The return of Julian Edelman and the rise of Josh Gordon already have caused some problems for the New England Patriots’ Week 5 opponent, the Indianapolis Colts.
Head coach Frank Reich, whose Colts are preparing to visit the Patriots on “Thursday Night Football,” said his scout team is having difficulty mimicking Edelman’s route-running and Gordon’s physical attributes on the practice field.
Edelman, who returned from a four-game suspension this week, is known for his ability to quickly get open on underneath routes, allowing quarterback Tom Brady to pick defenses apart.
“He’s a great player, and there’s certain guys that just have these kind of unique route-running skills,” Reich said Tuesday in a conference call with Ne England reporters. “It’s hard to get that in a look team. It’s hard to say, ‘Hey, you go in there and you play Edelman and you run a route like he runs it.’ I mean, that’s hard to mimic. He’s certainly had a great career and has unique abilities and provides play-making — especially, I see it on third down, just having that knack for getting open.”
Gordon poses a different challenge. He’s listed at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds — far larger than the 5-10, 189-pound Edelman — and possesses elite athleticism, allowing him to burn defenders deep and make contested catches in traffic.
The 2013 All-Pro made two such grabs Sunday against the Miami Dolphins in his Patriots debut, totaling 32 receiving yards. Gordon also drew a penalty and made an impact as a run blocker, and his mere presence opens up additional space for New England’s other skill players.
“Honestly, he has an elite physical skill set,” Reich said. “This guy’s explosive. He’s got length. He’s got all the characteristics, all the physical attributes that you want in a No. 1 receiver. So that will certainly be a challenge.”
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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