Tom Brady left the Patriots for the Buccaneers. Many were surprised. Patriots cornerback Stephen Gilmore was not among them.
“Not surprised,” Gilmore told Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. “A player like him, playing somewhere that long, you never can see it, but it shows you that in the National Football League it can be anyone going somewhere. It’s a business, and that’s how you have to look at it.”
The business now goes on, with Jarrett Stidham in line to become the starter. So what did Gilmore see from the fourth-round pick last season?
“He came in and worked hard and got better and better as the year went on,” Gilmore said of Stidham. “He has a strong arm. He makes some tough throws. Definitely made it hard on me in practice each and every week, going against whoever I was covering, making some great throws. It allowed me to get better in practice to prepare for the games.”
This echoes remarks made by defensive captain Devin McCourty in the aftermath of Brady’s departure. But what a guy does in practice and what he does in games, obviously, is different. Still, we’re starting to hear why the Patriots organization believes in Stidham.
It could be one of the reasons why coach Bill Belichick didn’t do more to keep Brady around for a 21st season.