Patriots

Jets coach Adam Gase: Stephon Gilmore 'probably' NFL's best cornerback

Jets coach Adam Gase: Stephon Gilmore 'probably' NFL's best cornerback

New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore was the only player at his position to earn an "elite" grade from Pro Football Focus last season, and he's continued that stellar play into the 2019 campaign.

Gilmore did an excellent job limiting the effectiveness of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster in Week 1, and he gave a similarly good performance against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The veteran cornerback forced an interception by tipping a pass from Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick into the arms of teammate Devin McCourty, and later in the fourth quarter Gilmore intercepted a pass himself and ran it back for a touchdown.

The next challenge for the Patriots is a Week 3 home matchup Sunday against the rival New York Jets, and their head coach, Adam Gase, singled out Gilmore on Wednesday as one of the league's top cornerbacks.

"He's probably the best corner in the league," Gase said Wednesday during a media conference call. "Just the fact of, if he's one-on-one, he's very difficult to get open on. He has a very good knowledge of the game. He understands splits, he understands break points, he understands stems and things like that, that really make it challenging for any receiver. But as a play-caller, you're aware of that and just have to understand that he's playing chess while everybody else is playing checkers. He's really, especially the past couple years, he's playing at an extremely high level."

We hope no one shares this Gase quote with Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey!

Gilmore should have another comfortable afternoon Sunday against a Jets passing attack that doesn't feature an elite quarterback, wide receiver or tight end.

New York has one passing touchdown over the first two weeks of the reason and ranks 29th in passing yards per game over the same span. These numbers aren't likely to improve much -- if at all -- with the Jets forced to start third-string quarterback Luke Falk against the Patriots. Starting quarterback Sam Darnold is battling mono and backup Trevor Siemian is out for the season after suffering an ankle injury Monday night.

Latest Patriots-Jets Week 3 spread is laughably big>>>

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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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Marquis Flowers, Sterling Moore, Sealver Siliga among ex-Patriots taken in XFL draft

Marquis Flowers, Sterling Moore, Sealver Siliga among ex-Patriots taken in XFL draft

Former Patriots linebacker Marquis Flowers, ex-Pats Sterling Moore, a cornerback, and Sealver Siliga, a defensive tackle, were among the players with New England ties selected in the XFL draft.

The spring football league that played one season in 2001 is being rebooted and will begin play in February with eight teams. Its two-day draft concluded Wednesday.

Players were picked in five phases of the draft in the following order: skill position, offensive line, defensive front seven and defensive backs. An open portion concluded the draft.

Flowers, 27, who played for the Patriots in 2017, was selected with the Dallas Renegades' second pick of the open portion.

Siliga, 29, a Patriot from 2012-15, also went to Dallas with their second pick of the front seven phase.

Moore, 29, known for stripping the ball from Baltimore Ravens receiver Lee Evans in the end zone and denying what would've been a winning touchdown catch in the Pats' 2011 AFC Championship Game victory, was picked by the Seattle Dragons in the defensive back phase.

Other notable ex-Patriots, defensive end Kony Ealy, acquired in a trade by New England in 2017 but cut that summer in training camp, was the first pick of the Houston Roughnecks in the open phase. Running back Ralph Webb, an undrafted free agent who had a strong preseason opener in 2018 before being cut, was the first pick of the Tampa Bay Vipers in the open phase and linebacker Scooby Wright, who played for the Patriots this past preseason and was cut from their practice squad Oct. 1, was chosen by the DC Defenders in the front-seven phase. 

Former Boston College running back Andre Williams was selected by Houston in the skill position phase.

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