As I mentioned earlier, this morning Bill Belichick made his weekly in-season appearance on WEEI. (Yes, that used to be the highlight of my week, - my life - but I left to come back to Barstool. It's an awesome responsibility. So treat these interviews with the respect befitting the man.) And he cleared up something that hasn't been addressed previously.
That would be this burning, personal question:
There had been some speculation that the band on his finger is a "smart ring," an Oura or Motiv brand that tracks your exercise and monitors your sleep, like a more comfortable, less involved FitBit. And that would appear to be the answer.
Source - On “The Greg Hill Show” Monday, Belichick put those rumors to rest when asked whether congratulations were in order.
“No need to do that,” he said. “It’s just a ring to try and get me in better shape.”
We can assume that if he and Linda Holliday do decide to jump the broom, it would be done like this. He'll just show up one day hitched. Without the narcissism of an Engagement Party, making his inner circle take a day out of their lives to watch him pop the question. And without some elaborate, self-serving destination wedding or Obama's birthday-like extravaganza on Nantucket. If anything, he'll probably go out on Jimmy Johnson's fishing boat and let the captain perform the nuptials under the Laws of the Sea or something. But I still say his ring would be made out of reforged old Lamar Hunt trophies, just because he's got too many of them to serve any useful purpose.
With that business out of the way, there's a more pressing matter that's been lingering for a while. And the news on that front sounds … positive? I guess?
In his morning virtual press conference, Belichick was asked about Stephon Gilmore's status:
I know that Steph's been working extremely hard. 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.
Big, if true. And we have no reason to doubt it is.
Gilmore's situation has been largely ignored until we hear something concrete. But you can't overstate the significance of it. Anything you say about the state of this defense all hinges on whether or not they have him for 16 games. That doubt is an asterisk hanging over this team the size of a wagon wheel chandelier at a Rustler steakhouse. Without him, you can argue they're a Top 10 defense. (Last year, despite everything, they surrendered the 7th fewest points in the league.) With him, they have every shot to get back to the No. 1 spot, where they were in 2019.
Put Gilmore on the oppositions' top receiver, let JC Jackson handle the No. 2 and Jonathan Jones in the slot and anything is possible. Or put Gilmore on the second best receiver, give Jackson the WR1 with a safety bracketing (a scheme they ran a lot of in 2014 when Darrelle Revis was here), and Jones in the slot, and now you're forcing opponents to look to their fourth best option. Move Jackson up on the best WR opposite Jalen Mills, Joejuan Williams or Michael Jackson, Sr. and it's anybody's guess what you've got. I love the acquisition of Mills for his versatility, being able to play all over the secondary from one down to the next, not for the idea of counting on him to be a full time slot guy or follow one wideout all over the formation. If that's the case, there's no telling what this unit is.
So what this does, is dispels any notion that Gilmore is holding out. Yes, he still wants a new contract. And the team would no doubt like to give him one. But guys who are bitterly making a stand, refusing to play until they get what they want or are in a "play me or trade me" posture don't show up every day to get their work in. The silence has been deafening on Gilmore. But at least this would indicate it's the silence of someone getting treatment, sitting in on meetings and getting himself ready for when he's able to come off the PUP list.
And, one can only hope, working out a contract extension so that this stops being an issue altogether. And Steve Belichick's new and improved outfit can go back to the work of locking down the entire NFL, as they did when Gilmore was winning the DPOTY two years ago. And as God intended. Let's get this done already.