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McKelvin picking up slack for Gilmore

12/4/2013

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- It's time for a little good news, bad news.

First the bad news for the Bills: cornerback Stephon Gilmore hasn't played up to the level some had hoped this season, hampered by a fractured wrist that sidelined him for the first five games of the season.

Coach Doug Marrone has come to Gilmore's defense since his return and did so again Wednesday.

"This is the first time that he's had an injury in his career. I think that's something that he's continuing to work on. There's not a player that has worked as hard on this football field as Stephon Gilmore," Marrone said. "He's working extremely hard to get better and overcome those things. It's not as easy as everyone thinks. To come back in there and have the usage of really his hand or wrist, or whatever he had, and we had to get him to overcome that. We've spoken to him about it. He's been very receptive of that, and he's working extremely hard."

Now, the good news: While most consider Gilmore, the Bills' first-round pick last season, to be their top cornerback and, if he stays healthy, on track to be one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL, his counterpart on the other side of the field has picked up the slack.

Without prompting on Wednesday, Marrone praised the play of Leodis McKelvin.

"And the other thing that I would like to mention is Leodis. I really think that Leodis is playing as well as I've seen on tape. I've really seen a player that is playing at a very, very high level and getting better and better," he said. "We need him to stay that way and then Stephon needs to get back to where he was, and then I feel comfortable with those two positions."

It's a complement that matches one given by CEO Russ Brandon during his weekly radio appearance on WGR 550 last week. Asked which players he felt had flown under the radar this season, Brandon mentioned offensive tackle Cordy Glenn and McKelvin.

"I think it goes unsaid that a guy that needs to be talked about more is Leodis McKelvin. He's done a tremendous job back there and flourished in coach [Mike Pettine]'s defense," Brandon said. "Obviously we all know the athlete that Leo is, but to see him step up ... I'd like to see him get some more recognition, because he's had an outstanding year."