The New England Patriots have a litany of issues keeping offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels up at night. Those woes have also been making Tom Brady pretty cranky.

High on the list of troubles is an inability to score touchdowns in the red zone. The Patriots have gone from being pretty automatic to score a touchdown to having little chance from in close.

They haven’t been able to run, which is the usual mode of entry from that territory. Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, James White & Co. has had difficulty advancing from inside the 20, and especially from inside the 10.

The blocking up front just hasn’t been there. Brady also hasn’t been too successful throwing in those tight quarters.

On Sunday against the Eagles, the Patriots went 1 for 3 in the money area, settling for three Nick Folk field goals in a 17-10 win. The one time they did score a touchdown, they had to resort to a gimmick play, a double pass from Brady to Julian Edelman to Phillip Dorsett for a 15-yard TD on a third-and-11 play. Statistically, they’re ranked 25th (48.8 percent) out of 32 teams in the NFL in red zone touchdown efficiency.

Obviously, that’s not where they want to be.

The running game part of the equation might improve with the return of left tackle Isaiah Wynn, who is expected back in the lineup this week.

A better fix?

Having a big body go up and catch the ball in the end zone. The Patriots do have one of those prototype receivers. Rookie N’Keal Harry fits the profile as a potential red zone cure. He’s 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, and billed as a contested-catch monster.

At this point, with nothing working and not much else to choose from, it can’t hurt to use the kid and see what shakes out. Who knows, he might prove to be a lethal weapon.

Of course, there are the dream scenarios out there that would help the red zone woes.

Rob Gronkowski has been teasing a comeback with all of these big announcements, but the sands are running out on that hourglass. He has until Nov. 30 to decide if he wants to play this season. It’s hard to believe the next few weeks are going to make a difference and change his course. As for an Antonio Brown return, now that he’s apologized publicly to Patriots owner Robert Kraft, that’s another one that’s hard to fathom. From a football perspective, it’s a no-brainer bringing him back. From a moral perspective, along with the unknown of what the league will do with respect to sexual assault allegations, there’s plenty of reasons to believe it won’t happen.

The Patriots have just one touchdown from their tight ends. Michel has made it into the end zone on just five of his 12 attempts inside the 5-yard line.

Julian Edelman does get open on occasion in the red area even being double-teamed, and Mohamed Sanu is still working his way into the offense. Dorsett’s lone red zone score came Sunday on the trick play.

Yes, Harry is a rookie, and it’s hard to depend on a first-year player with so little experience, especially one who’s already missed half the season. But his skill set is exactly what the Patriots need. Down by the goal line, where space is compressed, it helps having large targets with a big catch radius who aren’t afraid to fight for the ball.

This is Harry’s calling card.

The rookie didn’t see much work in the red zone Sunday, only a few snaps, but given it was his first game, it was understandable to a degree. As it was, the Patriots probably weren’t planning on him playing 32 snaps in his debut, but Dorsett’s head injury altered the plan.

Harry finished with three catches on four targets for 18 yards. His first catch was a slant, but he pretty much ran the entire route tree. He ran hitches, posts, in cuts and go routes. He primarily lined up wide left, but also took a few snaps on the inside. He’s not the fastest guy, but surely, the Patriots could run a few plays for him down by the goal line, whether it’s a back-shoulder fade or some type of contested catch. It’s not hard to see him potentially making an impact there if given an opportunity.

During a conference call earlier this week, McDaniels indicated Harry did a good job but still has stuff to work on.

“It was good to get him out there and into the game. I thought he was ready to play. He had a good week of practice last week,” said McDaniels. “In any rookie’s first opportunity to play in the National Football League, there’s probably going to be some good, and then some things to work on and that you learn from those experiences in the game … I thought he did some good things, and there’s definitely some things that we’ll be able to work on going forward to make N’Keal a better player and help our offense even more.”

Seeing what Harry can do in the red zone can’t hurt. He might actually help solve a problem.

PRACTICE REPORT: The Patriots could be very thin at wide receiver this weekend.

Edelman returned to the injury report because of a shoulder injury, and though Dorsett was spotted on the practice field, neither he (concussion) nor Sanu (ankle) participated.

The shoulder injury is a new one for Edelman, who has previously missed time because of thumb, chest and rib injuries. Sanu appeared to injure his ankle on a punt return in Philadelphia, and after catching a touchdown pass, Dorsett was belted in the head and didn’t return to the game.

If any of the three can’t go against Dallas, Harry could be getting a crash course sooner than expected.

THE QUESTIONS were relatively simple, but Bill Belichick’s answers were complex.

How often does a defense switch their scheme when they have the Patriots on the schedule? And how much faith is there in Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels to adjust on the fly?

“Look, I would say you game plan in this league you never really know what the other team is going to do, all right?” Belichick began. “I mean, I know there’s a lot of experts out there that have it all figured out. Unfortunately I’m not in that group.”

The coach spent the next two minutes expounding upon that idea of unpredictability before wrapping it up with a concept that America championed in World War II.

“It’s like (General Dwight) Eisenhower said: Preparation is important for the war, and once the battle starts, you can throw all that out the window. You play the war. You fight the battle. That’s what we do.”

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