Patriots

Kyle Van Noy explains why Patriots' Super Bowl game plan was so effective

Kyle Van Noy explains why Patriots' Super Bowl game plan was so effective

How did the New England Patriots' defense hold the Los Angeles Rams to nearly 30 points below their scoring average in Super Bowl LIII?

By utilizing the art of deception.

You may have heard how de facto defensive coordinator Brian Flores sent in multiple plays to his defense: one look to show Rams quarterback Jared Goff and another to switch to with under 15 seconds in the play clock, after head coach Sean McVay's headset communication with Goff was shut off.

But the Patriots added another layer of complexity: having defenders line up at new positions.

Here's one of those players, linebacker Kyle Van Noy, breaking down that plan Saturday on NFL Network.

"You had Jonathan Jones, who never played safety the whole year, he played safety in the (Super Bowl)," Van Noy said. "And (Patriots linebacker Dont'a) Hightower, who had been an on-the-ball kind of 'backer this year, he played off the ball.

"So, there's just things we did in the game plan that we hadn't shown all year. ... That's kind of the game plan (we) had: keep moving pieces around to have them keep guessing."

Jones and Hightower can attest to that plan's success. Jones led New England with six total tackles and added a sack, while Hightower recorded two sacks, three quarterback hits and a pass breakup.

Goff completed just 50 percent of his passes, his second-lowest completion percentage in a game this season, and looked visibly flustered by the Patriots' myriad defensive looks. And that's exactly how New England drew it up.

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Patriots' Stephon Gilmore hard at work in new offseason training video

Patriots' Stephon Gilmore hard at work in new offseason training video

NFL teams have not been able to conduct normal offseason workouts, rookie camps and other activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but players are still finding ways to stay in shape and prepare for the 2020 season.

That includes New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who recently worked out with former NFL defensive back Dre Bly, who's currently the cornerbacks coach for the University of North Carolina football team.

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Check out some footage of Gilmore's workout in the tweet below:

Gilmore arguably is the Patriots' best player following quarterback Tom Brady's departure in free agency. In Pro Football Focus' recent ranking of the top 50 players gonig into the 2020 season, Gilmore was the only Patriot to make the list.

The veteran cornerback is coming off back-to-back seasons of first team All-Pro selections, and in February he was named the AP Defensive Player of the Year Award winner for the 2019 campaign.

The Patriots saw a lot of veteran players from their defense leave as free agents this offseason. Luckily for New England, its secondary remains one of the best groups in the league, and Gilmore's presence as the sport's premier shutdown cornerback is the primary reason for that.

Patriots WR Jakobi Meyers reveals his goal entering 2020 NFL season

Patriots WR Jakobi Meyers reveals his goal entering 2020 NFL season

The New England Patriots need a young wide receiver to step and play at a higher level in 2020, and one of the best candidates is Jakobi Meyers.

Meyers went undrafted in 2019 out of North Carolina State and performed well enough in training camp and the preseason to earn a spot on the Patriots' 53-man roster. 

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What is Meyers hoping to accomplish in his second pro season?

"Mentally, I want to be levels ahead of where I was last year," Meyers told Patriots.com writer Paul Perillo. "Understanding not only what we're doing but also why we're doing it. Earning trust to make the right play. I want to build on last year. It was a nice stepping stone, but I want to keep building and growing."

Meyers knows his job is not guaranteed, and he's very motivated to prove to the Patriots that he again deserves a roster spot.

"I feel like I will be a lot further ahead," Meyers said. "I didn't know if I'd even make the team or what role I might have or where I'd be playing. I still have chip on my shoulder, like will I even be here? I'm staying ready for my name to be called. I need to make sure I give them a reason to keep me around."

For Meyers to take the next step he must be more consistent.

The 23-year-old wideout had consecutive games with multiple receptions only twice as a rookie, and he tallied only one catch in five of the 11 games he played. Overall, Meyers totaled 26 receptions for 359 yards and zero touchdowns in 2019.

One reason to be confident in Meyers' ability to make a stronger impact in the Patriots offense next season is Jarrett Stidham. The 2019 fourth-round draft pick likely will be the team's starting quarterback following Tom Brady's departure in free agency, and he and Meyers had a good chemistry during the preseason. Of course, it's important not to take too much away from preseason action, but these two players built a strong rapport last August

Injuries to veteran wide receivers Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu played a large part in the Patriots' offensive struggles over the second half of the 2019 season. If Edelman and Sanu come back healthy, and a young wideout such as Meyers or N'Keal Harry make a sophomore leap, New England's offense has a chance to be surprisingly good in 2020.