For much of the offseason, there was some thought that the Patriots could trade cornerback Stephon Gilmore as he was looking for a contract adjustment that the team hasn’t been willing to give him.
Gilmore was never dealt, but he won’t be in the lineup against the Dolphins in Week One. He also won’t be there for the next five weeks as the Patriots put Gilmore on the physically unable to perform list due to a quad issue, which leaves the Patriots without one of their top defensive players.
Safety Devin McCourty, another one of the unit’s leaders, said the team is comfortable with J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Jalen Mills, Joejuan Williams, and Shaun Wade manning the spot.
“When Steph’s ready, and he’s healthy, he’ll be back out there,” McCourty said, via Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. “And when that time comes, we’ll figure it out. For right now, we’ve been going with the guys who have been on the field since training camp started. We’ve been doing what we have to do, and I think we’ll continue to do that. . . . For right now, what we got out there, we feel good about, and we just gotta go play to it.”
The quarterback competition and need for better play at that position drew a lot of attention in New England this offseason, but defensive improvement was a must after last season and the cornerback group’s play will be essential to the Patriots getting what they need on that front.