8

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina

South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore

Green Bay Packers draft prospect profile: CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina

Player information:

  • Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
  • 6-foot-0, 190 lbs
  • Social sciences economics major and Detroit, Michigan native.

NFL Combine:

  • 4.40 40yd dash
  • 3.94 20yd shuttle
  • 11.15 60yd shuttle
  • 6.61 3-cone drill
  • 123″ broad jump
  • 36.0″ vertical jump
  • 15 bench press reps

News & Notes:

South Carolina’s “Mr. Football” in 2008 as a game-breaking quarterback, Gilmore was recruited by Steve Spurrier to be a defensive back for the Gamecocks. That move paid off almost immediately. Gilmore started every game his freshman year, notching one interception and three sacks while earning Freshman All-American honors. By the time he was done with his junior season, Gilmore had registered 40 straight starts and was a first-team All-SEC and third-team All-American selection. Touted as a team leader with size (6’1″) and physicality, Gilmore is widely considered one of the draft’s top-5 cornerbacks. Compares to Charles Woodson.

What they’re saying about him:

Wes Bunting (National Football Post):  ”Is a “plus” sized corner with good quickness and fluidity. Needs to clean up his footwork in off/zone concepts, but has skill set to play near the line, check receivers and turn and run. Should be able to fight for a starting role during his rookie year in more of a zone scheme.”

Frank Cooney (CBSSports): “Gilmore plays with an astute awareness that makes him a dangerous defender to test. He is a vocal team leader who understands everybody’s role on defense and is especially effective in zone coverage where he seems to triangulate well, tracking both the quarterback and receivers. Gilmore is aggressive both going to the ball and coming up on the run, although he could use a little more bulk to hold up in the NFL.”

NFL.com (Combine): “Gilmore is a dynamic athlete who made a lot of plays at corner for South Carolina. He has the skill set to move to safety but is talented enough to challenge for a starting role at the corner position as a rookie. He is a football player who makes big plays and was among the SEC’s finest athletes.”

Video:

Video Analysis:

9

October

Packers vs. Falcons Preview: 5 Things to Watch

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers (4-0) face off with Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons (2-2) in Week 5 of the NFL season on Sunday Night Football.

The basics 

When: 7:20 CDT; Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011

Where: Georgia Dome; Atlanta, GA

TV: NBC; Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth with the call, Michelle Tafoya on the sidelines

Radio: 620 AM WTMJ (Milwaukee), Packers Radio Network, Westwood One Radio, NFL Sunday Drive (Sirius Radio)

Series: Packers lead, 14-13 (Falcons won the last regular season game, 20-17, in Atlanta on Nov. 28, 2010)

Five things to watch

1. The beat goes on

For being defending Super Bowl champions and one of just two 4-0 teams left in the NFL, Packers fans sure find ways to look upon the team pessimistically. Yes, the defense has been shaky and needs to improve. But sit back and enjoy what you’re seeing on the offensive side of the ball, because it’s been one of the best starts to a season in Packers’ history. Where to start? The Packers are No. 1 in the NFL in scoring with 149 points (37.0/game), which is also the most points the team has ever scored through four games. They are on pace for a record 592 points. Sunday’s 49 points, coupled with the 42 points in Week 1, marked the first time in franchise history that the Packers have ever scored 40 or more points twice in the first four weeks. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is first in the NFL in passer rating (124.6) and completion percentage (73.0), and each would be NFL records if he continued that pace. He’s second in passing touchdowns (12) and yards per attempt (9.40). If Rodgers stayed on this pace through 16 games, he would throw for 5,300 yards and 48 touchdowns, which would shatter the franchise records of 4,458 (Lynn Dickey, 1983) and 39 (Brett Favre, 1996). That’s a lot of numbers to throw at you, but there needs to be an appreciation level for what the offense is doing in 2011. And just think; they face a defense on Sunday night that made just two additions (Ray Edwards, Kelvin Hayden) and have really struggled at times this season. The Packers offense has earned the spotlight of the entire league, and they’ll get another chance in primetime to show what kind of force they can be in 2011. (Stats courtesy of Packers.com)

8

October

Know Your Packers Enemy: Previewing Falcons-Packers With Dave Choate

In this week’s installment of “Know Your Packers Enemy,” I talked with Dave Choate of the widely respected Falcons blog, TheFalcoholic.com, to talk Packers-Falcons. He was referred to me by AtlantaFalcons.com writer Daniel Cox, who turned down the request in fear of sounding too biased. Both Dave (@TheFalcoholic) and Daniel (@FalconsDCox) are excellent follows for Falcons news.

Enough of the intro’s, let’s get to the Packers-Falcons talk.

ZACH KRUSE: Expectations were (and still should be) high as ever in Atlanta heading into the season, especially with such names as Peter King picking the Falcons to win Super Bowl XLVI in SI’s NFL preview. Packers fans know all about those kind of expectations, as last season Green Bay was the trendy pick to win it all. The Falcons haven’t exactly lived up to those high expectations yet in 2011, but remember, the Packers were just 3-3 after six games last season. Is there any sense of panic or lower feelings for this season being 2-2?

DAVE CHOATE: It’s happening quickly. There are many, many fans who have abandoned the Falcons playoff wagon entirely, leaving it a torched shell. Others barely think the Falcons will get a winning season at this point. That’s balanced out by a number of fans who think it’s all overblown. Personally, I haven’t wavered from my 11-5 prediction, and don’t plan to do so even if the Falcons lose to the Packers. It’s just too early.

ZK: Both Matt Ryan and Mike Smith have stated that Sunday night’s game has nothing to do with revenge. Are you on that same page? Is this just another Week 5 game, or does this one carry any added importance?

DC: I think it only carries added importance because the Packers are 4-0 and one of the best teams in the NFC. Every team should want to prove they can beat a team like that.

ZK: Let’s talk about Michael Turner. Everyone always talks about Ryan and Roddy White, but Turner, in my opinion, is the engine that makes this offense go. And wouldn’t you know it, the Falcons are 2-0 when Turner carries the ball 20 times or more this season. What does he mean in a more specific way to the offense, and has there been any drop off in the running game that you’ve seen this season after losing Harvey Dahl to the Rams?