The Josh Gordon era officially ended Thursday afternoon when the New England Patriots waived their talented but troubled wide receiver.
It would have been difficult to predict two months ago that the Patriots would voluntarily part with Gordon. But here we are.
A team will likely claim Gordon on Friday afternoon. Doing so would help the Patriots since it gets Gordon off of their salary cap. It also would help the team that claims him, even if they’re out of the playoff hunt since losing Gordon in free agency next offseason could net the claiming team a compensatory draft pick.
The Miami Dolphins, whose staff knows Gordon well, have the top waiver claim. Head coach Brian Flores, offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea, assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski and cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer all were on the Patriots’ staff in the same building as Gordon last season. O’Shea was Gordon’s position coach. They’re also hoarding draft picks.
Let’s get into this week’s mailbag.
Midsession MVPs for the Patriots?
My midseason MVP is linebacker Jamie Collins. I think Stephon Gilmore and Julian Edelman are also strong candidates. I explain my reasoning for Collins in the video above.
compare and contrast Gordon’s skillset vs. what Harry can offer this year. Do you think BB looked at Harry vs. a less than 100% healthy Gordon and decided Harry was likely to perform better than Gordon in a very similar role? Regardless of cap savings
Tackling the second half of that question first, I think it’s possible that Bill Belichick did think 2019 first-round pick N’Keal Harry would be more effective than Gordon. I also think the Patriots were looking with an eye toward the future by keeping players like Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski over Gordon. The Patriots might have felt those other receivers were more than dependable than Gordon, too.
I could certainly see Harry used in a similar role to the one Gordon filled with the Patriots. Gordon clearly has more experience, but Harry was better after the catch during his college career. That was one of his biggest strengths.
I think it will be fairly easy to incorporate a player like Harry into the Patriots’ offense, because, as NESN’s own Matt Chatham put it on “NESN Sports Today” his week, the rookie will be running isolation routes from the X-receiver role. Expect to see slants, fades, comebacks and curls out of Harry. Those are similar routes to the ones Gordon ran.
Perhaps the biggest similarity between Harry and Gordon is their size. Both obviously are tall, but they’re also built. Meyers is also tall, but he has a slighter build. Mohamed Sanu actually has a similar build to Gordon and Harry too, but he’s more of a slot/Z-receiver because he spent his career playing with prototypical X-receivers A.J. Green and Julio Jones.
Thoughts/predictions on the Ravens game?
I think the Patriots win in a low-scoring affair. The Patriots’ strength is their defense, and that unit is better than the Ravens’ offense, which is their strength. The Patriots’ offense is their weakness, but that’s also better than Baltimore’s defense, which has been that team’s weakness.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is the wildcard because he’s a very unique quarterback. But the Patriots have unrivaled success against young QBs, and Jackson is only in his second season.
Do you think this would be a perfect season to have a power back like Blount to make it tougher on D-lines?
I feel like our RBs/Oline don?t pack much of a punch
I think Sony Michel just needs to run harder at times. And Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears said as much this week during assistant coach media availability.
Michel, at times, needs to stop trying to break a big play and instead just try to power through the line or a defender to maintain positive yardage.
I think the running game will improve, and barring multiple injuries, I don’t see the Patriots adding a running back.
What is more likely to be exposed on the defense? Defensive line holding up versus the run, or secondary speed vs top end receivers?
Defensive line against the run and I think, to some degree, it already has been at times this season with Sunday’s game against Nick Chubb and the Cleveland Browns as the prime example.
I mostly worry about a player on that defensive line — either Adam Butler, Danny Shelton or Lawrence Guy — going down with an injury. The Patriots’ only reserve there is fifth-round pick Byron Cowart, who is more undersized than Butler, Shelton or Guy.
I know Wynn is back at practice, if he plays again this season what do you think the Patriots do with Newhouse? #MailDoug
That’s a really good question. I think Marshall Newhouse would just move from left tackle down the depth chart to the Patriots’ swing tackle spot. I don’t know if the Patriots will elect to keep nine offensive linemen, however, which makes me wonder what happens to a player like Korey Cunningham or Jermaine Eluemunor, both of whom were acquired via trade before the season. Neither player likely would fit on the Patriots’ active gameday roster with Newhouse as the top offensive tackle reserve and James Ferentz as the top interior offensive line reserve.
Newhouse is helped by the fact that he also has NFL experience playing guard. He hasn’t been fantastic at left tackle, but he’s been serviceable, and he has versatility.
Does James White need more volume? #MailDoug
I wouldn’t say James White needs more volume, but his current season-end projections are significantly lower than his 2018 numbers.
White carried the ball 94 times for 425 yards with five touchdowns in 2018. He caught 87 passes for 751 yards with seven more touchdowns.
He’s on pace for 46 carries for 132 yards with no touchdowns and 84 catches for 716 yards with two touchdowns.
The Patriots could try to give White more carries, but he’s always been a significantly better pass-catcher.
Let’s go rapid fire.
Other than McDaniels, who’s the next assistant coach to leave the Patriots?
Great question. Let’s go with wide receivers/special teams coach Joe Judge.
Should Jamie Collins win DPOY or CPOY or both?
Not comeback player of the year. He’s not coming back from anything other than Cleveland. I think he’s certainly in the conversation for defensive player of the year. He just has to keep it up.
I’m writing this Thursday afternoon, so about to get a haircut, waiting on some Amazon packages, taking Olivia trick-or-treating tonight.
Normal suburban dad stuff.
Egg nog? How many buds/bugs
I haven’t tried egg nog in a very long time. Maybe I’ll try it on Doug’s Buds (follow me on Instagram @DougKyed) before Christmas.
Is Baker Mayfield a Patriot in 24 months in exchange for a 4th rounder?
That’s so specific that I’ll say no.
Curious… if a player is out on IR to return by a team and then released does he have to continue to stay on the IR if picked up by another team? Could he also be picked back up by the team that released him?
If a player is released from injured reserve, then he is no longer on injured reserve. The team that cut him could re-sign him.
Over/under on Elandon Roberts FB dive TDs?
I’d pick Ferentz for the obscure player fullback touchdown.
Trying to help my daughter on her math homework. Can you balance this chemical equation for me?
K + H2O = KOH + H2
Between Sanu, Michel, LaCosse, Harry, Meyers and Slater who joins the Brady Touchdown Pass Club first?
16-0 or would you rather have a loss for the season?
Covering an undefeated team would be fun.
Is Steve Belichick really a clone from that Paul Rudd Netflix show?
No, but Brian Belichick might be.
At 8-0 and huge lead in Conference do Pats play vanilla defense this week knowing they?ll probably see Ravens again
Nope. Home-field advantage is more important.
Can N’keal Harry put up enough numbers in only 7 weeks to win Offensive Rookie of the Year? #MailDoug
Nope. I have high hopes for him, though.