5 things to monitor closely during Panthers vs. the Patriots in Week 9

Dean Jones
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) Stephon Gilmore
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) Stephon Gilmore /
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Carolina Panthers
(Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) Stephon Gilmore /

Carolina Panthers CB Stephon Gilmore’s revenge game

To say Stephon Gilmore made a solid impression on his Carolina Panthers debut would be a huge understatement. The All-Pro cornerback showed absolutely no effects from being off the field for 10 months due to a torn quad, coming up with an interception, and locking down stud rookie tight end Kyle Pitts in the process.

Gilmore is one of the best in the business when firing on all cylinders. The Panthers acquired the former South Carolina star from the New England Patriots rather than taking their chances on the free-agent market, which already looks to be a fantastic bit of business by the front office.

This game will have a special meaning for Gilmore, who was cast aside by the Patriots after Bill Belichick concluded he wasn’t worth a new deal. Not only this, but the player’s comments about how New England mishandled his rehabilitation this week only add to the spice of the occasion.

"“I just didn’t like how they handled my situation, my injury. A lot went on with that I didn’t agree with. Now that I’m here, I’m able to do the things I have to do to get me back ready to where I need to be. I learned a lot there. I have a lot of friends there. A lot of great coaches. I just didn’t like how they handled my situation with my injury.”"

Gilmore is sure to have provided some invaluable input during the preparation process this week. But what he does on the field is even more important.

How Gilmore handles playing against his old employers after the way he was allegedly treated is going to be a must-watch throughout the contest.