Julian Edelman provides tough love, Jedi master wisdom for young Patriots receivers

Phil Perry
NBC Sports Boston

FOXBORO - Julian Edelman . . . Jedi master?

Ask him about what he's been teaching young receivers N'Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers, and you may get the kind of elusive response you'd expect from someone who lives in the forest, wears a raggedy tunic, and wields a lightsaber. 

"I mean, I don't think Yoda would go out there and tell his secrets of how he trains Jedis," Edelman replied Friday. "I'm not saying anything."

Whatever Edelman said to his rookie teammates Sunday seemed to work. Harry caught his first touchdown pass in his second regular-season game as a pro, and Meyers chipped in with a couple of third-down conversations on his way to a four-catch, 74-yard performance.

Turns out, what Edelman said to Harry and Meyers last week was something along the lines of, "Do or do not. There is no try." 

Before taking on the Cowboys, knowing both first-year players were about to see a lot of playing time, Edelman told them, essentially, this was their chance. This is the future. The future is either going to be bright... or not.

"That's basically what he was saying right there," Meyers said. "It was kind of a, 'It's your time to show people what the future is going to look like.' It was real, honestly. It was just a real moment. You really had to think about it. 

"This is where it starts for us because we haven't really played like that. That was our chance to show people what we can actually do, if they should look forward to it, or if if they should have doubts about us. The rest fell into line."

Meyers, Harry and Gunner Olszewski (until he was placed on injured reserve) have been working overtime to make sure they're where they need to be when Tom Brady expects them to be there. In practice they take the reps they can get, and absorb lessons from position coach Joe Judge and assistant Troy Brown. They work in the team's "virtual room" to get down formations and routes at a walkthrough pace. 

Still, there were moments for Harry against Dallas when he wasn't sure of the play-call and needed some assistance from his quarterback. But his and Meyers' performances gave them something off which to build.

"They're doing a good job, man," Edelman said. "They're young. They're going out and they're playing in ball games, making plays. I just kind of convey that you gotta continue to do that every week, every day, in practice. When you're consistent in practice, that practice execution gives you the best chance to go out and execute on game days. I'm excited for them and the opportunity they're getting and that they've earned. It's up to them to see where they go. I got a lot of confidence in them. They work hard. And we need 'em."

The Patriots might need Harry and Meyers again on Sunday night in Houston. Though Phillip Dorsett (concussion) and Mohamed Sanu (ankle) - both of whom missed the Cowboys game - look like they could be available against the Texans, the rookies could be more a regular part of the rotation at that position. 

Whatever their snap counts Sunday, they'll continue to learn from Edelman, who Meyers called "a grinder," and "definitely someone that I can look up to." They just know his teachings will be delivered with some tough love from time to time. 

"Definitely," Meyers said. "It's never, 'You can do this, you can do that.' It's, 'You need to get on our level or don't.' Sometimes you need that. He's definitely more eccentric than, I would say, a lot of people."

Maybe a little like Yoda?

"I think it's a good comparison," Meyers said. "He's got his ways. He might not explain it to you, but it's going to make sense at the end of the day."

But, when pressed, Edelman quickly pulled back on likening himself to that particular green humanoid alien.

"No. Just watched Star Wars a couple times," he said. "Literally last night. It's all in my head. But the Houston Texans are taking over my head."

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Julian Edelman provides tough love, Jedi master wisdom for young Patriots receivers originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

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