Alex Rollins from Niners Nation took to the film room this week to dissect one of the most intriguing matchups of the New England Patriots’ season opener against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday: Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore versus Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker.
In 2019, Stephon Gilmore solidified himself as not only the best shadow corner in the NFL, but the best defender in the NFL, winning Defensive Player of the Year: he led the league with six interceptions — taking two back for touchdowns — and also led the league with 20 passes defended while allowing just a 48 passer rating when targeted. He became the face of the Patriots’ number one defense.
But scrolling through his game logs you can’t help but notice his one blemish in Week 17; Dolphins versus Patriots, Gilmore versus DeVante Parker, who exploded for eight catches, 137 yards and led the Dolphins to a shocking upset win. This was not the Stephon Gilmore we were used to seeing. So, what went so wrong against Parker?
As we transition to Week 1 of the 2020 season, we’re going to get the answer. With Gilmore coming off the best defensive season in the league, and Parker coming off an explosive season of his own, the matchup will be defined by their preparation. The player who can use what he has learned from past matchups, and weaponize that information, will win the battle.
If you have any questions, please reach out to @AlexRollinsNFL on Twitter.