Matthew Slater doesn’t hesitate when asked if Tyreek Hill is the fastest player in the NFL.
“I certainly wouldn’t argue that he’s not,” Slater told reporters Tuesday.
Slater said the Kansas City wide receiver Hill – who torched the Patriots for seven receptions, 142 yards, and three touchdowns in New England’s 43-40 win in October – is also dangerous because of his ability to accelerate and reach top speed like no other player in the league.
He praised Hill for his versatility and ability to thrive in many different ways, including as a return man. The Patriots hope they’re better prepared for him this time, when they face the Chiefs in the AFC Championship game Sunday, but they know it’s no easy task.
“There’s not a lot of guys like that walking around the face of the earth,” Slater said. “ … He can cause you to lose some sleep at night. That’s for sure.”
Free safety Devin McCourty said the toughest part of defending Hill is that you know how fast he is in theory, but it’s still difficult to stop in reality. Watching film helps, to understand his tendencies, but keeping him in check is easier said than done.
He said the Chiefs do a great job putting him in several spots, and they make it difficult for other teams to know what to expect. It comes down to awareness, McCourty said.
“It’s not going to be just one guy, where you say, ‘Go cover him,’” McCourty told reporters Wednesday. “It’s going to be a team effort of just trying to know where he’s at and gang tackle him and get as many guys to him.”
Bill Belichick knows Hill is a threat, but he said it’s also important to not lose sight of Chris Conley, Sammy Watkins, and the other pass-catching weapons.
“They have a very I’d say extensive passing game,” Belichick told reporters Wednesday. “They do a lot of different things with their passing game so that includes the backs and the tight ends and the receivers. They utilize all of their personnel in a lot of different ways and multiple players in the same spots as well.”