FOXBORO, Mass. — Some leftover notes and nuggets from Wednesday’s media availability at New England Patriots training camp:
— Stephon Gilmore earned the highest ranking of any NFL cornerback on the player-voted “Top 100 Players of 2019” list, checking in at No. 22 overall.
Asked whether that type of recognition is meaningful to him, the soft-spoken cover man replied: “It’s a good accomplishment, but it’s a new year.”
“That’s the type of person I am,” he added. “I try to prove myself every year. Nobody cares about last year. If you don’t do it this year — if you don’t come out and work this year — you’re not going to be a good player this year.”
Gilmore’s been more than a good player through six days of training camp. He has more total pass breakups (three) than catches allowed in team drills (zero), with Tom Brady and the rest of the Patriots’ quarterbacks rarely even attempting to test the first-team All-Pro.
“I just try to focus on myself,” Gilmore said. “Even when the ball’s not thrown my way, I just try to make sure I’m in the best position to cover the guy in front of me. That’s pretty much what I focus on.”
— Gilmore got some additional reps in after practice concluded, standing deep downfield while Brady, Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham heaved high, looping passes in his direction.
“(I) just try to track the ball,” Gilmore explained. “Those guys throw pretty balls, so just trying to track the ball in the air as much as I can so I can come down with the ball.”
Gilmore also worked for a few minutes on press coverage technique with slot corner Jonathan Jones before chatting with reporters and heading off toward the locker room.
— It’s always interesting to watch the various exercises players choose to run through after practice. Another one from Wednesday featured rookie edge rusher Chase Winovich sprinting at Brady in a mock pass rush and smacking his fellow Michigan product with a pad as he released the ball.
— Wednesday’s practice was rookie corner Joejuan Williams’ best yet. The second-round draft pick broke up two passes in 11-on-11 drills — one to Phillip Dorsett, the other to Maurice Harris — after failing to get his hand on a single ball during the first four competitive practices.
“I feel like he’s getting better every day,” Gilmore said. “He’s asking questions. Whatever we can to help him become a good player for our team to help our team win, that’s what we want to do.”
Patriots defenders broke up 12 passes in all during the session, including 10 by cornerbacks.
— This was the hottest practice of camp to date, with temperatures topping 90 degrees and the heat index nearing 100 degrees on the fields behind Gillette Stadium.
Dan Skipper, who’s taken first-team reps at left tackle of late, was in no mood to discuss the conditions.