By Tim Graham
One of these things is not like the others.
Buffalo Bills rookie cornerback Stephon Gilmore realizes this. He has had a few "Welcome to the NFL" moments already, but this will be the first time he'll face a known first-ballot Hall of Famer.
"It's crazy, growing up and watching him do all the things he did. Now you're playing against him," Gilmore told me today in front of his locker at One Bills Drive. "It'll be a good opportunity to show what we can do as a defense."
Gilmore, the 10th overall pick in this year's draft, nodded when asked how eager he is to test himself against a quarterback of Brady's credentials: three Super Bowl rings, five AFC championships, seven Pro Bowls and a boatload of records.
"Of course, it's an opportunity," Gilmore said. "I'm getting very prepared for it this week. The guys are being examples and telling me I need to focus because we're going against a good quarterback this week."
ProFootballFocus.com, which analyzes every NFL snap, notes that Gilmore has been targeted 20 times this season and has allowed 12 receptions for 228 yards and two touchdowns. That's a robust 132.9 passer rating against him.
Brady has completed 66.9 percent of his passes for 887 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. He has a 97.0 passer rating.
"If a receiver's open, he'll rarely miss them," Gilmore said. "Some quarterbacks miss their open guys. But he rarely misses. He puts the ball where only his receiver can catch it.
"You mostly have to play physical with their receivers and just try to lock them down and get pressure on the quarterback."
(Photos: Associated Press and Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)