Patriots

Patriots

Tom Brady's departure from the New England Patriots has sparked mixed reactions among his ex-teammates.

Some, like Jamie Collins, were shocked to see Brady sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency. Others, like Devin McCourty and Kyle Van Noy, saw it coming.

We also can file Stephon Gilmore under the latter category.

"Not surprised," the Patriots cornerback recently told ESPN's Mike Reiss about Brady leaving. "A player like him, playing somewhere that long, you never can see it, but it shows you that in the National Football League it can be anyone going somewhere. It's a business, and that's how you have to look at it."

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As the Patriots advance to the post-Brady era, the focus shifts to who will begin the 2020 NFL season as the six-time Super Bowl champion's successor. Currently, it looks as though Jarrett Stidham is the leading candidate for the job.

Gilmore has faith in the  Patriots' 2019 fourth-round pick after seeing what he's capable of during practice last year.

"He came in and worked hard and got better and better as the year went on. He has a strong arm," Gilmore told Reiss. "He makes some tough throws. Definitely made it hard on me in practice each and every week, going against whoever I was covering, making some great throws. It allowed me to get better in practice to prepare for the games."

 

There's no doubt the 2020 campaign will be off-putting for Pats fans without No. 12 under center for the first time in 20 years. But if there's any consolation, this year's new-look team hasn't lost its confidence.

Like Gilmore, Devin McCourty spoke highly of Stidham. And the Patriots' new role as the underdog is one wide receiver N'Keal Harry seems to already be embracing.