With the wide receiver corps in flux the past two weeks, rookie Jakobi Meyers had made the most of his newfound opportunities.
“Jakobi deserves the credit for that,’’ offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said on a conference call Tuesday morning. “When you get your chances, you’ve got to come through and do your job as well as you can do it and hopefully be productive. Jakobi’s been able to do that.’’
After tallying four receptions in his first four games as a Patriot, Meyers surpassed that total in Week 7 alone. Against the Jets Monday, he hauled in five catches on five targets for 47 yards. Against the Giants the week prior, he notched five catches on five targets for 54 yards. His nine targets over the past two games are behind only running back James White and veteran Julian Edelman.
Coach Bill Belichick acknowledged Meyers’s performance is partly a function of his matchups, but sounded pleased about the continued development.
“When he’s on the field, I don’t think he’s the player that other teams are saying, ‘We’ve got to double-cover this guy,’’’ Belichick said Tuesday. “But he’s done a good job of taking advantage of his opportunities. He’s caught the ball well, he’s shown quickness to separate and get open.’’
Meyers flashed his potential during preseason, when he logged a team-high 20 receptions on 28 targets for 253 yards and two touchdowns. The only player on the roster to eclipse 100 receiving yards, he also led the team in yards after the catch with 77.
The 22-year-old undrafted Georgia native has received an uptick in snap counts as a result of nagging injuries to Josh Gordon (knee) and Phillip Dorsett (hamstring). Edelman also has been limited since Week 3 with a chest injury.
With the return of Dorsett in Week 6 and the addition of wideout Mohamed Sanu, Meyers’s role could decrease. Quarterback Tom Brady said Monday he’ll keep throwing it to Meyers, as long as he’s open, but Meyers knows the pair have a long way to go in terms of building a connection.
“I’m not there yet, but it’s definitely improving every day,’’ he said.
Added Belichick: “He still has a lot of things to work on, a lot of things he can improve in, and we’ll see where all that goes, but it’s certainly encouraging to see the consistent progress that he’s made over the course of these weeks.’’
Roberts for the block
Linebacker Elandon Roberts was on the field for three offensive snaps Monday night, paving the way for Sony Michel to reach the end zone in the fourth quarter.
With both fullbacks James Develin and Jakob Johnson on injured reserve, Roberts was one of four players filling the blocking void. Roberts said he practiced at the position throughout the week, noting he also got some reps as a rookie but never in a game.
“Whatever they ask me to do, I’m going to do it,’’ Roberts said.
McDaniels called the 6-foot-1-inch, 238-pound captain “one of the toughest guys’’ on the team, making him a natural fit for the job. Having witnessed some of the “legendary battles’’ between Roberts and Develin in practice, McDaniels figured why not put Roberts on the other side of the line of scrimmage?
“He’s kind of built low to the ground,’’ McDaniels said. “He’s kind of got that natural leverage that you need, either as a guy that takes on blocks or a guy that makes blocks.’’
Roberts expressed a similar sentiment.
“Me on the defensive side, fullbacks are just kind of in my way, so I’m going to go through you,’’ he said. “When I’m at fullback, I’m still going to go through you. However you want to have it.’’
Early to rise
Despite the late Monday night finish, McDaniels said he was up at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday talking about the Browns, New England’s next opponent.
“You’re kind of a day behind — not that we haven’t worked ahead on Cleveland, which we have, but you’ve got to come in on Tuesday ready to go,’’ McDaniels said. “You don’t get a whole lot of sleep after a Monday night game.’’