Reciever Kristian Wilkerson stunned just about everyone when he managed to put up a pair of touchdowns in the first half of the New England Patriots’ 50-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The performance stunned just about everyone — but not everyone.
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said he was “not surprising that (Wilkerson) went in there and knew what to do and did his job well and made some plays for us.”
Wilkerson finished the game with four catches on eight targets for 42 yards and two touchdowns. In the second half, he struggled a bit, with a drop and a handful of incomplete targets.
“He’ll be the first one to tell you there’s room for improvement,” McDaniels said Tuesday during a videoconference call.
But that first half was special — and perhaps a sign of things to come for the receiver who might have jumped past N’Keal Harry on the depth chart. Harry, a 2019 first-round pick, was a healthy scratch and watched while Wikerson, a 2020 undrafted free agent, received the most snaps among wideouts.
“Start with his attitude,” McDaniels said when asked what Wilkerson was doing behind the scenes to earn the promtion. “He was competitive all spring, all summer trying to make our team and our 53-man roster. Did some really good things in the offseason. He grew a lot, has continued to work his butt off and has a really positive attitude. He’ll do anything to help the team, gives the defense a great scout look every week.”
McDaniels added: “He’s ready to go and rotates in with us throughout the course of the year. He’s showed us he knows his material, and then he goes in and he capitalizes on it in practice. The best way to show any coach that you’re going to be ready for your opportunity in a game is to do it every day in practice.”
Wilkerson’s promotion was, in part, due to an injury to Nelson Agholor, who has missed two weeks with a concussion. It will be interesting to see if Wilkerson continues to see the field when Agholor returns.
Ranking Patriots’ potential wild-card opponents, from easiest to toughest