Patriots Talk Podcast: Should Pats target or avoid Stephon Gilmore in Week 9?

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Patriots Talk Podcast: Should Pats target or avoid Gilmore in Week 9? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The New England Patriots will be playing against a familiar face Sunday in their Week 9 game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium.

Star cornerback Stephon Gilmore made his debut for the Panthers last week in their win over the Atlanta Falcons. The Patriots traded him to Carolina for a sixth-round draft pick on Oct. 6.

Gilmore missed the first seven games of the season because a quad injury landed him on the PUP list. He looked pretty good against the Falcons, tallying a crucial interception in the second half to help the Panthers end their four-game losing streak.

Perry: Rhule vs. Belichick could be a TKO this week in Carolina

How should the Panthers use Gilmore against the Patriots passing attack? 

On the latest episode of NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Talk Podcast, Phil Perry explained why he would have Gilmore cover Jakobi Meyers in most areas of the field.

"If Gilmore was peak Gilmore, and we're not sure he is, because he played about 20 snaps last week and it was his first game in a long time. If he was at full strength, I would put him on Jakobi Meyers between the 20s," Perry said. "Meyers, in terms of the Pats' wide receivers, is really their money-down guy. On third down, that's who Mac Jones wants to go to.

"In the red zone, I might stick him on tight end Hunter Henry. Henry has been dangerous inside the red zone and we know Mac Jones loves him there. Gilmore is a true man-to-man corner, and when it gets down deep in the red zone, I might trust him on Henry even though he's a bigger target. We've seen him play against guys like Travis Kelce in the past and play well."

Patriots Talk podcast: Attack or avoid? How should Patriots deal with Stephon Gilmore? | Listen & Follow | Watch on YouTube

Given the fact that Gilmore is coming off an injury and has seen limited action this season, should the Patriots actively target him in the passing game? 

"I don't know if you'd want to 'attack' him, but the one benefit you might have as an offense going against a cornerback who's new to a team, is forcing him and his new teammates to communicate," Perry said. "So, I wonder if they run a lot of bunches or use their wide receivers off of stack releases, and just make sure the communication on the Panthers' side is buttoned up. Whether it's man and you use those formations, or it's zone and you try to run guys through some different zones, and make sure he knows what's going.

"He's a great talent, but is he great in this system just yet? Because the communication might not be on point. I think that's something that might difficult for a new player in a new system, so maybe Josh McDaniels tries to stress him that way."

Kickoff on Sunday is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET.

Also in this episode: Tom E. Curran, Phil Perry and Matt Cassel discuss why Sam Darnold has struggled in his career, Aaron Rodgers missing Sunday's game due to COVID-19, Mac Jones hitting the rookie wall, and much more!