Stephon Gilmore offers simple reason for his improvement with Patriots

Stephon Gilmore offers simple reason for his improvement with Patriots

Consistency is key, and for New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, it's been a huge part of his improvement over the last three NFL seasons.

A lot of people were surprised when the Patriots signed Gilmore to a five-year, $65 million contract in free agency after the 2016 season. Malcolm Butler was seen as the team's next defensive player to land a huge contract. The Patriots, during head coach Bill Belichick's 20 years in charge, have rarely spent big to add veteran free agents. So there was clearly something about Gilmore's skill set that made Belichick willing to paying a steep price to bring him to New England.

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Gilmore was a solid player in Buffalo, no doubt about it. But he wasn't the superstar, best-cornerback-in-the-league player he is right now. What changed?

“In Buffalo, I don't think I ever beat New England when I was there," Gilmore said on Sunday's episode of the "Double Coverage Podcast", which is hosted by Patriots defensive backs Devin and Jason McCourty. “I'm like, 'what are those guys doing that's different?' On the other end, I'm going against (Julian) Edelman, (Brandon) LaFell, Tom (Brady), it's different from seeing it on the other side. I think, me in Buffalo, the first five years, I had four different defensive coordinators, three different head coaches, so I was kind of trying to learn each and every year. So once I got to New England, I got some consistency, the same guys around, same coaches. I feel like that's when my game took off more.”

On the subject of constant coaching turnover -- which Gilmore hasn't had to deal with as a Patriot -- he added, "It's tough to get comfortable, you got to appreciate those things being in New England."

Gilmore had a good-but-not-great first campaign with the Patriots. He tallied two interceptions with nine passes defensed in 2017, and the lasting memory from that season was New England's defense being dominated in a 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII.

The 2018 season is when Gilmore started to become the best cornerback in the league. He was a first team All-Pro selection and the only cornerback to earn an elite grade from Pro Football Focus. His interception late in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIII helped the Patriots secure a 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

Gilmore was even better in 2019, earning the AP's Defensive Player of the Year award after leading all players with 20 passes defensed and tying for the lead in interceptions with six. He picked up another first team All-Pro nod last season, too.

The Patriots have seen a lot of turnover throughout their roster this offseason. One area that's largely unchanged is the cornerback position, where Gilmore, J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones and Jason McCourty give New England one of the best coverage groups in football.

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Patriots TE Devin Asiasi joins Cam Newton, N'Keal Harry for workouts

Patriots TE Devin Asiasi joins Cam Newton, N'Keal Harry for workouts

Twelve days ago, Cam Newton was still a free agent looking for work.

But ever since he agreed to a one-year contract with the Patriots, he's been very busy trying to get ready for the 2020 season, learning the playbook and developing chemistry with his new receivers.

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In addition to N'Keal Harry, whose workout with Newton was captured on video, rookie tight end Devin Asiasi was also catching passes from New England's new quarterback. Twitter user amirmehrtash15 took pictures with both Asiasi and Newton at the UCLA practice session and posted them in reponse to the Providence Journal's Mark Daniels.

The workout wasn't limited to Patriots, as Browns wideout Odell Beckham Jr. was also in attendance.

Newton trying to fast-track a relationship with his new teammates makes perfect sense. He set up his first practice with Mohamed Sanu on the day he signed his Patriots contract, and in less than two weeks, he's already connected with three of the guys who will be among his top receiving options in 2020.

The Patriots certainly hope all that extra work pays off, as training camps could open as soon as the end of this month once the NFL and NFLPA can finalize preseason dates.

Jarvis Landry begs Tom Brady to speak up: 'We need to hear you'

Jarvis Landry begs Tom Brady to speak up: 'We need to hear you'

Tom Brady has lent his name, voice, and stature when players have had issues with the NFL in the past. In 2011, the then-Patriots quarterback was among 10 players who sued the NFL in federal court in an antitrust lawsuit asking to prevent a lawsuit.

And now, one of Brady's NFL brethren is asking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback to step up again.

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Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry tweeted at Brady Thursday night, imploring the future Hall of Famer to step up and lend his voice on calls with the NFL.

While Landry didn't specify what he was asking Brady to speak up about, the NFL and NFL Players Association have been discussing a litany of issues regarding the upcoming 2020 season, which is only two months away.

A variety of medical and testing protocol questions amid the coronavirus pandemic have yet to be resolved, and the league's ban on postgame jersey swaps was widely lampooned by players on Thursday.

NBC Sports Boston's Tom E. Curran even suggested that the league should postpone the season by a month while it gets its business in order, but for now Landry wants one of the league's most prominent players to assist in the process.

He explained why he called out Brady specifically in a response to a tweet criticizing him for his original post. (Warning: NSFW language below.)

Whether or not Brady lends his voice, the time to figure out all of the roadblocks to a 2020 season is rapidly running out. Rookies are scheduled to report to training camps a week from Sunday.