Patriots

Gilmore after bounce-back night: ‘I took it personal’

Gilmore after bounce-back night: ‘I took it personal’

TAMPA, Fla. --- Stephon Gilmore looked lost. He dug through his front pockets, then dropped his bag to quickly rummage though the contents of it’s outside pockets. No luck. He turned over a couple of towels that still sat in his locker. The sweat that had already soaked through his white dress shirt was now beaded up and dripping off his forehead. But just when all hope seemed lost, Gilmore brushed his back pocket to realize, yes, there’s my phone. Problem solved, at least for now.

You could say the same about the 27-year old’s performance on the field on a humid night in Tampa. With all eyes focused on the Patriots most expensive offseason acquisition, Gilmore had responded, playing the best game of his New England career. 

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As he navigated his roller suitcase past teammates and shoulder pads and loose cleats, Gilmore explained to me what the night meant.

“I took it personal,” he said. “I knew what was happening wasn’t because of what type of player I am.  I wasn’t getting beat. It was a communication thing. That was the only thing I needed to clean up.”

Some of those communication issues that had plagued Gilmore in particular, and the secondary in general, were cleaned up in the 19-14 win over the Buccaneers. The Patriots didn’t get much actual practice time, instead of having walkthroughs before their walkthroughs. Still, Gilmore’s mission was made clear from the start of the short week: wherever Mike Evans goes, so do you. That’s just what the former Bills corner had been waiting for.

“It felt good,” he told me about being given the assignment. “The coaches had a great game plan. When I’m on a guy and locked into him, I’m pretty good.”

His voice trailed off for a second but Gilmore wanted to be clear, “I didn’t just play good, my teammates helped me out. They played good around me. The “D” line got to him [Jameis Winston]. I played aggressive. We all played aggressive.”

Gilmore came to Foxboro with a reputation as being a press-man corner. He hadn’t gotten much of an opportunity to do that through the first four weeks of the season, and on the occasion he did, the results didn’t back up his past reputation. 

In fact, it was an illegal hands to the face late in Sunday’s game versus Carolina that wiped out a key third-down sack and eventually led to the Panthers’ winning field goal. Gilmore didn’t get to play straight cover-1 vs. the Bucs, but even when the Patriots went zone, he still traveled with Evans. Evans finished with five catches on eight targets, although one of those grabs appeared to be safety Pat Chung’s responsibility. All in all, the night qualified as a win, both for the Patriots and Gilmore.

“You have to find it, you have to recover and prove yourself in this league each and every week,” said Gilmore. “I think I did that this week but I know I - we - have to do it again next week or people are going to talk again.”

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Tom Brady mum on hand injury, practice status

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Tom Brady mum on hand injury, practice status

FOXBORO — Tom Brady basically told the media to talk to the hand.

More specifically, Brady replied, “I’m not talking about that” to each question about his right hand injury in Friday’s press conference.

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Brady stood at the podium wearing the very red gloves that have been captured in pre-practice photos the last two days. Asked why he was wearing them indoors, Brady replied, “I’ve worn them before.” 

The five-time Super Bowl champion was also mum on whether or not he participated in practice Friday, sharing only that he was “out there,” which adds no clarification given that he was on the field before Thursday’s practice but did not participate. 

When asked if he was confident he'd play in Sunday's AFC Championship Game against Jacksonville, he responded: "We'll see."

Brady is believed to have suffered the injury in Wednesday’s practice. Friday’s practice report will be released this afternoon. 
 

Dion Lewis: 'Nobody's really worried' about Tom Brady

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Dion Lewis: 'Nobody's really worried' about Tom Brady

James White put it perfectly on Thursday. When asked if he was the one who injured Tom Brady's hand in Wednesday's practice, the running back replied, "The world may never know."

During an interview with NFL Network, another Patriots running back said you can't put Brady's injury on him.

"Not me," said DIon Lewis. "No, it wasn't me . . . I actually didn't see it happen, but from when I talked to other guys, I knew he was gonna be oaky. It's Tom, so regardless of any situation he's put in, he's going to make sure he's out there game day. Nobody's really worried."

That seems to be the general consensus inside the Patriots locker room. They're all expecting Brady to play. And when they're asked about how he's looked, their answers have ranged from evasive to joking about Brady's handsomeness

The focus, as Lewis explained, isn't so much on the health of their quarterback but rather the game plan they're putting in place to take on the top defense in the AFC. 

"We have a great idea," Lewis said, "of what we think we can do to have success against this defense . . . We just gotta be on point every play. We don't got plays to give away."

Might that mean a load of two-back or two-tight end sets to keep Jacksonville's base personnel on the field? Might that mean plenty of work in the screen game, as Jerod Mayo suggested on this week's Quick Slants the Podcast? Might that mean a heavy dose of Rob Gronkowski?

There are soft spots in the Jaguars defense, as talented as it is, but it will probably require Brady being able to grip a football for the Patriots to exploit them. His teammates seem confident he'll be able to do that.