Patriots

Demaryius Thomas blasts Patriots, calls trade to Jets 'disrespectful'

Demaryius Thomas blasts Patriots, calls trade to Jets 'disrespectful'

Demaryius Thomas apparently has a lot to get off his chest.

Mostly quiet during his tenure in New England, the Jets wide receiver took a flamethrower to the Patriots on Wednesday, accusing his former team of "insulting" him by not giving him a chance to succeed.

"It was insulting, for sure,” Thomas told the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta. “Once I got cut (on August 31), I could have just come here (to the Jets) and not stayed there and re-sign. When they re-signed me, I was thinking that I was good. Two weeks later, I was gone.

"So, it’s like, ‘Why did I waste my time?’ Because at the end of the day, it was kind of a waste of time for me."

The Patriots signed Thomas in April, taking a flyer on the five-time Pro Bowler as he recovered from a December 2018 Achilles injury. The team released him during final roster cuts but re-signed him two days later, at which point Thomas thought he was safe.

After the Patriots traded him to the Jets on Sept. 10 -- one day after signing Antonio Brown -- the 31-year-old felt stabbed in the back.

"They kicked me (to the curb) and shipped me out like I’m just a rookie," Thomas told Mehta. " ... It was disrespectful to me."

" ... You told me when you cut me at the (final) cut, sit around you’ll bring me back. And I stayed. I could have easily become a Jet once I got cut. … I could have been here the next day after I got released. But I chose to stay."

Thomas also detailed Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's rather rational explanation for trading him to New York.

"Coach (Belichick) came up to me and was like, ‘Uh, we got too many guys. We can’t get the ball around enough and we’re going to trade you to the Jets,' " Thomas said. "And that was that."

Thomas caught two touchdown passes in New England's fourth preseason game but never appeared in a regular-season game, as the Patriots deemed him expendable after signing Brown.

The Brown experiment obviously didn't work out, though, and Thomas seems intent on rubbing a little salt in New England's wound ahead of the teams' Week 7 contest on Monday night.

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Patriots' N'Keal Harry must break this bad habit in 2020, trainer says

Patriots' N'Keal Harry must break this bad habit in 2020, trainer says

If you ask Rischad Whitfield, an ankle injury wasn't the only thing that slowed N'Keal Harry down last season.

Whitfield, a personal trainer who brands himself as "The Footwork King," has been working with Harry this offseason to improve the New England Patriots wide receiver's footwork.

Specifically, Whitfield is trying to get Harry to play lighter and faster -- and get the 22-year-old out of improper foot mechanics that have slowed him down.

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"N'Keal told me, he goes, 'All my life, I've been told to stay low, stay low, stay low.' But the lower you get, the heavier you get," Whitfield told NFL Media's Mike Giardi in a recent interview.

"That's a science. Anybody can do a squat right now with no barbell on their back, have a little squat and then jump. The lower they get, the heavier they get. They can't move. I'm breaking him out of that mold."

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Harry used that low, wide base to overpower defensive backs at Arizona State. But Whitfield, who has worked with Odell Beckham Jr., Mecole Hardman and Deebo Samuel among other talented wide receivers, believes that approach won't work against the NFL's bigger, stronger cornerbacks, which is why he's trying to make Harry more nimble.

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"He gets really wide, so I'm keeping him working with his base narrow and a little bit higher, just like a boxer," Whitfield said.

"This is the the prime example I give him: You can't box with no footwork. You got to bob and weave and move out of the way. They're nimble. They're light. I got to get him to that, because he'll get wide. He'll stomp. He'll move his feet, but it's so heavy that it's not going anywhere. He's not moving the defensive back vertical."

That's not an encouraging assessment of Harry, the Patriots' first wide receiver taken in the first round since Terry Glenn in 1996. But it may explain why Harry created an average of just 2.2 yards of separation on his routes in 2019, which according to Next Gen Stats was the lowest on the team.

The good news is that Harry has multiple coaches working with him on his footwork -- he's also training with ex-Patriots tight end Dwayne Allen's brother, Justin Allen -- and if that hard work pays off, he could be a prominent weapon for second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham.

Do Patriots have two lockdown cornerbacks? This stat says they do

Do Patriots have two lockdown cornerbacks? This stat says they do

It's not easy to find a team with a better secondary than the New England Patriots.

After all, cornerback Stephon Gilmore is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year award winner.

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The group also consists of other talented veterans, including safeties Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung, both of whom have won three Super Bowl titles in New England. Let's not forget veteran cornerback Jason McCourty has been a very good addition to the secondary since his arrival via trade in 2018.

One player who doesn't receive enough credit is J.C. Jackson, who's quickly rising to stardom at the cornerback position. Jackson just completed his second season with the Patriots after joining them as an undrafted free agent in 2018. 

He tallied five interceptions last season, which was tied for the second-most of any defensive player. It wasn't his only impressive stat from 2019, though. Check out the Pro Football Focus tweet below for one area where Jackson actually led the league last year.

Jackson is one of the best values in the league with a 2020 salary cap hit of only $753,334, per Spotrac. His raise could be coming soon, though, as he's able to become a restricted free agent after next season.