Buffalo Bills: Can Stephon Gilmore contain Rob Gronkowski?


The Buffalo Bills top cornerback has volunteered to cover Rob Gronkowski, but how effective can he be?

The Buffalo Bills go into their clash against the New England Patriots with various intriguing questions. What will Rex Ryan do to slow down Tom Brady? Can the Bills offensive line improve their run blocking? Will Tyrod Taylor have another good outing?

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One of the biggest queries surrounds who will have the unenviable job of trying to cover Rob Gronkowski? In seven games versus the Bills, the talented tight end has averaged five receptions, 78 yards and a touchdown.

Certainly, that gives you some idea of the task facing Ryan and his defense. However, it turns out that at least one player is willing to take on the challenge.

As reported by Tyler Dunne of The Buffalo News, that player is Stephon Gilmore: “I hope I get ‘Gronk,’ to be honest with you…Because I know the ball’s going to him.”

The truth is that, at 6 ft 6 and 265 pounds, Gronkowski is going to be tough to contain. In that respect it would make most sense to put Gilmore on him, especially as the Bills best cover guy.

The 2012 first round draft pick concedes he would be working with a size disadvantage. However, he remains unperturbed by the prospect.

Oct 12, 2014; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin (21) tackles New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) during the game at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Gilmore told Dunne: “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.”

The 24-year old got his campaign off to a great start last weekend, against the Indianapolis Colts. He ended the game with four pass defenses, most in the NFL, and was arguably the best defender on the field.

Admittedly, his chances of having a similar performance this Sunday are slim, if he gets the assignment to cover Gronkowski. However, what makes this matchup even more likely, is the fact the Patriots now spend more time splitting their star tight end out wide.

Gilmore realizes that in order to have any success, he will have to be prepared to be physical. As you’d expect, he has spent a lot of time studying tape on the three-time Pro Bowler.

Gilmore said: “What he’s good at is he goes against linebackers or some safeties and pushes off. Even when he catches the ball, his YAC is pretty good.

“He doesn’t really beat people over the top on deep balls. He’s mostly going up the seam or on crossing routes or sitting in the zones. We’ll have to see how he plays against us.”

Gronkoswki had a field day against the Pittsburgh Steelers in week one. He finished with five catches, for 94 yards and three touchdown receptions.

However, the Bills number one cornerback is confident he can do a good job of covering the big man, if he gets the opportunity: “We don’t really know yet, what our game plan is. So we’ll see.”

One thing we do know is, if Bills coach Ryan asks the Rock Hill, South Carolina native to take on the challenge, he’s going to say yes: “I want him.”

Next: Goodbye Bryce Brown, we hardly knew you

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