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Patriots TE Jonnu Smith addresses struggles against Saints: I didn't put my best product out there

Yardbarker logo Yardbarker 9/28/2021 Erin Walsh, Yardbarker
New England Patriots tight end Jonnu Smith © Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports New England Patriots tight end Jonnu Smith

New England Patriots tight end Jonnu Smith was nearly invisible in a 28-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, and he knows he needs to be better moving forward. 

Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins returned an interception 34 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the second half. Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones threw a pass to Smith that bounced out of his hands before Jenkins reeled it in. 

Smith said the Jones pass was catchable and that he has "to make that play that I know I can make and that I will make when the opportunity presents itself."

"You know I got to have a certain level of honesty with myself in the mirror, man," Smith told reporters Monday, according to NBC Sports Boston's Justin Leger. "But the great thing about it is I have another opportunity. I didn't put my best product and myself out there yesterday. I know that, the whole world knows that. But, you know, I know the player I am, I'm confident in the player I am, and I'm just looking forward to moving forward."

Smith signed a four-year, $50 million contract with New England during the offseason. So far, he hasn't lived up to the hype, with just 10 catches for 74 yards through the first three games of the season.

He had the best season of his career with the Tennessee Titans in 2020, catching 41 passes for 448 yards and eight touchdowns. The Patriots were hoping to get similar production out of both him and Hunter Henry this season. 

Getting more out of Smith in the weeks to come will be crucial for the New England offense. The Patriots are 1-2 this season and need the veteran tight end to step up in key situations. 

The Patriots are set to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend, and they could very likely drop to 1-3 on the year in Tom Brady's Gillette Stadium homecoming. 

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