Stephon Gilmore Played The Game Vs The 49'ers Like He Was On The Trade Block
There are plenty of reports out that Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore may be traded before the November 3rd trade deadline, and after watching the All-22 game film from the 49'ers game it looked like the 2019 defensive player of the year has heard the trade rumors loud and clear.
I will definitely be reviewing game film from prior games in order to get a feel for what he has been willing to do in other games this season, but in that 49'ers game he played like he didn't want to get his uniform dirty.
I saw a guy who showed very little willingness to get involved in the run defense. He showed very little effort to get off blocks and contribute.
One thing that can be said is that he certainly played with discipline when it came to setting a wide edge for the run defense. He was repeatedly staying to the outside of his block on the edge to make sure the runner could not bounce anything to the outside, but at some point you have help support the defense by collapsing that edge inward to create smaller gaps in the defense. Gilmore's lack of physicality while taking on his blocks was glaring.
There were far too many times that 49'er wide receivers had to chase Gilmore away from the play while trying to get a block on him. One of the easiest assignment for the 49'er receivers in this game was to block Gilmore.
After one of the plays in the 2nd-quarter it appeared that WR Deebo Samuel was chiding Gilmore about his lack of willingness to engage the 49'er trying to block him. There was a couple shoves after the play because Samuel couldn't reach Gilmore during the play because he kept backing away from the block.
Gilmore played every defensive snap of that game and he his knees probably touched the ground six times. He had three solo tackles and three assisted tackles in the game. On at least one of his solo tackles in the middle of the field he never went to the ground. He had a couple of other tackles credited to him for forcing the ball carrier out of bounds. He had many more opportunities where he could have shown a much greater willingness to get involved physically, but he repeatedly seemed to shy away from any contact that he felt was unnecessary and that wouldn't effect the outcome of the play.
He also had zero passes defended, although he was only thrown at about 4 times.
Surely you don't want one of the best cornerbacks in the league to take any unnecessary contact or risks, especially in run-support, but there is a time when the team needs someone to make a play and set a tone for the defense, and Gilmore was uninterested in being that guy.
Unfortunately the All-22 provided thru subscription from NFL.com does not contain the option to download the film clips, or I would be showing them here.
I will continue to look for a way to share some clips. I will also report back after watching prior game film from Gilmore to see if this is just the way he plays or if it's something new for him that may be attached to the rumors he's hearing about the potential end to his time in New England.