The Buffalo Bills defense as a whole didn't come close to meeting expectations. However, if there was one area that exceeded expectations in 2015, it was the cornerback position. Stephon Gilmore and Ronald Darby made multiple plays in pass defense and made it very difficult for quarterbacks to find their top receivers.
Per NFL.com stats, Gilmore had 21 passes defensed, 11th in the NFL, and three interceptions in 12 games while Darby had 23 passes defensed, fifth in the NFL, with two interceptions as a rookie in 15 games. The only other duo to come close to this total were Trumaine Johnson (24 passes defensed) and Janoris Jenkins (18 passes defensed) of the Rams.
Gilmore and Darby were excellent together in 2015, but Tim McDonald, Buffalo's secondary coach, expects even more from the duo in 2016 and beyond. McDonald sat down with Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com on the webshow Unfiltered. During his appearance, McDonald said he expects to see the pass breakups by Gilmore and Darby turn into interceptions.
“There’s a saying,” said McDonald. “If you touch it, you catch it. We dropped far too many interceptions. Those are opportunities. Those are game changers. I think Steph probably had a few more drops than Darby did. We talk about it all the time. Positioning your body the right way, positioning your hands the right way, thumbs up and thumbs together. Those guys are getting better at those things, but over time I think those guys will become pretty good and those PBUs will turn into interceptions.”
Gilmore and Darby were both among the NFL's top cornerbacks in 2015, but increasing their interception totals is the next step for the duo.