Adam Gase has grown acquainted with cornerback Stephon Gilmore in his four seasons as a head coach in the AFC East.
The former has gone from the Miami Dolphins to the New York Jets over that span. The latter has gone from the Buffalo Bills to the New England Patriots.
And Gilmore, a first-team All-Pro selection in 2018, has been no less of what he was through the initial two games of 2019.
The next game will see him cross paths with Gase’s Jets this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET in Foxborough.
“He’s probably the best corner in the league,” Gase said of Gilmore on his New England conference call Wednesday. “Just as a fact of if he’s one-on-one, he’s very difficult to get open on. He has a very good knowledge of the game. He understands splits, he understands break points, he understands stems and things like that really make it challenging for any receiver.”
According to Pro Football Focus, Gilmore’s coverage has been targeted 13 times thus far into the 2019 regular season. Those targets have resulted in seven completions for 83 yards with no touchdowns and an interception that went back 54 yards for the first pick-six of his career versus Miami.
Gilmore has recorded a pair of breakups and eight tackles to go with his 41.5 passer rating against.
“As a play-caller, you’re aware of that and just have to understand that he’s playing chess while everybody else is playing checkers,” Gase said. “He’s really, especially the last couple of years, playing at an extremely high level.”
Gilmore, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, signed with New England in March 2017. The South Carolina product is under contract through the 2021 season.
That has him on track to become more than an acquaintance to Gase’s Jets.
“It’s a big compliment,” Gilmore told reporters of the praise. “But you’ve just got to kind of shift your focus to what you got to do this week to be successful. I try to be consistent each and every week, and do whatever I can to help the team win and make plays for my team.”