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Buffalo Bills Cornerback Stephon Gilmore Talks With Buffalo Rumblings

Buffalo Rumblings asks the questions. Stephon Gilmore answers on his rookie year, the defense's progression, and the city of Buffalo and Bills fans.

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The NFL season is winding down, and while most first-year players aren't considered "rookies" in spirit any more, voting is underway each week for the Pepsi MAX Rookie of the Week. There are two more weeks left to vote for your favorite rookie by heading to At the end of the season, fans can also vote for the Pepsi MAX Rookie of the Year.

As part of this program, Buffalo Bills first-round pick Stephon Gilmore did a social media blitz on Tuesday, including speaking with several bloggers and a Twitter chat. Here's the Q&A from Buffalo Rumblings' session with Gilmore.

On the Pepsi MAX Rookie of the Week Program:

It's at and vote for the rookie of the week. It's a great program and it's an honor to be in this position with a lot of great rookies. This class is having a great season, and it'll be great if you all vote.

On Gilmore's rookie season:

It's going pretty good. I'm getting better and better every game, and I think I'm adjusting very well. I've been guarding the number one receiver every game, so I think I'm playing pretty good especially as a rookie. I'm holding my ground and playing to the best of my ability.

On shadowing the opponent's top wideout:

When we played Arizona early in the year, I lined up against Larry Fitzgerald all game and he caught one pass on me the whole game, and we've been doing it ever since. I think for me, studying whatever that receiver's name is every week, it helps me out during the game.

On being No. 7 in the NFL in passes defensed with 16 this season:

It's good, but if it was interceptions it would be great. I think I'm seeing the pass pretty well. When quarterbacks throw on me, they don't catch many patterns to my side. It's more like two or three passes a game. I think I'm playing pretty good as a rookie, and even as a cornerback in the NFL I'm having a pretty good season.

On the progression of the defense from the start of the season:

I think from the first game of the year until now we've gotten better. We had a lot of pieces from different places and we had to mold together as a defense. It may take a while, but I see some great plays made from each of us. If we keep playing to the best of our ability and end the season on a good note, we can carry it over to next year.

On the Seahawks game being a one-time setback:

It was out of the blue. It surprised me that we let them score that many points. Seattle did a great job, and they had a great game against us. The quarterback bought time and our offense turned the ball over. Special teams played okay, but they ended up coming out with a win.

On if he's ever been four games below .500:

I don't think so. It's a situation that I'm in. I'm not going to complain, and I'm going to do everything I can do to keep that positive edge and keep playing, because it's not how you start, it's how you finish. We can finish on a good note and carry that over to next year.

On his leadership role:

When I lead, I probably lead more by example, by how I prepare for the game, how I study the game and just how I play and practice. I'm not really a vocal guy. We have a lot of veterans in the room, and they are more vocal. We all have different personalities, and we mold great.

On the veterans that influence him:

Jairus Byrd has helped me out a lot. He's a great player, and he's a great person. We do the little things like stay after practice and catch more balls. We work on our technique more after practice. We probably try to be the last ones on the field every practice to try and perfect our craft. He's helped me out a lot. George Wilson, our strong safety, he's a smart guy. He knows the game in and out ,and played wide receiver in the NFL, so he knows what the offense is doing. Most of our veterans help me out really well.

On Kyle Moore's "penalty" negating his touchdown return:

(Laughing) I actually said, "Why you holdin' on me?" Once I saw the film, he didn't really hold the offensive lineman. He was kind of acting. You know, whatever. The referee made a mistake, and at least I got the interception. That's the main thing, and I set our team up for a field goal at the end of the half.

On Buffalo not being "as bad as they say":

I was speaking more weather-wise. Everybody thinks it's so cold in Buffalo. It's cold, but you still gotta go out there and play the game, and once you're out there playing football you never think about the weather. You're thinking about your job and what you have to do. As a defense player, it's kind of better because most teams don't want to come to Buffalo to play in the cold weather, and you get in a grimy game you can strip the ball. It's harder for receivers to catch the ball. It helps us out.

On the Bills game in Toronto:

It was a great experience. You still have to play the game no matter where you're at. Like [Chan Gailey] said, "You wish you could play 16 games at home, but you can't." It was still a great experience. Toronto has Buffalo Bills fans and they came out to support us, but the bad thing is that we didn't come out with a win and we didn't play to the best of our ability. We would have wanted to play them in the Ralph, but it was a great experience overall.

On his favorite part of his time in Buffalo:

Just to meet different fans. There are die-hard fans in Buffalo. We're not having a great year in Buffalo this year, but they're still on our side. There's players on our team preparing to turn things around. That's what we want to do, to try and get a winning season next year and end this season on a winning note.

On turning the team around:

Keep working hard. We had a lot of new pieces this year, including myself. Keep working hard this off-season and working on our individual games. Come to OTAs and training camp and mold together and add that mindset of "can't nobody stop us".

On adding pieces:

It's really not my job. The coaches know what we need to add or take away. I can only control what I can do. That's what I'm looking forward to.

On fixing the consistency:

I think [we've fixed it]. At the end of the day, everybody has to do their job. Everybody has to be accountable. If everybody is accountable, I think we can beat anybody in the National Football League. When people don't do their jobs and working to the best of their abilities, that's when things go bad. I think we have gotten better and better every game, and I think we need to finish the season on a good note.

On Bills fans:

They're die-hard fans. Everywhere I go I see Buffalo. I go in the stores, it's Buffalo everywhere. I go in the restaurant, it's Buffalo. It's great. They just want to win, and that's the only thing they want to do is win. I'm just doing the best I can to help our team win. It's been a disappointment this year. We can end this season on two wins and carry it over. That's the only thing we can do.