New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick likes to praise opposing players who are worthy of it, but he rarely gives extremely high praise to an opposing player. That’s usually reserved for elite company such as Arian Foster, but Belichick gave some truly notable quotes praising the play of Jacksonville Jaguars rising wide receiver Cecil Shorts.
This season has been a huge breakout year for Shorts, who has been a big deep threat for the Jags with 925 receiving yards this season. The 24-year-old received almost no playing time as a rookie out of Mount Union last season, but he has become one of the better receivers in the game this season. In fact, Belichick said that he thinks Shorts is one of the best WRs the Patriots have played this season. The Pats have faced Andre Johnson, Stevie Johnson, Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, Larry Fitzgerald, Demaryius Thomas, Reggie Wayne, and Michael Crabtree this season; that’s not light praise for Shorts, especially when it comes from Belichick.
He told the Florida Times Union, “He’s done a great job; he’s really impressive. He’s one of the best guys we’ve played against this year.”
“I think he does everything well. Excellent downfield receiver, he’s got really good quickness off the line of scrimmage against press coverage, he breaks tackles and can take it all the way.”
Shorts has terrific quickness, and he certainly is a big vertical threat with an average of about 19 yards per reception this season to go with seven TDs. His top-notch open-field speed is apparent when watching him rip off long touchdown passes, because he is tenth in the league among WRs in yards after the catch. First? That’s Wes Welker.
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