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Doug Whaley: Stephon Gilmore’s made a leap this offseason

Stephon Gilmore AP

Whether you call it rebuilding or something else, there’s no question that the Bills are again in a state of transition.

There’s a new coaching staff headed by Doug Marrone and a new General Manager in Doug Whaley and the chances for a long run on both fronts will have a lot to do with the team’s ability to stop opposing offenses through the air. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine comes to Buffalo after years working with Rex Ryan in Baltimore and New York, with the defenses in the Jets years being built around Darrelle Revis‘ ability to handle business on his side of the field without much help from the rest of the defense.

Pettine is installing a similarly aggressive defense in Buffalo and the best candidate to be a shutdown corner is 2012 first-round pick Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore struggled with penalties as a rookie, but handled himself fairly well otherwise and Whaley says that the stage is set for bigger things in his second season.

“If you look at Gilmore and you’ve been around the practices this spring, he’s made a leap from Year One to Year Two,” Whaley said in an interview with Chris Brown of the team’s website. “And that’s very encouraging. Any time you see a rookie going into the second year not slip into that sophomore slump, but make a transition and improve, that’s always a positive.”

If Gilmore’s progress is apparent once the Bills start playing other teams, the defense will be poised for a leap of its own.¬†With players like Jairus Byrd, Mario Williams, Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams, the Bills have pieces that can serve as the foundation for a strong defense during the 2013 season and a rising star at cornerback could be just the thing to make that defense a reality.

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12 Responses to “Doug Whaley: Stephon Gilmore’s made a leap this offseason”
  1. rabidbillsfan says: Jun 17, 2013 12:36 PM

    Good, because I wasn’t drinking the Kool-aid last year. Everybody was so high on Gilmore, I was not. I thought he was outplayed by McKelvin and even Williams at times. Did he get better as the season progressed? Sure, but he needed to show massive improvement for me to agree that the Bills made the right choice and selected him. I have a feeling Pettines defense will be alot about 1-1 matchups, and our guys winning them, he lost a lot of 1-1′s last year. Not a stat I usully care about with CB’s, but he also had a few pics go through his hands or just slightly out of position for. I’d love to see Rodgers continue his progression as well, he could be a second-tier slot corner in this league and it will help a ton when we play the Pats and other teams that run a heavy spread set. I’d like to see Williams moved to Safety to be honest… much better fit, and will make the Saftey tandem that much better.

  2. coseybedaman says: Jun 17, 2013 12:42 PM

    I dont know how many Bills fans really paid attention last season, but this guy is a STUD! The last 10 games of the year Gilmore was a top 5 or 6 corner in the league. I expect him to be a pro bowler this year for sure, unless guys continue to make it on their name alone.

  3. marcolamorsa says: Jun 17, 2013 12:45 PM

    What about Aaron williams?

  4. richc111 says: Jun 17, 2013 12:46 PM

    Wow, cool the Bill’s Defense making a leap! I haven’t heard this is what? 9 months! So the Bills D will get a chance to make the leap in back to back years. Well if it doesn’t happen this year I am sure there is always 2014!

  5. kgun80 says: Jun 17, 2013 1:36 PM

    He looked like a Rookie last year. There were flashes where you could see the talent. This year he can show if he is a pro, he wasn’t getting much help from the pass rush last year. Because our previous coordinator rarely sent more then four and playing a basic cover 2.
    As a college player he was quick and good at jumping routes and reading QBs( which is totally different in the pros). I think he and the rest of the D will be much improved… It’s hard not to get better after Dave Wannestadt was your coordinator.

  6. rc33 says: Jun 17, 2013 1:42 PM

    There are some pieces in place defensively. Not a Bills fan but it seems Marcel Darius really needs to step it up this season. Hasn’t been bad but he’s going into his 3rd season and he hasn’t been dominant either. Not exactly what they’d been hoping for from the 3rd overall pick.

  7. radioactivechimp says: Jun 17, 2013 2:32 PM

    The Bills offense will likely have its struggles this season with new qb’s in the fold and a rookie head coach and offensive coordinator, but the defense will likely make a huge improvement over last year.

    They have all of the pieces (assuming Jairus Byrd shows up eventually) to have a top-10 defense under Pettine.

  8. usher716 says: Jun 17, 2013 2:47 PM

    Truth – Gilmore did not allow a TD against him after week 5.

  9. rabidbillsfan says: Jun 17, 2013 2:48 PM

    Can somebody please point to a game where Gilmore’s play actually stood out last season? Yeah, he was a rook, growing pains aside, I don’t think he really proved anything, he didn’t “take over a game”, teams still attacked him often, and they were succesful more times then not, atleast through the first 10-12 weeks. Remember, Buddy Nix stated before training camp that Gilmore was going to help cover guys like Gronk and Hernandez. He didn’t do either, and he struggled to get his hands on alot of receivers. He was also a victim of a lot of PI calls. Not saying the guy is a bust, because he did show flashes at times, and is immensley talented, but I’m not ready to crown him a “Top-10″ corner yet, nor a pro-bowler. He is the best on the squad at this time, and by me saying earlier he was outplayed by others means just that, he was outplayed by other Buffalo corners last season, at times… myabe read a scouting report on a guy by, you know, guys who are paid to do it before you try your own.

  10. buffalose says: Jun 17, 2013 3:31 PM

    Penalties were mostly BS too, numbers/statistics do in fact lie sometimes

  11. ranman1 says: Jun 18, 2013 8:27 PM

    rabidbillsfan,

    Are you serious? I have NEVER seen McKelvin outplay anybody at cornerback. Gilmore had his up’s and downs, as most rookies do. But he definitely got better as the year went on. I’ve been waiting five years for McKelvin to get improve.

  12. ranman1 says: Jun 18, 2013 8:27 PM

    rabidbillsfan,

    Are you serious? I have NEVER seen McKelvin outplay anybody at cornerback. Gilmore had his up’s and downs, as most rookies do. But he definitely got better as the year went on. I’ve been waiting five years for McKelvin to get improve.

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