Patriots: Gilmore saying & doing all the right things, but Pats need him on the field

If you’ve seen any of the public practices for the Patriots or watched the first two preseason games, it’s fair to say that the secondary needs Stephon Gilmore back.

Now, that’s not to say that they’re completely doomed without him, but if the defense is going to be as elite as we all believe it can be, Gilmore is the final piece to the puzzle.

The former Defensive Player of the Year hasn’t practiced yet and with the season about three weeks away, it’s getting to the point where he very well may be sitting out for half the year. Bill Belichick talked about Gilmore’s status on Monday morning prior to practice.

“I know that Steph’s been working extremely hard,” Belichick said. “See him in here all the time, and he’s doing other things while we’re practicing, so we don’t really see him on the practice field, but you know, he’s been doing everything he can do. The things he hasn’t been able to do, he hasn’t been able to do. I’d say it’s day to day. We just keep trying to put days together and stack them together. When he’s ready to be out there, then he’ll be out there. If he’s not ready to be out there, then he’ll work on the things that he can work on to try to get ready to be out there. We’ll just take it day to day.”

Cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino spoke with the media on Sunday afternoon and echoed many of the same sentiments as coach Belichick.

“I won’t talk on his injury, but I will say his participation in the building has been phenomenal,” said Pellegrino. “I joked last meeting about him being Coach Steph. He’s been great working with the guys, being in the room, communicating, not being quiet. It’s very easy for guys when they’re injured to be quiet and stay in the backseat but he hasn’t done that.

“He’s been great. I love having Steph in the room, so he’s been top notch all the way through.”

Whether Gilmore is still frustrated or is legitimately still hurt, we’re getting down to crunch time for him to get back in the fold for this defense and will need answers sooner rather than later. It’s nice that he’s not annoyed with the team enough to still be around them and the secondary may be okay without him with Mills, Jackson, Jones and others trying to pick up the slack.

The group can probably survive the first half of their schedule since it’s pretty soft, but there’s no chance they’re contending for a division title without him, even if he has been a good “coach” throughout this situation.