Belichick calls benched Gillislee “good player,” Shady sends support (McCoy video)
ORCHARD PARK – Things have gone according to plan for the Buffalo Bills and LeSean McCoy, he’s the team’s workhorse back on the ground and through the air.
Behind McCoy, things have been anything but according to plan. In recent weeks, Travaris Cadet is McCoy’s backup. At one point, and it still could be, the injured Mike Tolbert (hamstring). Before Tolbert, it was Jonathan Williams, and last season, it was now-Patriots running back Mike Gillislee.
Gillislee started his Pats tenure with a bang as the 27-year-old had three touchdowns in New England’s season-opening loss to the Chiefs. The following week, “TD Mike” had another score with 69 yards.
Since then, things have gone downhill for the ex-Bill.
For the Bills last season, Gillislee totaled 577 rushing yards, eight touchdowns, and an impressive 5.7 yards-per-carry average. Now Gillislee sits behind running backs Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead, and James White. Even Brandon Bolden sits ahead of Gillislee because of his special teams abilities.
For the past three games, Gillislee has dropped to the point of being a healthy scratch despite signing a two-year, $6.4 million deal with the Pats as a restricted free agent this offseason.
It’s clear that Gillislee is not fitting in with the Pats. That is, to everyone except New England head coach Bill Belichick. Despite benching Gillislee, he praised the back on Wednesday.
“Mike’s done a good job for us,” Gillislee said. “Mike had some opportunities early in the year and was our leading rusher for quite a while.”
However, Belichick did acknowledge his drop on the depth chart.
“We have some pretty good depth at that position. I feel like all five of our backs have been productive for us and doing what we’ve needed them to do and can make plays for us,” Gillislee said. “We can only activate 46 players and take the ones and use the ones that we feel are going to make the biggest impact and will be able to help our team the most to win the game.”
A tough draw for Gillislee, but some support did come his way from his old locker room. McCoy said the two often stay in touch and McCoy added that sometimes a benching isn’t exactly what it seems.
“We’ve been talking. Not really about football, just seeing how he’s doing and he checks in with me, too. I’m good friend with him and Dion (Lewis). I’m not sure what’s going on with them and who’s playing and why. You never know. Sometimes a guy could be hurt and they don’t let the world know about it or something could be going on in the locker room, you never know,” McCoy said.
In terms of facing his former team, that’s not off the table as there’s still a possibility that Gillislee could make his return to New Era Field on Sunday.
For more from running back LeSean McCoy on facing the Pats, see the attached video below: