Patriots

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes impresses Belichick with 'pretty much everything'

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AP Photo

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes impresses Belichick with 'pretty much everything'

The Patriots will have to deal with one of football's most impressive young stars when the undefeated Chiefs bound into Gillette Stadium on Sunday night. 

Patrick Mahomes, in his second season after serving as the next-in-line to Alex Smith in 2017, was on pace to break Peyton Manning's single-season touchdown record going into Sunday's game against the Jaguars. He was as assassin from the pocket and a wizard on the run. 

Against the Jaguars, Mahomes came back to earth, throwing his first pick . . . and then his second not too long after. He finished the game with a rating of 62.7, but he threw for 313 yards, ran for a score, and helped the Chiefs to a 30-14 win. 

Bill Belichick said he knew the Patriots had no shot at drafting Mahomes since they were picking 61st, but they did scout him, they did evaluate him, and they may have to tap into every last morsel of information they have on Mahomes to prepare for that they'll see Week 6.

Asked what impressed him about Mahomes' game, Belichick's answer came quickly.

"Pretty much everything," he said. "Gets the ball to all of his receivers. Quick. Quick release. Sees things quickly. Can extend plays. Got a great arm. Got a fabulous arm. Throw the ball out of the stadium. Makes good decisions. Accurate. Gets the ball out on time."

You don't have to be a head coach in his fifth decade in the league to see that arm strength. Mahomes' arm has quickly been established as one of the best in football. Even his in throws in warmups have been deemed meme-worthy. 

"No matter where it goes it gets there pretty quickly," Belichick said. "But the farther a quarterback can throw it, the more you gotta defend. If the ball is on their 20-yard line you still gotta defend to the goal line against him. He can rip it."

The Patriots have been one of the best in the league at limiting explosive passing plays of 20 yards or more (14 on 205 pass plays, seven percent, is eighth-best in football), but they know they'll be as stressed as they've been all season when Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt and Sammy Watkins get to Foxboro. 

Linebackers coach and defensive play-caller Brian Flores had one word to describe Mahomes late last week: "Dynamic."

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This stat shows just how dominant Stephon Gilmore was in 2018

This stat shows just how dominant Stephon Gilmore was in 2018

Stephon Gilmore was sensational for the Patriots in 2018.

The 28-year-old cornerback's performance on the field spoke for itself throughout the Pats' championship campaign, but a look at the numbers provides some context for just how dominant he was.

According to Pro Football Focus, Gilmore only allowed 44 percent of the balls thrown his way to be caught by opposing receivers. That's the lowest percentage of any cornerback in the league with 400 or more coverage snaps.

That amazing stat likely factored into Gilmore earning an "elite" grade from PFF back in February.

Gilmore's outstanding season ended on a perfect note with a game-sealing interception in Super Bowl LIII vs. the Rams. It'll be tough to top that, but he'll look to at least duplicate his success as New England's star DB again in 2019.

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When Harry met Tom - Brady works out with Patriots rookie WR and Edelman

When Harry met Tom - Brady works out with Patriots rookie WR and Edelman

While his teammates were at OTAs this week at Gillette Stadium, Tom Brady, who skipped them for the second year in a row, had a few Patriots around his place for private workouts.

On social media, Brady posted pictures of himself working out with teammate Julian Edelman and more significantly, Patriots first-round pick, wide receiver N'Keal Harry of Arizona State.

Harry, who told reporters Thursday at OTAs that he had yet to speak to Brady personally and had only communicated with him through social media. That's obviously changed the past few days. Harry, who also tweeted a picture of himself catching Brady tosses, had said this week he was excited to "learn from the best." 

Offseason workouts in Foxboro continue Wednesday and Thursday and mandatory minicamp is June 4-6. July training camp dates have yet to be announced. 

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