How much better is Stephon Gilmore this season? ‘Way better,’ Bill Belichick says
FOXBOROUGH — Stephon Gilmore tossed a not-so-subtle jab at trash-talking cornerbacks when he was asked about the comments Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey’s made regarding Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill.
“A lot of guys that talk are mostly zone guys so they have a lot of energy to do that,’’ Gilmore offered during an interview on The Sports Hub’s “Zolak & Bertrand’’ show Wednesday.
Ramsey, hardly ever shy with his words, mentioned that Hill was just “alright, I guess,’’ and “thinks high of himself,’’ before Kansas City beat Jacksonville, 30-14, last week.
Gilmore’s style is to let his play speak for itself, which is why it is unlikely he will hurl any material at the speedy Hill before the Chiefs come to Gillette Stadium Sunday night.
Gilmore, the Patriots’ top corner, has been steady for this season, his second with the team since signing a five-year, $65 million contract.
Often times Gilmore is in man-coverage, sometimes tasked with covering the opponent’s top receiver, while other times sticking to a primary side. Through five games he is tied for the league lead with seven passes defended, two fewer than he had all of last season.
“He’s done a good job for us,’’ Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday. “Way better than last year. I mean, he’s a good player, was a good player last year. I think his ability for us to utilize him in our system and for him to have a better understanding and for us as a group as a secondary, not just him, but the entire group to function as one. He improved last year over the course of the year, but he’s improved this year too.’’
Belichick was particularly complimentary of Gilmore’s focus on the field, something that doesn’t always come easy at the cornerback position.
“His concentration, his skill set, his toughness,’’ Belichick said. “He’s long, he’s got good technique, he works hard at it, studies tåhe receivers well. He works hard, really has good focus and it’s hard to play that position. You’re not in on every play, in on a half dozen plays but those are game-changing plays.’’