Josh Gordon

USA Today

Hype Surrounding Gordon In New England

The expectations, realistic or not are off the charts and there’s nothing he can do to change that.

September 19, 2018 - 10:56 am
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Josh Gordon has barely set foot in Foxborough and the hype is going through the roof. He’s only been officially a member of the Patriots for a matter of hours since he took his physical yesterday, but the buzz is already a joke. You’re hearing phrases like “game-changer” and completely ridiculous comparisons to Randy Moss. Hell, even the Patriots official Instagram account is posted a video mashup of Tom Brady throwing to Josh Gordon with the caption “coming soon?”

And I get it. He’s been playing with guys like Thaddeus Lewis and Johnny Manziel, neither of whom is in the NFL right now, so what will happen when he’s playing with Tom Brady. Well, let’s ask the man himself. Brady told Jim Gray and Westwood One that: “I hate to make projections and expectations. That's not fair. I've never met Josh personally, just like I hadn't met some of the guys that have come in the last couple weeks. So we'll see how it goes this week and hopefully he can work hard, put the team first and end up helping us in any role that he can find for himself on the team."

That’s nice of Tom. That’s very nice of him. He’s trying to tamp down expectations for Gordon because the expectations are already unreal. And crazy, unrealistic expectations are probably not the best thing for Gordon’s health and his continued recovery.

Again, nice looking out by TB 12. Good job, good effort, Tommy. Just know it’s not going to change anything. Not in a way are expecting that just putting Gordon with Brady is going to exorcise every last one of the demon’s Gordon deals with. That just putting him with Brady will turn Gordon into Randy Moss, Jerry Rice and Larry Fitzgerald all rolled into one. 

See, the problem here is, Patriots fans are looking at Josh Gordon’s crazy numbers from 2013 and remember that he was catching passes from Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden, and Brian Hoyer. 

And then they’re going to do the math on what it would mean if Tom Brady was throwing to him. And their heads will explode. If this guy has been able to make chicken salad out of the Browns quarterbacks, what kind of a feast will he have with the filet mignon of quarterbacks? He was coached by the likes of Pat Shurmur, Rob Chudzinski, Mike Pettine, and Hue Jackson, so imagine what would happen if he was coached by Bill Belichick?

Josh Gordon’s talent with a Hall of Fame coach and Hall of Fame quarterback? Pats fans are foaming at the mouth.

And then they’re going to remember that the Patriots offense isn’t just about Tom Brady and Josh Gordon, there’s Rob Gronkowski as well. So what will that look like? How will Gordon impact the coverage that Gronk sees? How will Gronk impact the coverage that Gordon sees? And what better time to debut all of this than against former Pats defensive coordinator Matt Patricia on Sunday?

Chowds everywhere are getting like Will Hunting on classroom blackboard, figuring out these complex equations and you better believe they are showing their work. JG12 plus TB12 equals JGTB24, but then you have to add in Gronk to the 69th power, carry the one, do some PEMDAS, multiply by no days off, and you get a Super Bowl trophy. And gold jackets for everyone.

That’s the best case scenario for everyone involved. And those are the expectations. That’s the bar, whether it’s fair or not. But I’m not sure that’s the realistic scenario. Believe me, I’d love to see that happen, for Gordon and for the game of football. But if there’s one thing that we know about Josh Gordon it’s that he’s not exactly plug-and-play. There’s no doubting his ability, but there’s a major doubt about his availability. And that might not be something that Tom Brady and his performance pajamas can solve.  

The Browns did everything they could to provide Gordon with the support he needed including giving him chance after chance after chance. And it still didn’t work. And if it didn’t work there, why would anyone just assume it’s going to work in New England, where accountability and availability are the biggest things to the hoodie. Hell, ask Malcolm Butler about that. Furthermore, the Patriots have brought in a number of troubled receivers and it didn’t work out for them. Just because it did for Randy Moss doesn’t mean it will for Gordon. And speaking of Moss, again, now would be a great time to stop comparing Gordon to Moss: Moss is arguably the best to ever do it. Gordon was the best for one year. Five years ago. And has never come close to reaching those same heights since. And just assuming that he will because you put him in the same huddle with Tom Brady, is pretty naïve. Maybe. Maybe. But it’s anything but a lock.  Just like it’s anything but a lock Gordon makes it through the season with the Pats.  Because he hasn’t come close to making it through a season since 2013. 

Brady is right to try to throw a wet blanket on the proceedings: but a wet blanket is going to put out a house fire. The expectations, realistic or not are off the charts and there’s nothing he can do to change that. Again, the Pats bringing in Gordon was a lock. Him sticking there and getting back on track to that yellow jacket is anything but.