Johnson Bademosi impresses against Jets, carves out role on defense
Despite his largely poor performance through the first five weeks of the year, Patriots fans were surprised when cornerback Stephon Gilmore was scratched with a concussion the day before the team's game against the New York Jets last week. Scrambling to insert a replacement into the gameplan for Gilmore, Bill Belichick chose newly-acquired DB and special-teamer Johnson Bademosi. The gamble paid off, as the former Detroit Lion shut down the Jets receivers in only his fourth career start.
Bademosi played 73 out of a possible 76 snaps, dropping into coverage on 52 of those. As Pro Football Focus' Louie Benjamin noted, the results were stellar:
Johnson Bademosi starting place of concussed Stephon Gilmore vs the Jets
PFF's official Patriots Twitter account also mentioned that the NFL average is 1.17 yards. For comparison, Richard Sherman has allowed 0.45 yards per cover snap over the course of the year (per PFF as well). It's certainly hyperbolic to compare Bademosi, a special-teams ace with only situational experience on defense, to Sherman, one of the NFL's premier cornerbacks, after just one week--but it underscores just how good Bademosi's performance was as an emergency starter.
Up until this point in the season, Bademosi had made his money on special teams. Pryed away from the Lions for a 2019 sixth-round pick, the Stanford grad was known around the league for his skills in the third phase of the game. While he'd started three games last year for Detroit, he was more of a role player than anything else (he recorded 16 tackles and one pick over the course of the season). Last week was his biggest moment in the spotlight to date in his NFL career, and he performed so well he was only targeted twice.
CBs Stephon Gilmore (concussion) and Eric Rowe (groin) remain absent at Patriots practice. Could be another big week for Johnson Bademosi.
Now it looks like the Pats might have to wring an encore performance out of #29. Stephon Gilmore and Eric Rowe have not practiced through Thursday, and with Sunday Night's matchup against Atlanta looming Bademosi will most likely start once again opposite Malcolm Butler (moving Jonathan Jones to the slot). We'll have to wait and see whether or not he can live up to the national stage: but if the New York game was any indication, Bademosi could be a diamond in a rough secondary for the Pats this year.