Byrd, who said his experience with Newton in Carolina helped get them on the same page.

"His confidence is just contagious," said Byrd. "I think the energy he brings, always uplifting everyone. Naturally, if you're surrounded with people who are positive and upbeat then your mood will change. That's just exactly what he does, day in and day out, whether it's a game day or practice." 

Harry specifically had three targets on the final drive of the game, an unmistakable vote of confidence from the man throwing the ball.

"It means a lot to me," said Harry, who had 42 of the 79 yards on that drive. "It means that he trusts me in the critical situations. That's all I can ask for as a receiver and it's my job to help him gain confidence in me not only throughout the game but throughout the season. So I take a lot of pride in that."

If Newton continues to develop a rapport with Harry and Byrd, the Patriots offense is just scratching the surface of their potential.

Table inside Article
Stat Patriots (1-1) Raiders (2-0)
Overall DVOA 9th 20th
Offensive Points 15th (25.5) 4th (34.0)
Offensive Third Down 4th (54.6%) 2nd (57.1%)
Offensive DVOA 4th 10th
Offensive Pass DVOA 9th 7th
Offensive Rush DVOA 3rd 23rd
Offensive Red Zone 9th (66.7%) 7th (75%)
Turnover Ratio t-3rd (+2) t-5th (0)
Defensive Points 14th (23.0) 20th (27.0)
Defensive Third Down 8th (38.9%) 32nd (58.3%)
Defensive DVOA 19th 30th
Defensive Passing DVOA 21st 26th
Defensive Rush DVOA 20th 28th
Defensive Red Zone 24th (75%) 22nd (71.4%)
Special Teams DVOA 30th 14th

WebEx Quotes of Note

Josh McDaniels on the final play of the Seattle game:

"At the end of the day, my responsibility is to prepare our group to be able to execute and be successful in those types of situations and/or have a call that assist us in getting some success in those situations. That's my responsibility and I'm accountable for the fact that we didn't score there at the end. I need to do a better job help our guys finish in that situation.

Jason McCourty on a defensive back's mentality after giving up a big catch:

"I don't think there's a player in the league that looks at a play where they were on the worse end of it, where you just beat me and there's nothing I can do. I think as competitors and as professional athletes there's not a play, good or bad, that we don't look at and say 'if this comes back I'd like to do this, I'd like to have done that.' I got my head back, I need to keep my footing and then it gives me a chance to make a play on the ball."

Shilique Calhoun on getting his first sack:

"If you couldn't tell from my grin as soon as you said it... It was great honestly but I think most importantly it's a team effort on that play. It was more than just me being able to get back there, if you watch the film you'll see Chase, you'll see Derek, and you'll see Adam doing a heckuva job occupying the people that he needed to stay in front of to allow me to create and it gave me the space to get it. But it feels amazing to get out there and make plays."

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