Remember when Bill Belichick the GM was just killing Bill Belichick the Coach? Bill wasn’t getting Tom Brady enough weapons, Bill put Brady behind an offensive line that had him scared to death, and Bill wouldn’t pay Brady’s favorite players or his best defenders. Good times.
It sure is nice to have that trash narrative out of the way this season, and between the whole Malcolm Butler situation, Dont’a Hightower Watch 2017™, the Brandin Cooks trade, playing the Bills against themselves for Mike Gillislee, and keeping the “Big Nickel” crew intact by extending Duron Harmon, it almost seemed like signing top-shelf free agent cornerback Stephon Gilmore got lost in the noise. It was so simple - here, it’s the first morning of free agency, have 65 million dollars and come play for the defending Super Bowl champs.
Gilmore hopped on NFL Total Access on Tuesday morning and dished out his thoughts on a few different subjects, including what it will take for him and Second Team All-Pro Malcolm Butler to be the best Gruesome Twosome at cornerback in the NFL this year.
(I can’t include the clip here because the NFL hates fun and won’t let you put it in stories like these, so go watch it here if you’d rather do that)
“Enlighten me on this one as well: Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler - what would it take for you two cats to be considered as the two best corners in the National Football League?”
Stephon Gilmore: "We just gotta go out there and prove ourselves every day; get better in practice you know? Every year it starts over and we gotta be hungry. We gotta go out there and prove to everyone in the league that we can play the game at a high level so I think if we do that, everything else will speak for itself."
Stephon also got into how Brady’s insane competitiveness didn’t surprise him at all once he got to New England:
“Just the way he practice, I mean he plays like he practices, he’s super competitive. He’s a great quarterback, and everyone knows that. But nothing really surprised me about him cause I already know how he is, how he works, you know, he’s going to make me better for sure in practice.”
All offseason hype aside, it’ll be a blast to see how Bill and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia assign Gilmore and Butler on a week-to-week basis. Our fearless leader Rich Hill already crunched the numbers on how the Patriots have enough versatility at the corner position that they can pretty much pick their nickel cornerback matchups depending on whoever bodies up best to the other team’s receivers every week, and given that they seem to like Malcolm against quicker receivers that are more his size (Antonio Brown, TY Hilton, Taylor Gabriel, yada yada), this defensive back group is a Swiss Army knife that should be able to hang with just about anyone.
Sure is nice to not have to play Julian Edelman at cornerback anymore, isn’t it?