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Stephon Gilmore girding for his first Tom Brady experience


By Tim Graham

Mark Sanchez.

Matt Cassel.

Brandon Weeden.

Tom Brady.

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.", 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)

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |