The Patriots have a long history of veteran receivers coming in and having a tough time acclimating themselves to the offense. They haven’t learned the system and haven’t been able to get on the same page as Brady. How do they avoid this happening with Josh Gordon? It’s simple, don’t make him learn the whole offense.
I know the Patriots are all about exploiting mismatches and having every player on the field be able to play every position, but I think Gordon is a special case. If I was in charge, I’d have him basically just try to beat man coverage. Run a few different routes – gos, slants, posts, corners, things like that – and make the defense try to stop him. His immense talent essentially ensures that the defense will have to devote extra attention to him, and that will free up other players. Imagine the Patriots line up Gordon on the left, Rob Gronkowski on the right, Julian Edelman in the slot, and James White in the backfield. How does a defense even begin to think about covering that?
The biggest concern for me is getting Gordon on the field and keeping him there. Why try to have him do what so many others have failed to do? Especially since so many of those receivers have had the offseason to prepare to be here. Gordon is coming in week 3, and has no time to get ready for the season. Let him do what he does best and try to get the ball to him a few times a game. Even if he only plays 15-20 snaps a game, it will be a nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators.
The addition of Gordon could be a great one for the Patriots, or it could be useless. I’m concerned that if they try to throw the whole playbook at him, that it won’t work out. Of course, based on the many off field incidents he’s had, it may not work out anyway. But I think giving him a niche role in the offense is the best way to ensure that, if he keeps his nose clean, he can be successful here.
Pat is the host of the Weekend Warrior Podcast
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