Patriots

Mild snubbage for Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore on PFF's Top 101 list

Mild snubbage for Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore on PFF's Top 101 list

Four Patriots wedged their way on to Pro Football Focus’ list of the top 101 players from 2019. But the fact Stephon Gilmore didn’t check in until No. 22 was an eyebrow-raiser.

The other Patriots on the list were LB Kyle Van Noy (59), safety Devin McCourty (84) and right guard Joe Thuney (91).

Gilmore — the AP Defensive Player of the Year — ranked outside the top 20 players across the NFL according to PFF’s Sam Monson who compiled the list, Gilmore wasn’t even the top corner in the league.

Richard Sherman checked in at 13.

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Lists like this invite pushback and both PFF and Monson invite the conversation. So it wasn’t long before Monson was asked on Twitter what in God’s name he was thinking in regards to Gilmore.

Monson was referring to the final game of the regular season when Dolphins wideout DeVante Parker had eight catches for 139 yards with Gilmore on him most of the game.

When it was pointed out to Monson that, just last week, Sherman gave up a back-breaking reception to Sammy Watkins in the Super Bowl (and the PFF format for the list did take postseason into account), Monson replied, “Sherman had 9 games this season in which he gave up 1 or 0 catches. NINE."

The fine print on that bit of data? Sherman — unlike Gilmore — never matched up on the opponent’s top wideout for every snap as Gilmore did throughout 2019.

This was something Darrelle Revis gleefully pointed out after the NFC Championship Game.

“Every snap every play,” Revis said on social media. "The fact that (Sherman) doesn’t travel as a cornerback is lame. [Accept] the challenge as the best and shut [Davante] Adams down the entire game. Do it for the game of football. Stop hiding [in] a cover 3 zone.

“All y’all think I’m throwing shade,” Revis added. “I’m not. Just stating the man is not a pound-for-pound, man-to-man corner. If you know the game of football, he plays in a Cover 3 Scheme. He does not travel but traveling with a receiver is not for every DB. It’s a few on the corner list who can.”

In the end, Gilmore will gladly take the hardware and accolades of being named the Defensive Player of the Year as opposed to winding up the second-best corner in the NFL on the PFF list for the same year.

As with any list like this, there will be some quibbles. It’s an exhaustive process to narrow down the best of the best and order them. Hats off to PFF for having the time, patience and capacity for caffeine intake to do it. No shade.

If you ask me, Julian Edelman and Dont'a Hightower both could have been included in the Top 101. Allen Robinson and A.J. Brown are on the list and neither have the offense running through them as Edelman does. Tyler Lockett — a brother from another mother to Edelman — checked in at No. 77.

Meanwhile, Tom Brady missed the list for the first time. On one hand, hard to argue given the labors the Patriots offense went through. On the other hand, PFF plumbs a little deeper for their analysis, so the cause and effect that led to Brady’s down season maybe should have been taken into account.

Again, no blood, no foul and all good conversation fodder.

Patriots' James White reminisces about Super Bowl LI win after rewatching full game

Patriots' James White reminisces about Super Bowl LI win after rewatching full game

With people all over the world self-quarantining to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, one of the best ways for sports fans to keep busy is watching classic games.

Several networks have been replaying some of the best Super Bowl matchups, and on Sunday, FOX showed a game that New England Patriots fans will watch over and over again. 

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We're of course talking about Super Bowl LI, when the Patriots pulled off an epic comeback to beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime after trailing 28-3 late in the third quarter. One of the heroes of that victory was Patriots running back James White. 

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Like many Patriots fans, White recently took some time to sit down and watch the instant classic.

"It was my first time actually watching the full game a couple of days ago when it was on. It was pretty cool to see, it was a hard-fought game," White said Thursday during a media conference call. "We all expended a lot of energy out there, it took everybody to win that one. It was a great comeback, a great team victory. All that conditioning in the offseason and all those practices, that’s made for those moments."

White gave an amazing performance in Super Bowl LI and probably would've been the game's MVP if not for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's heroics. He ran for 29 yards and one touchdown, while also tallying 14 receptions for 110 yards and two more touchdowns. White scored three of the Patriots' four touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime. He also converted a two-point conversion.

White isn't the only Patriots player who recently watched Super Bowl LI. Brady did as well, and he was happy to share the experience on his Instagram story.

Next Pats Podcast: Is Cole Kmet the answer at TE for the Patriots?

Next Pats Podcast: Is Cole Kmet the answer at TE for the Patriots?

The New England Patriots have been thin at tight end since Rob Gronkowski announced he was retiring in March of 2019. 

They relied on Ben Watson, Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo last season and that didn't help them much on the receiving end of things. The 2020 NFL Draft is coming up in about three weeks from April 23-25, and you have to think Bill Belichick will be looking to pick up a legitimate TE after his Watson/LaCosse/Izzo experiment failed. 

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On this week's episode of the Next Pats Podcast, Phil Perry discusses why he thinks Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet would be a great fit for the Patriots while also discussing big-time talents from smaller schools with Emory Hunt of Football Gameplan. 

Perry seems to be very high on Kmet, and his description of the tight end will make you see why.

Cole Kmet, from everyone that I've spoken to, is the safest play at tight end in this year's draft. He is the number one guy from the people that I have spoken to that are watching this class closely, the guys that are really invested in this position specifically. So, out of Notre Dame, Cole Kmet. Over 260 pounds, 6-foot-6, the size is the first thing that strikes you.

He is a true, solid wide tight end. He's not one of these 235-pound guys that's going to come in and essentially be a big slot receiver for you. Cole Kmet is going to be able to block, he's going to play inline, but he also has enough athleticism to impress you as a receiver. So, this is not a block only type of player. If anything, he's probably more polished as a receiver than a blocker right now.

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Kmet could be the guy for Belichick, but New England may have to make a trade for a second-round pick to get him. They don't have second-rounder at the moment, but they do have a first and three thirds.

Although some have Kmet being selected in the first-round, Perry's latest mock draft says otherwise -- leaving the Patriots with a chance at landing the talented 21-year-old.

Whatever New England does in the upcoming draft, they'll surely address some of their biggest needs to remain competitive in 2020.