Patriots

Josh Gordon: Transition to Patriots was 'culture shock,' Antonio Brown has to find 'his own way'

Josh Gordon: Transition to Patriots was 'culture shock,' Antonio Brown has to find 'his own way'

FOXBORO — Josh Gordon released a statement just a few days ago saying that he wouldn't be commenting on his past. He didn't want to open himself up in the media in that way, discussing what led him to be suspended, or what it was like to be away from football while his team won a Super Bowl, or if he thought he'd ever be back.

But on Sunday, as he helped the Patriots roll over the Steelers with three catches for 73 yards and a touchdown, Gordon looked to be back to the form that made him one of the most explosive players in the league a season ago.

Then in his first interaction with reporters since he was banned by the NFL in for violating its substance abuse policy late last season, he didn't hesitate to answer a question about his health.

Gordon's time at the podium is limited to a few questions. He can answer them as briefly as he chooses. But he seemed eager to share his progress.

"I'm doing very well," he said. "I'm extremely filled with gratitude every day, just enjoying myself. Coming inside this building, being with this family-oriented type of environment, and just doing what I love to do. There's nothing better than this, honestly. It's great."

There was some question last year as to how great it would be for Gordon to find himself in what's been described as a high-stress environment, playing for one of the most high-profile teams, for the most high-profile coach, and with the most high-profile quarterback in the game.

For someone who readily acknowledges that he has wrestled with his mental health, might football be the best thing for him?

While he admitted that last year was difficult, he seemed to answer that question affirmatively Sunday night.

"For me, initially it was a culture shock," Gordon said. "It was definitely different. I think as I grew in this environment and got to observe other young men move and organize and act professionally, expectations were high.

"It wasn't anything more than what I think they knew that they could do was being asked of them. I was like, 'Alright, this is the way it's done here.' I could either get with it, or look for a transition somewhere else. It's tough, but if this is what you want to do, I think this is the best place to be."

Gordon has always had the skill to make anyone believe that football is what he should do. But against the Steelers, he played like it was something he wanted to do.

He caught a shallow cross, jumped to hurdle a defender, bounced off, stuck his cleats in the ground, and chewed up the last few yards he needed to get into the end zone for his team's first touchdown of the season.

He sprinted past his defender in coverage — linebacker Vince Williams probably isn't thanking his coaching staff for putting him in that spot — for a 42-yard gain that ended with a high-impact collision and Gordon holding onto the football.

When friend and fellow wideout Phillip Dorsett scored his second touchdown of the night, Gordon was one of the first on the scene to celebrate. 

There was a lot of that Sunday — the celebrating — between his teammates' big plays and his own.

"That was the main goal for me," he said, "just have as much fun as possible. Go as hard and put as much of myself out there as I possibly could, and I had a good time with it. That was my No. 1 objective."

Gordon ended up playing 45 snaps in all and was one of the team's top two wideouts to start the game along with Julian Edelman, working out of New England's various personnel packages. 

How his usage is impacted by the arrival of Antonio Brown remains to be seen. Using them simultaneously, along with Edelman in three-receiver sets, gives the Patriots a level of talent that would qualify as an offensive coordinator's dream.

But Gordon knows, before any of that happens, that Brown is going to have to acclimate to a very unique work environment at One Patriot Place. He's been there.

"Antonio is Antonio," Gordon said. "He's going to have to figure out his own way, just like everybody else has."

Tom E. Curran's takeaways from Pats-Steelers>>>>

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NFL investigating Patriots having film crew at Bengals-Browns game

NFL investigating Patriots having film crew at Bengals-Browns game

For a brief moment, it appeared Spygate 2.0 could be unfolding.

Seemingly out of nowhere, a member of the media asked Bengals head coach Zac Taylor during his Monday press conference about a rumor involving the New England Patriots filming Cincinnati's sideline during its Week 14 road game versus the Cleveland Browns. Taylor said the league is investigating the situation.

The Bengals also released a statement to the MMQB's Albert Breer:

Shortly after Taylor's remarks, Twitter was set ablaze with fans accusing the Patriots of cheating. However, further details have emerged on the situation, and it appears the Patriots were just filming something for a feature/documentary. 

Here's the latest information, via ESPN's Adam Schefter and Dianna Russini, as well as NFL Media's Ian Rapoport:

Aside from the Patriots' history involving the Spygate scandal, this whole situation is relevant because New England plays the Bengals in Cincinnati on Sunday. The Bengals enter Week 15 with a league-worst 1-12 record. The Patriots, or any team, for that matter, don't need to do anything illegal like filming the Bengals' signals in order to beat them.

It sure sounds like this whole ordeal was the result of miscommunication between the involved parties.

Updated NFL playoff picture entering Week 15>>>

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Officials mistakenly penalized Chiefs five yards for a 10-yard penalty vs. Patriots

Officials mistakenly penalized Chiefs five yards for a 10-yard penalty vs. Patriots

Referee Jerome Boger and his crew are receiving plenty of criticism Monday after an awful officiating performance in Sunday's Week 14 game between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs.

There were plenty of missed calls throughout the evening.

Patriots rookie wide receiver N'Keal Harry dove toward the pylon early in the fourth quarter for what looked like a touchdown. The officials ruled Harry stepped out of bounds at the 3-yard line even though replays clearly showed he hadn't. The officials likely cost the Patriots a touchdown shortly before the Harry mistake when they ruled Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce down by contact and blew the play dead despite a clear fumble and recovery by New England cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who had a clear path to the end zone.

Despite those glaring errors, the worst mistake from Boger's crew might have been its inability to penalize the Chiefs the correct amount of yards on an illegal hands to the face penalty in the third quarter. Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif committed the penalty, which was the correct call, but Boger announced the infraction as a 5-yard penalty when the rulebook states it's a 10-yard loss (click here to watch Boger incorrectly announce the penalty).

Mixing up penalty yardage would be understandable in most cases because the crew still has time before the next play is run to correct the referee and ensure the proper yardage is enforced. That didn't happen, though, because none of the seven officials on the field noticed the error. The Chiefs, as a result, moved back from their own 44-yard line to their own 39-yard line. This Kansas City drive ultimately ended in a punt, which New England blocked to set up great field position for a possession that resulted in a Brandon Bolden touchdown run.

The Chiefs ended up winning 23-16 despite a late comeback attempt by the Patriots.

This kind of penalty mixup is inexcusable for any officiating crew, but especially for an experienced official like Boger, who's in his 13th season as an NFL referee.

Patriots react to officiating mistakes made in loss to Chiefs>>>

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