FOXBORO -- When Stephon Gilmore moves, it doesn't take long to realize he's a rare athlete.
He changes direction quickly at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds. His hips are fluid when he jams at the line and then turns to run with a receiver. If he leaves his feet to bat away a pass, he appears to have complete body control.
But it's the way in which he's processing the Patriots defense that has teammate Devin McCourty impressed.
"Fitting into the group like he's been here for years," McCourty, a six-time captain, said of Gilmore.
It can take some time for new corners to pick up the scheme, understand the plays, and master the communication in the Patriots secondary. Especially for someone like Gilmore, who entered into a defensive backfield loaded with experienced Patriots, the task could've been daunting.
But so far so good.
"He's right on pace," McCourty said. "I think we have a lot of our defense in. And to be able to take all of that in, be able to understand what to say . . . I think he's fit in very well. He's kind of picked up on all of that stuff.
"I've talked to him before about playing in Buffalo under Rex [Ryan]. He said it was a lot of complex things, a lot of communicating and talking. Stepping in, for him, I think it was just learning new verbiage and how to put that together."
Gilmore has been working consistently as an outside corner opposite Malcolm Butler, but on Wednesday he took reps with a second group as Eric Rowe filled in opposite Butler.
No matter, Gilmore said.
"We're just working with different guys," he said, "and trying to play together and get better every day."
Part of that process includes staying in the playbook so that he can be on the same page as the rest of his teammates in the secondary, many of whom have the benefit of a year or more head start on him in the system.
"It's not hard," he said. "You just gotta go out there and really study your playbook and take it to the field and try to be as perfect as you can be."