Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore brings right attitude to Belichick’s secondary

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 23: Rob Gronkowski
FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 23: Rob Gronkowski /

New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore says he has no friends on the football field, adding a competitive nature to the secondary.

Following an altercation with Julian Edelman in last Tuesday’s practice, New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore has shown that he won’t be intimidated by any receiver, no matter who he is.

The competitive nature and physical style of play Gilmore has added to the secondary during training camp can only make Bill Belichick smile.  Not only has he not backed down from a veteran like Edelman, he has also played tough against Brandin Cooks on Friday and mixed it up a bit with Danny Amendola a day later.

While these are his teammates, they are his only competition right now.  Gilmore said as much when addressing his physical play.

"“There’s really no friends on the field to me.  So when you’re on the field, there’s no friends,” Gilmore said, as transcribed by the Providence Journal.  “But off the field, I’m very respectful.   I respect everyone on the team.  Talk to them.  It’s nothing personal.  When I’m on the field, I’m competitor and there’s no friends.”"

The soft spoken former Buffalo Bills cornerback has surprised many with how aggressive he has been so far.  The physicality he brings not only rubs off on the other cornerbacks, but will make the Patriots receivers that much better.

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As far as the altercation with Julian Edelman goes, Gilmore says that was nothing more than two players competing at a high level.

"“He’s another competitor.  He comes out and competes every day,” Gilmore said of Tuesday’s ejection.  “That’s good when somebody comes out there with the same mentality you have.”"

And Belichick is loving it

Bill Belichick has to be grinning ear to ear with the physical play both Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler have brought to training camp.

The duo is envisioned by many around the NFL as a top 5 cornerback duo in the league.  With both players having something to prove, the end results could elevate the two to a much higher ranking.

While the smaller Butler has battled with some of the league’s best in becoming one of the elite corners in the game, the 6-foot-1 Gilmore will give the Patriots secondary that taller corner who can match up against the bigger wide receivers.

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Both players are not afraid to get up on receivers and knock them off their timing.  Just the kind of football Belichick loves.  Let’s just hope their aggressive and physical play translates from the practice field to the 16-game regular season schedule and beyond.