Patriots

Do Patriots have football's best cornerback duo? NFL.com reveals its ranking

Do Patriots have football's best cornerback duo? NFL.com reveals its ranking

The New England Patriots weren't able to defend their Super Bowl crown last season, but it wasn't the fault of the team's defense.

The Patriots defense was spectacular for most of the year, and it only gave up 14 offensive points in the team's season-ending AFC Wild Card playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium. 

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Perhaps the biggest strength of this unit was its pass defense. The Patriots allowed the second-fewest passing yards and the second-fewest passing yards per attempt. They also led the league in opponents' completion percentage, opponents' QB rating and interceptions, while giving up the fewest passing touchdowns.

One player who played a major role in this success was cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who was named the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year award winner. He wasn't alone, though. Cornerbacks Jason McCourty and J.C. Jackson also had strong seasons.

Do the Patriots have the best cornerback duo in football? NFL.com recently ranked its top five CB tandems, and the Patriots came in at No. 2. Here's NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks' explanation:

2) Stephon Gilmore and Jason McCourty, New England Patriots: Gilmore, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, teams with McCourty to give the Patriots a formidable tandem. The duo excels at snuffing out WR1s in the Patriots' man-heavy scheme without having to deviate from their straightforward approach. Gilmore routinely takes on the challenge of shadowing the opponent's most dangerous threat, while McCourty blankets the sidekick on the opposite side of the field. Each guy has thrived in his respective role, which is why the Patriots' stifling pass defense was the talk of the town for much of last season.

The only tandem to rank ahead of the Patriots was the talented Baltimore Ravens duo of Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters. These two veteran cornerbacks were an essential part of a Ravens defense that helped Baltimore finish the regular season with an AFC-best 14-2 record before losing to the Titans in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

The Patriots are likely to bring back almost their entire secondary from last year, which is good news ahead of the 2020 season. The only key player from that group who's departed this offseason is safety Duron Harmon. He was traded to the Detroit Lions last month.

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Devin McCourty, wife share heartbreaking news of daughter's death

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USA TODAY Sports

Devin McCourty, wife share heartbreaking news of daughter's death

Devin McCourty and his wife, Michelle, endured every parent's worst nightmare last weekend.

The New England Patriots safety shared his wife's announcement Saturday that they lost their third child, Mia, last Sunday as the result of a stillbirth.

"I cry as I type this," Michelle wrote in an Instagram post. "My pregnancy had resulted in a stillbirth at almost 8 months of being pregnant — at exactly 31 weeks 2 days, when we found out that the baby girl growing inside me no longer had a heartbeat after being completely fine the week prior at my last doctor’s appointment.

"We are so heartbroken. We are devastated. We are speechless. We are angry. We are sad. We are confused. We are numb."

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The couple has two other young children: a 3-year-old girl named Londyn and a 2-year-old boy named Brayden.

The McCourtys received an outpouring of support from Devin's current and former teammates after he shared the news on Instagram.

Here's ex-Patriots quarterback Tom Brady: "Love you my brother. So sad for you loss! You are in our thoughts and prayers always ❤️❤️🙏🏼🙏🏼"

And here's Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo: "My prayers and love to your family bro."

Patriots wide receiver N'Keal Harry -- "My prayers are definitely going out to y’all. Love you bro💙" -- Detroit Lions defensive end Trey Flowers -- "Prayers for you and your family! 💪🏾 be strong brother" -- and ex-Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib -- "Praying for ya family brotha!" -- were among many other NFL players offering their support to the McCourtys.

Michelle added in her message that she and Devin "appreciate the love and support we’ve already gotten, and just ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time, since we have no answers to give anyway."

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Tom Brady gives inspiring commencement address for Forman School in Connecticut

Tom Brady gives inspiring commencement address for Forman School in Connecticut

Tom Brady took time out of his Saturday to congratulate the Class of 2020 at the Forman School in Litchfield, Conn.

The former New England Patriots quarterback gave an inspiring virtual commencement address in which he implored the graduating students to embrace adversity. Brady used the coronavirus pandemic as an example of a challenge the students -- along with the rest of the world -- are learning to overcome.

“We’ve all had our difficult times overcoming different adversities and challenges that we’re facing, and this one is no different,” Brady said. “I think what you understand when you’re going through things like this is you learn from them and you make the best of them.”

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Brady also spent time talking about his own career, and the obstacles he overcame to go from the No. 199 overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft to a six-time Super Bowl champion and arguably the greatest QB of all time. The 42-year-old stressed the importance of putting 100 percent effort into everything one hopes to accomplish in life.

“Your future is going to be what you make of it,” Brady said. “Because you ‘re not going to be able to rely on people to do things for you. That’s not the way life is. If you want to be great at something, you’re going to have to put all your commitment and effort and discipline into doing just that.”

Click the link in the tweet below to watch Brady's full commencement address:

Now that's a speech the Forman School Class of 2020 will never forget.