Stephon Gilmore has just about as much familiarity with the New England Patriots’ defense as anyone who’s come through Foxboro in the Bill Belichick era.
Now, the veteran cornerback reportedly is passing on some pointers to Colts quarterback Sam Ehlinger before the 2021 sixth-round pick faces Belichick’s Patriots in his second career start Sunday.
Ehlinger sat down with the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year on Wednesday morning to discuss details of the New England defense and Belichick’s tactics, per ESPN’s NFL reporter Stephen Holder. Belichick, as Holder pointed out, historically has fared well against young quarterbacks.
Gilmore, however, played coy when asked about providing insights to the Colts signal-caller.
“They’re going to be, like I said, prepared very well. They’re going to play hard,” Gilmore told a team reporter, per the Colts’ YouTube page. “I think with coach Bill, he’s a great coach. He’s going to have those guys playing fast. But I think I’ll leave that to the offensive coordinators. If he (Ehlinger) asks me a question, I’ll answer it, but I think at the end of the day it comes down to execution and I think that’s going to have to be the main focus this week.”
The Colts fired offensive coordinator Marcus Brady this week, five days before taking on the Patriots. Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich calls the offensive plays.
Belichick shared how the Colts implementing more quarterback-designed running plays for Ehlinger has provided a new wrinkle for the offense. It certainly wasn’t the case with veteran signal-caller Matt Ryan behind center, though Ehlinger was known for being more of a dual threat coming into the league. The Patriots have not defended those types of quarterbacks well this season, although there’s quite a gap between the 24-year-old Texas product and players like Lamar Jackson and Justin Fields.
“I’m really looking forward to playing against coach Belichick and the Patriots,” Ehlinger told reporters Wednesday, per the team. “There’s nobody that’s done it better. They always present a challenge. I know it’s going to be a challenge and it’s going to be a hostile environment, and I’m looking forward to it.”