When Josh Gordon passes his physical and officially becomes a Patriots, I’m sure he’ll go into the locker room and get a firm handshake with direct eye contact from Tom Brady. It will be sincere.
That’s really all he should expect.
After that, Josh Gordon will be in the same boat that Corey Coleman, Chad Hansen and Bennie Fowler were last week. The same boat Cordarelle Patterson continues to bounce along in. The same little dinghy that dozens of receivers have been in and fallen overboard from since 2001.
It’s the S.S. Prove It.
While we all sit out here and use the name Josh Gordon and Randy Moss in the same sentence, Brady won’t.
To manipulate one of the all-time political debate takedowns ever delivered, Tom Brady served with Randy Moss. He knew Randy Moss. Randy Moss was a friend of his. Josh, you’re no Randy Moss.
Gordon bailed on the Browns on the eve of training camp. He showed up late and bailed on them again with an alleged hamstring injury before the second game of the season!
Josh Gordon is Earl “The Goat” Manigault. Randy Moss is Dr. J.
Unlike The Goat, Gordon still has a chance. Alongside a latter-day G.O.A.T.
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Listening to Brady last night when he spoke to Jim Gray on Westwood One, you can hear that the jury isn’t even out on Gordon at this point. Gordon hasn’t even begun to make his case as to whether or not he should be thrown footballs by Brady.
“Whatever receiver is out there . . . you tell them to run a certain route and they run it the way that you talked about it, the ball is thrown, it’s caught, it’s a positive play and then you do it again,” said Brady. “If it’s a flip of the coin and 50-50, sometimes it’s right, sometimes it’s wrong, I mean nobody can really depend on that.
“The coaches don’t want to see that, the players don’t want to see that,” Brady explained. “You want to know that the guys you’re lining up next to, that they got it. They’ve got their responsibility taken care of and that frees you up to think about what your responsibilities are.”
Gordon has a dozen little things to do correctly before he can be a trusted part of the Patriots offense. Showing up on time, paying attention and comprehending what he’s asked to do are three. Demonstrating on the practice field that he can repeatedly do what he’s asked against changing defenses so that Brady believes in him is the second part.
If it’s third-and-six and the Patriots absolutely need a first down this Sunday night, do you think as he drops back he’ll feel more confident in swiveling his head in the direction of Phillip Dorsett or Gordon?
How about next week? Or the week after?
“If you’re worried about this guy or that guy . . . it just takes away from what your focus needs to be as an individual,” Brady said (he was speaking about receivers in general, not Gordon). “Everybody wants good teammates that can focus on, as an individual, what they have to do in order to help the team.”
Gordon may help the team. He may help it in ways unforeseen. But, as opposed to his time in Cleveland where he was treated as a pseudo-savior, my suspicion is that he’s going to have to earn the chance to help. And nobody will grade him harder than the quarterback.