Patriots

Gilmore on scrap with Edelman: 'Once I'm on the field, there's no friends'

Gilmore on scrap with Edelman: 'Once I'm on the field, there's no friends'

FOXBORO -- There wasn't much in the way of remorse. There were no formal apologies in front of microphones and cameras. 

When Stephon Gilmore was asked about his scuffle with Julian Edelman earlier this week -- a wrestling match that got both players booted from practice by Bill Belichick -- the newly-acquired Patriots corner gave the equivalent of a verbal shoulder-shrug. 

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That's the cost of doing business with the way he approaches practices, Gilmore explained.

"There's not really no friends on the field to me," Gilmore said Saturday following a rainy practice at Gillette Stadium. "Once I'm on the field, there's no friends. But off the field, [it's] very respectful. [I] respect everybody on this team. Talk to them. It's nothing personal. It's just when I'm on the field, I'm super competitive and there's no friends."

Gilmore's aggressiveness has shown up regularly over the course of nine days of training camp practices. He often finds himself matched up with the top wideouts New England has to offer -- like Edelman or Brandin Cooks -- and seems to always be around the football. 

He broke up a pass to Cooks in Friday's scrimmage, and he nearly had another breakup on a deep pass but Cooks was able to pin the ball to Gilmore's arm and hang on for about a 50-yard gain. 

He's clearly one of the top two corners on the team along with Malcolm Butler, and it looks as though he's feeling at home -- both in the Patriots defense and in the Foxboro area. He said on Saturday that he's been reminded a bit of Orchard Park, New York since arriving in New England after spending the first five years of his career with the Bills. 

"This is a football town," Gilmore said. "It's kind of like a college town. It's football bred. You always want to be in a place like this where you can focus on football, and focus on your job . . . They're both football cities. They love football."

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Five quick thoughts: Patriots put it all together against Falcons

Five quick thoughts: Patriots put it all together against Falcons

FOXBORO -- Here are some quick-hitting thoughts on the Patriots' 23-7 victory over the Falcons on Sunday night.

1) If the Patriots attacked this game believing that the best defense is a good offense . . . they were right. 

They controlled the ball for more than 18 minutes in the first half and ran for 92 yards on 18 carries (a 5.1 yards per attempt average) with four backs sharing the load. Rex Burkhead gave the team a spark with his speed and vision in his first game back since suffering a rib injury in Week 2. The success the Patriots had running the ball had the added benefit of opening up the play-action pass game and it helped protect Tom Brady. After taking two sacks in the first quarter and a monster hit (penalized for roughing the passer) from Adrian Clayborn in the second, Brady was fairly well-protected. 

PATRIOTS 23, FALCONS 3

2) Tom Brady lamented the fact that he hadn't been more accurate in the red zone of late, but he was better in that area to help the Patriots pad their early lead. 

The Patriots went 2-for-3 in the red zone through the first half, with Brady hitting on touchdown passes to Brandin Cooks (which looked more like an end-around hand-off) and James White. Brady still had moments of inaccuracy. The pass he lofted before being croaked by Clayborn was a bad one that was intercepted. (The pick was wiped after the penalty was enforced.) He threw behind Chris Hogan on multiple occasions. He also had an odd throw float well out of bounds that was intended for Rob Gronkowski. But for the most part he was on point, completing 21 of his first 29 throws for 241 yards. 

3) The Patriots defense showed up in critical moments time and time again in this one. 

They stopped the Falcons twice on fourth down, and they allowed Matt Ryan and his offense to convert on just two of their first nine third-down plays. The Falcons coaching staff deserves plenty of criticism for going for it when they did, but with a banged-up secondary, going against the reigning MVP and one of the best receivers in the league, the Patriots responded.

4) Bill Belichick's run defense was particularly impressive in the first half on Sunday night, helping keep the Falcons from getting anything going until it was too late. 

They allowed just 30 yards on nine attempts in the first two quarters (a 3.3 yards per attempt average), with Malcom Brown, Trey Flowers, Kyle Van Noy, Lawrence Guy and Deatrich Wise all making impressive stops at, near or behind the line of scrimmage. 

5) The Patriots suffered a handful of injuries to key players that will be worth keeping an eye on moving forward. 

Malcom Brown left the game in the second half with an ankle injury. Their top defensive tackle this season, Brown's absence may be one reason for why the Falcons were able to pump up their rushing yardage to triple digits by midway through the fourth quarter. Dont'a Hightower also left the game and was announced as questionable to return with a shoulder injury. Hightower has had a history of shoulder issues and so perhaps this is an older injury that was re-aggravated. Chris Hogan also left the game briefly and was evaluated for a concussion, according to NBC's television broadcast. He later returned.

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