The New England Patriots have been consistent with their message about Josh Gordon. He’s picking up the offense well so far. But it didn’t translate to anything on the field until Sunday against the Dolphins.
Gordon played only 18 snaps and caught his two targets, but he at least demonstrated some understanding of the Patriots offense and where to be for Tom Brady to throw him the football. So when head coach Bill Belichick compliments Gordon for the way he’s handled his work on the Patriots playbook, he may not just be blowing smoke.
“Josh has worked hard, he’s a smart kid and he’s got quite a bit of experience,” said Belichick during his Monday conference call. “He’s, obviously, played in a lot of different systems with different coordinators and so forth. So, I think one way or the other, he’s probably experienced things that we’re doing in one of those systems that he’s been involved in. So, he’s been able to pick things up quickly and has experience doing different things, so it was good to get him out there. We’ll just see how it goes, take it week-to-week here.”
Gordon almost certainly sees some similarities to the Patriots’ system that he learned under Todd Haley. The Browns offensive coordinator is heavily influenced by the “Erhardt-Perkins” system, as is Josh McDaniels. So there is likely some verbiage, at the very least, that Gordon recognizes.
The Brady-Gordon Connection
Brady is already showing some level of trust delivering Gordon the ball. Both of Gordon’s targets came on third down, and he converted on both. His first catch came in the red zone to set up first-and-goal. On his second, he broke a pair of tackles and nearly ripped off a massive run after the catch. He had to settle for 13 yards.
By describing the team’s approach with Gordon as “week-to-week”, Belichick hinted that the Patriots plan to continue to exercise patience with their newest receiver. Especially now that Julian Edelman is back, Gordon would be hard-pressed to see a significant increase in snaps as soon as Thursday night against the Indianapolis Colts.
But it’s still a promising sign that the Patriots are taking the long view with Gordon, that the receiver is showing up and putting the work in, and that he doesn’t appear in any danger of dropping off his current status. Most importantly, Gordon appears to be rapidly developing into a viable option for an offense in need of weapons. We’ll see how it goes from here.
— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for all Patriots updates from 98.5 The Sports Hub.