Doug Pederson marvels at Patriots QB Tom Brady's success late in career

Doug Pederson marvels at Patriots QB Tom Brady's success late in career

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is the oldest starter at his position in the NFL, but you wouldn't know it just by watching him play each Sunday.

Brady is completing 64.8 percent of his passes for 2,536 yards with 14 touchdowns and five interceptions through nine games. The 42-year-old veteran isn't posting MVP-caliber stats, but he's made enough plays to help New England earn an AFC-leading 8-1 record entering Sunday's Week 11 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. 

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is quite impressed with how well Brady has played late in his career.

"You're kind of in awe of his play," Pederson told reporters Wednesday, via John McMullen of 93.7 ESPN. "Where he is in his career, and how he's gotten himself physically and mentally, really, to play every season and every play of every game. You're really not going to show him anything he hasn't seen from a schematic standpoint. He's smart, he knows exactly where to go with the football. He can direct his offense and get guys in positions to be successful.

"And he does a great job with the football and protecting it. It's hard to get to him, No. 1 -- he gets the ball out extremely fast. It's just really impressive to watch where he is in his career and the age and all of that. As a former quarterback, to sit back and watch him play has been very impressive to me."

The Patriots and Eagles last met in Super Bowl LII, where Brady shredded Philly's defense for a Super Bowl-record 505 yards and three touchdowns. It wasn't good enough to win the Lombardi Trophy, however, as the Eagles prevailed with a 41-33 victory for their first Super Bowl championship in franchise history. 

Brady should again tally impressive stats Sunday because the Eagles pass defense, particularly at cornerback, has struggled throughout the 2019 season. The Eagles defense ranks 20th in pass coverage, 27th in tackling and 17th in defense overall, according to Pro Football Focus' grades.

The Patriots passing attack also could receive a boost in Week 11 if rookie wide receiver N'Keal Harry makes his regular season debut. Harry is eligible to play Sunday and is making good progress in practice.

Kyle Van Noy admits Pats will use Super Bowl loss as motivation Sunday>>>

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2020 NFL Pro Bowl live stream: Watch Skills Showdown online

2020 NFL Pro Bowl live stream: Watch Skills Showdown online

New England Patriots fans haven't had much reason to watch the NFL Pro Bowl in recent seasons, but 2020 is different.

Patriots players haven't participated in the Pro Bowl in each of the last three years because they were playing in the Super Bowl and thus not allowed to take part in the league's version of an All-Star Game.

The Patriots were eliminated from the AFC playoffs on Wild Card Weekend, giving the team's three Pro Bowl selections (cornerback Stephon Gilmore, linebacker Dont'a Hightower and special teams ace Matthew Slater) the opportunity to participate in this season's game. Hightower was ruled out due to injury, but Gilmore and Slater are expected to play.

Gilmore also will feature in Thursday night's 2020 Pro Bowl Skills Showdown. The event is basically football's version of NBA Saturday night, which includes the Skills Challenge, the Slam Dunk Contest and 3-Point Shootout.

Here's the information you need to watch Gilmore compete in the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown.

When: Thursday, Jan. 23 at 9 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Live stream: WatchESPN

Gilmore reveals his Chiefs-49ers Super Bowl prediction

Could this former Patriots receiver's son be the next Patriots receiver?

Could this former Patriots receiver's son be the next Patriots receiver?

One way to get a feel for just how long Bill Belichick has been head coach in New England? Players who were kicking around the league in the early portion of Belichick's Patriots tenure have children Belichick has the opportunity to draft in April. 

Last week we touched on the fact that Randy Moss has a son entering the NFL Draft as a tight end out of LSU. Thaddeus Moss could end up being a mid-to-late round option for a team in need of a tight end. 

This week? Another former Patriots receiver has a son who's putting on a show in Mobile, Ala. for this week's Senior Bowl. 

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Belichick never had a chance to coach Shawn Jefferson. The longtime NFL wideout with over 7,000 career receiving yards left the Patriots via free agency for the Falcons after four years in New England.

His first year with Atlanta, 2000, was Belichick's first as head coach of the Patriots. (The two did overlap in Foxboro in 1996, when Belichick coached defensive backs under Bill Parcells.)

But might Jefferson's son end up a Patriots draft target?

Van Jefferson, from the University of Florida, has been one of the most impressive performers at his position at this year's Senior Bowl. The week's practices — thoroughly covered and broadcast by NFL Media these days — has allowed Jefferson to put his nuanced skills on display against some of the best defensive backs in the country. 

After a strong showing on Tuesday in the week's first practice, Jefferson was one of the best pass-catchers on the field again Wednesday.

Despite lacking the athleticism of some of the others at his position who will be considered first-rounders this year — it's thought to be an incredibly deep class at receiver — Jefferson has made plays this week both down the field and at the intermediate level by understanding leverage and making contested catches.

"He is a route technician on a level that has the corners tripping over themselves," The Athletic's Dane Brugler wrote this week. "And it is tough to blame them because they haven’t faced many players at the college level with Jefferson’s detailed patterns. Instead of pure speed, he relies on pace, tempo and purpose, making every step matter and tying defenders in knots."

Jefferson spent three years at Ole Miss before transferring to Florida. The 6-foot-1, 197-pounder finished his collegiate career with 2,159 yards and 16 touchdowns. He caught 49 passes for 657 yards and six scores in his final season.

Belichick and his coaching staff are in Mobile for college football's premier postseason all-star game. Perhaps what they see from the Florida wideout with some Patriots connections will push them to consider him on draft weekend to bolster a receiving corps that needed all the help it could get this season.

Or not. Jefferson's father is currently assistant head coach and receivers coach for the Jets.