Patriots

Josh Gordon's return making other Patriots wideouts nervous? 'Shouldn't be'

Josh Gordon's return making other Patriots wideouts nervous? 'Shouldn't be'

FOXBORO — Josh Gordon was in the Patriots locker room on Monday. His stall was situated between those of Ben Watson and Maurice Harris, two away from Tom Brady.

The big-bodied receiver was hard to miss, even with dozens of reporters in the room for the first time this summer. He stopped by his spot quickly, entered into the training room, and later came back out to walk toward a meeting. He didn't stop to chat with anyone in those brief moments, but his teammates who lingered a little longer in the room were asked about him.

Phillip Dorsett became close with Gordon during Gordon's time with the Patriots last year. He said he was happy to see him again for the first time in about eight months.

"It's just like when he first got here," Dorsett said. "We just welcomed him back. We love Josh. I love Josh. We're just glad to have him back . . . It's definitely good to see him. It's refreshing."

Dorsett added: "He's a physical specimen. We all know that. What he did last year, he helped out this team a lot. We're definitely hoping he can come back and do the same."

By all accounts, even if Bill Belichick didn't want to say much about Gordon on Monday morning, the recently-reinstated receiver will be welcomed with open arms by his teammates. But his return means the competition in the receiver room probably just got ratcheted up to another level.

This is a time of year when most are fighting for roster spots. And if Gordon, who's currently on the non-football injury list, is eligible to play then the assumption is he'll be on the roster.

That might mean someone else who was on the right side of the bubble before Gordon's reinstatement may not be. But Dorsett explained that people in the room shouldn't be worried about their standing with the team just because Gordon's now roaming the facilities.

"Shouldn't be," he said. "At the end of the day, I know for me, I only worry about what I do when I wake up. All I really worry about is how can I get better today. If I can do that every day then I feel like I'll be in the right place."

Full disclosure, I had Dorsett off of my most recent 53-man roster projection. The receiver group looks crowded with Julian Edelman, N'Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers looking like they'll have Week 1 spots secured. If Gordon is in the mix by then, then there may be room for one more. Two feels like a stretch. I included Braxton Berrios on my projection because of the value he brings as a punt-returner and slot option behind Edelman.

But Dorsett is certainly worthy of a place on the team if Belichick is OK with several outside-the-numbers receivers upon whom he feels like he can depend. Given what Dorsett has done in situations like Super Bowl LII and last year's AFC title game, he has his head coach's respect.

"Phil's been a pretty steady player for us," Belichick said Monday. "He's a smart kid . . . He's been able to deploy in a number of critical situations for us over the years . . . Solid player. Great kid. Works hard."

That may be enough to land on the 53-man roster, but Gordon's arrival may change the picture to the point that a valued piece like Dorsett is in the bubble conversation.

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This stat shows how good the Patriots defense was against the Jets

This stat shows how good the Patriots defense was against the Jets

The New England Patriots have had a fantastic start to the season on the defensive side of the ball. But on Sunday against the New York Jets, they took their dominance to another level.

While the Patriots won the game by a score of 30-14, the defense didn't surrender a single point. The first Jets touchdown came after a muffed punt by Gunner Olszewski. The second came off a pick-6 by Jamal Adams.

And in the contest, the Patriots allowed the fewest total yards of the Bill Belichick era -- playoffs included (per the official NFL Research Twitter account).

This is frankly a remarkable stat, but it's not altogether surprising. The Jets were only playing their third game of the season, but they were already on their third starting quarterback in Luke Falk, a 2018 sixth-round pick on his third team in a year and a half in the league. Sunday was his first career start.

The Patriots mostly focused on limiting Le'Veon Bell and by taking away the run game, they made it difficult for Falk to generate anything on offense. Because of that, he had less than 100 total passing yards and had fewer than 70 when factoring in sack yards.

The defense has been a big-time strength for the Patriots through three games and the onus is on them to continue to succeed. That said, Bill Belichick is doing what he can to keep them humble, so he surely won't let an achievement like this go to their heads. 

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NFL betting odds Week 4: Early spread for Patriots vs. Bills, all other games

NFL betting odds Week 4: Early spread for Patriots vs. Bills, all other games

The New England Patriots failed to cover a 22.5-point spread in Sunday's Week 3 win over the New York Jets, but that hasn't stopped oddsmakers from pegging the defending Super Bowl champs as sizable road favorites in Week 4.

The Patriots will travel to Buffalo in Week 4 to take on the Bills with first place in the AFC East at stake. Both teams improved to 3-0 on Sunday. The Patriots earned a 30-14 victory against the Jets, while the Bills beat the Cincinnati Bengals 21-17.

The Patriots have opened as 7-point road favorites against the Bills. Here are the early betting lines for every Week 4 game, according to the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas:

The Patriots have won five consecutive games against the Bills. Buffalo's last win versus New England came in Week 4 of the 2016 season, which was the final game of Tom Brady's Deflategate suspension.

Brady owns a remarkable 30-3 record with 69 touchdown passes and 24 interceptions in his career against the Bills.

The Patriots are 2-1 against the spread this season. They've outscored opponents 106-17 over their first three games.

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