Bills’ Gilmore confident Buffalo can shut down Gronk
Before Week 2 of the NFL season the Bills were preparing to host the New England Patriots and “dethrone” the kings of the AFC East. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore was lobbying to cover Rob Gronkowski, “I hope I get ‘Gronk,’ to be honest with you,” Gilmore said, via the Buffalo News. “We’ll see what the coaching staff says. … I can go inside. He’s a bigger guy so it’s not like I’m going inside on a smaller guy. But like I said, it’s whatever the coaches want me to do to help this team win. I want him.”
Gilmore and the rest of the Bills didn’t do too good of a job against the Patriots tight end, who finished with seven catches and 117 yards on a day that saw Tom Brady throw for 466 yards overall. That hasn’t stopped Gilmore’s confidence in the team’s ability to keep Gronkowski from having a big game on Monday night, however.
“We got a game plan to take him out of the game,” Gilmore said, via ESPN.com. “We’re gonna be ready for him.”
Luckily for the Bills, Gilmore did not spill the beans on what exactly the game plan is, but a few NFL teams have been able to temper the ‘Gronk’, somewhat.
The Giants showed last week, and in the two Super Bowl appearances, that pressuring Tom Brady is key number one. When you get in Brady’s face, especially from the middle of the line, he has difficulty finding his receivers. This is easier said than done, and with the Patriots getting three offensive linemen back at practice on Wednesday, it will make it even more of a challenge to get to him.
The other way to slow down Gronk, is to pressure him at the line, impeding his routes from the get-go. Cowboys rookie cornerback Byron Jones did this very well when they played each other in Week 5. Jones was solely on Gronk the entire game and limited him to four receptions for 67 yards and the most important zero TD’s.
Jones has a very similar frame to Gilmore, both stand at 6’1 but Jones weighs in about ten pounds heavier. If Rex Ryan on the Bills want to shut Gronk down, using Gilmore on him would be a wise move. The Pats are missing Julian Edelman and the Bills have other defensive backs who can cover New England’s less-than-stellar wideouts.
With the Bills owning a dreadful a 3-30 mark against New England since 2000, they need to do something different, and putting your top defensive back on the Pats best offensive weapon is worth a shot, especially with other NFL teams having success doing so.