By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots-Jets rivalry may not be burning quite as fiercely as it used to, but there is at least a little bit of chatter that ought to make Sunday’s game a little bit more compelling.
Not long after Jets head coach Adam Gase declared Stephon Gilmore to be “probably” the best cornerback in the NFL, Jets receiver Robby Anderson offered up some commentary that was much more interesting.
“He’s one of the best,” Anderson said, before subtly sneaking in the real message. “He holds a lot, gets away with it. I’ve got to come with my A game.”
Jets WR Robby Anderson on Patriots All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore: "He’s one of the best. Holds a lot, you know. Gets away with it a lot, you know. So, I got to come with my “A” Game, know what I’m sayin’?” pic.twitter.com/1rqTg7OBOO
— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) September 19, 2019
Obviously, making such a statement does not happen by accident. It could be some professional politicking by Anderson, with the hope of getting an extra penalty flag or two thrown on Sunday. (We know that would tick off Tom Brady.) It may be preemptive excuse-making for what might be an unproductive receiving day.
Anderson has played six games against the Patriots, losing all six and averaging just two catches for 26 yards per contest. He was held without a catch once and was held to one catch for two yards in another game. Specifically against Gilmore, life has been rough for Anderson, as NESN’s Zack Cox pointed out:
The Stephon Gilmore-Robby Anderson matchup has been decidedly one-sided since Gilmore joined the Patriots. pic.twitter.com/26VVuXobmH
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) September 20, 2019
Clearly, there’s some well-established frustration from the receiver regarding the team that’s won the division crown 10 straight times.
Gilmore, who intercepted a pass intended for Anderson in the first Patriots-Jets meeting of last season, is most likely to only respond with his play on the field. He’s not really much one for trash talking — not overtly, at least.
And with the Jets entering Foxboro as 20-plus-point underdogs, with a quarterback making his first career start, the odds are in Gilmore’s favor to have a favorable day.