‘Put me at the top of that list’: Bill Belichick praised Stephon Gilmore ahead of playoff test

"We're past last week. Past every week. This is a one-week season. That's it."

Bill Belichick
Bill Belichick talks to reporters after the Patriots' loss to the Dolphins. AP Photo/Elise Amendola

As the Patriots prepare to play on wild card weekend for the first time in a decade, Bill Belichick made sure to place the Saturday night playoff matchup with the Tennessee Titans in proper context during his Thursday morning press conference.

“We’re obviously closing in on the biggest game of the year, so a couple more days here of preparations to wrap things up on the Titans,” said Belichick. “But as I said, this is a real good football team. Do a lot of things well and [are] very, very explosive on offense. Tough group to stop, but we’re looking forward to the opportunity and the challenge.”


Coming off an unforeseen loss to the Dolphins in the regular season finale on Sunday, several notable Patriots will need to have much better games if New England is to advance in the playoffs beyond the wild card round.

Among the group looking for a bounce-back game is cornerback Stephon Gilmore. The Patriots’ coach had nothing but praise for the 29-year-old and his place on the team.

“He works hard,” Belichick said of Gilmore. “He always tries to do what’s best for the team. I think everybody has total respect for his commitment to the football team, his effort and his dependability. Put me at the top of that list.”

For Tom Brady, it’s possible that Saturday could be his final game with the Patriots after two decades. The 42-year-old quarterback will become a free agent after the season is over. Yet Belichick had no time for speculating about the potential end of their prolific partnership. Asked about Saturday’s game maybe being Brady’s last in New England, he responded that “we’re focused on the Titans, that’s all I’m focused on.”

Given that some experts are picking the Titans to come into Gillette Stadium on win the playoff game, Belichick was asked if the Patriots are underdogs.


“I mean I don’t know what we are or aren’t,” said Belichick. “Doesn’t matter. We’re just trying to get ready for the Titans, play our best game on Saturday night. That’s it.”

As for using the Dolphins loss as motivation, Belichick had a direct response.

“We’re past last week. Past every week. This is a one-week season. That’s it.”


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