Hunter Henry may not be putting up Rob Gronkowski numbers, but the New England Patriots tight end is having his most enjoyable season in the NFL and is not regretting his decision to sign a free agent deal with the team prior to the season.
No shade to the Los Angeles Chargers, but Henry feels joining the Patriots has made him a better football player.
Furthermore, the veteran tight end is having the time of his life in Foxborough. Not only has he adapted to the Patriot Way, but he is also having fun playing for Bill Belichick.
“It’s been a fun season,” Henry said during his video conference. “Obviously, there was a lot of new things going on – new area, new team, new culture. I felt like I meshed in well with it. I’ve really enjoyed being here. I’ve really enjoyed the season, too, and everything that’s come with it. The good, the bad, learning. “
The New England Patriots have helped Hunter Henry evolve as a football player
Along with finally being healthy for a complete season, what has stood about Henry this season is how he has become a reliable target and red zone threat for rookie quarterback Mac Jones. Through 16 games, the 27-year-old tight end has 45 catches on 69 targets with 517 yards receiving and 9 touchdowns.
While he hasn’t exactly exceeded his production with the Chargers, he has contributed in other areas like blocking and of course being that red zone threat the team has been missing since the days of the healthy version of Gronkowski. That is where Henry feels playing for the New England Patriots has made him a better player on the field, as he has also found a way to be more durable.
“I feel like I’ve become a better football player – overall, scheme, everything,” Hunter continued. “It’s been a pleasure, and I’ve really enjoyed this season more than I probably have almost any other season that I’ve had. It’s been a lot of fun, so I’m looking forward to keep going and excited for this week ahead. “
With a playoff berth already secured, Hunter Henry and the Patriots still have a chance to win the AFC East and an outside chance of locking up the No. 1 seed overall. They will need a lot of help and luck for the latter to happen, but what the team can control is how they play against the Miami Dolphins in their final regular season game, particularly the offensive side of the ball.
Behind the running back duo of Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson, the Patriots will have an identity entering the playoffs, but to really make a deep run, it will come down to Mac Jones and the passing game to make plays at crucial times in games. That is where the chemistry between Jones and Henry will come into play.
While it will be nice to get Jonnu Smith involved in the flow of the offense, having Henry as that big target in big moments will be a benefit for the rookie quarterback.
In all, the Patriots tight end has lived up to his value as far as what the team has asked him to do. The fact that he is having fun and enjoying playing for a coach like Belichick is a bonus considering the narrative of players who have left the Patriots recently. Where the Patriots can really cash in is if Hunter Henry comes up with some huge catches in the playoffs.
He will certainly have his chances.