The Steelers came up with an unusual approach to dealing with Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski last Thursday night when they opted not to cover him at all on several plays.
It wasn’t a successful strategy as Gronkowski’s three touchdowns loomed large in New England’s 28-21 victory, so it’s unlikely that we’ll see other teams go the same way when facing the Patriots. That appears to be true of the Bills, who are aware enough of the need to cover Gronkowski that cornerback Stephon Gilmore is asking for the assignment.
Gilmore doesn’t know what the Bills will do, but he’s campaigning for the job “because I know the ball’s going to him” whether’s split wide like he often was against the Steelers or lines up close to the line.
“I hope I get ‘Gronk,’ to be honest with you,” Gilmore said, via the Buffalo News. “We’ll see what the coaching staff says. … 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. I want him.”
As the top corner in Buffalo, Gilmore will probably get his chances against Gronkowski at points in Sunday’s game. As one of the most difficult players to cover in the league, Gronkowski will probably get his catches regardless of who is lined up across from hi so a strong pass rush that keeps the ball from going his way at all would be a helpful piece of the puzzle for the Buffalo defense.