clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Stephon Gilmore and the terrible, horrible, no good, very inconsistent season

The fifth-year player’s inconsistency could not come at a worse time for him or the Bills.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Entering the season, the Buffalo Bills were thought to have one of the best young cornerback duos in the NFL. Pro Football Focus, in fact, ranked the Bills’ trio of Gilmore, Ronald Darby, and Sterling Moore (whom they called an upgrade over Nickell Robey-Coleman at the time) fifth in the entire league entering the season.

Now, that designation seems foolish. Following Gilmore’s second visit to PFF’s worst players of the week list this season (the other being his Thursday night debacle against the New York Jets on September 15), the corner is mired in arguably his worst season since his rookie year in 2012. Against New England last Sunday, he allowed Tom Brady to complete 4 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. Brady’s passer rating when throwing at Gilmore? Only a perfect 158.3, of course. With a salary of 11 million dollars a year, and reports from the offseason indicating that he wants Josh Norman money, Gilmore has been a bit of a lightning rod this season among Bills fans. Some wanted him locked up in the offseason after what was a truly fantastic campaign last year, while others wanted to play the “wait and see” game. Others noted that he was not important and could easily be let go at season’s end and replaced.

What had been consistent, though, was Rex Ryan’s support of Gilmore. Regardless of what was rumored about the player’s negotiations with the team, Ryan stood by his presumptive top corner. That confidence has wavered some of late.

Via Matthew Fairburn, Ryan said this week that Gilmore’s season has been “maybe up and down, and maybe in the game [against New England] it was as well.” Ryan noted the number of times Gilmore was penalized (“2 or 3”) and that he made a “big mistake on that Hogan touchdown. Whether it was communication or whatever the breakdown was...” While he wasn’t completely damning of Gilmore in his recapping of the long touchdown Gilmore allowed to former Bill Chris Hogan, the fact that Ryan suggested that it was Gilmore who made the mistake is certainly telling. Granted, he notes that there may have been a communication issue, but this statement seems to indicate that the head coach feels as if Gilmore should have been in better position to make a play on the long pass.

Gilmore’s inability to make a play on the ball was also on full display in that Week 2 tilt against the Jets, where he was repeatedly burned by larger receivers like Brandon Marshall. Ryan notes that Gilmore’s season hasn’t been “all bad” (the Week 3 effort against Arizona, when Gilmore finished with two interceptions and, more importantly, the Bills came out with a victory comes to mind), but he notes that Gilmore really struggled against New England.

WGRZ posted a blurb about this same subject, and noted that the Bills need Gilmore to become more consistent, and fast; otherwise, they would be “wise to spend their money elsewhere” in the offseason. While some (perhaps rightly) feel that Gilmore has been consistent this year—just consistently bad, not the kind of consistent Buffalo needs—the truth may lie somewhere in between.

Whatever way you slice it, the Bills need “good Gilmore” sooner rather than later.