Patriots

Patriots' WR group among NFL's worst? PFF unveils 2019 season rankings

Patriots' WR group among NFL's worst? PFF unveils 2019 season rankings

The New England Patriots' group of wide receivers could look a lot different in a few months, but right now with training camp underway, there's not a lot of top-tier talent to get excited about.

Julian Edelman, who won Super Bowl LIII MVP in February, easily is the player on the team's WR depth chart. After him, the talent level drops off quite a bit. Rookie wideout N'Keal Harry has shown promise early in camp and veteran Phillip Dorsett played well in the playoffs last season, but there's still not a ton for quarterback Tom Brady to work with. 

Pro Football Focus recently unveiled their rankings of the top wide receiver groups in the NFL entering the 2019 season. The Patriots ranked 26th on PFF's list.

Here's what PFF had to say about New England's receiving corps:

No matter who the Patriots employ from the outside, they always seem to make it work. A corps made up of former castoffs Phillip Dorsett, Cordarelle Patterson and Josh Gordon complemented Julian Edelman nicely in 2018, as each hauled in at least three touchdowns and graded in the 67.0-73.5 range. But the latter two are out of the picture (at least for now with Gordon). Now rookie N’Keal Harry, who notched the fourth-highest receiving grade among draft-eligible wideouts (87.8) a season ago, is expected to take on a key role out of the gate.

Josh Gordon remains suspended indefinitely, and if he returns to the Patriots at any point this season, they probably would shoot up these rankings. Gordon tallied 40 receptions for 720 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games with the Patriots last season before being suspended again in December. The veteran wideout is the type of deep-threat the Patriots currently lack on their WR depth chart.

Harry is the real X-factor in the Pats passing attack entering the new season.

He's the first wide receiver ever drafted in the first round by Bill Belichick during his tenure as Patriots head coach, so clearly the team believes he can contribute right away. His impressive size, strength and ability to make tough catches in traffic should help him make a smooth transition to the pro game.

The Patriots are the only team ranked in the bottom-tier of this Pro Football Focus wide receiver list that has a great quarterback. Brady has made the most out of mediocre wide receiver groups many times in his career, so the lack of elite talent throughout the WR depth chart is not a huge weakness for the Patriots. That said, they do need some of these receivers to step up in 2019, especially with the tight end group also looking weak following Rob Gronkowski's retirement. 

Tom Brady still NFL's best QB? PFF reveals 2019 rankings>>>

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Tom Brady and Jamal Adams sound off on NFL officiating during Jaguars vs Titans

Tom Brady and Jamal Adams sound off on NFL officiating during Jaguars vs Titans

Tom Brady couldn't contain his disappointment in NFL officiating Thursday night after Titans edge rusher Kamalei Correa was flagged for roughing Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew. 

Here's the play that netted the Jaguars 15 yards during a first-half drive:

For two seasons now, the NFL has been trying to protect quarterbacks from plays where defensive players drive them into the ground on sacks and/or QB hits. Plenty of quarterbacks have suffered collarbone and/or shoulder injuries that cause them to miss significant time, so the league has put an emphasis on calling bigger hits on quarterbacks. 

But sometimes, plays like these don't warrant a 15-yard penalty and players have been expressing their frustration lately. 

Jamal Adams was recently fined for a hit on Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield on Monday Night Football, calling the league a "damn joke" for fining him. And if a quarterback is complaining about a rule protecting quarterbacks, then it's probably time to reconsider how it's being called out on the field. 

Brady and Adams will square off against each other this Sunday when the Jets visit the Patriots in Week 3, so it'll be interesting to see what Adams will do if he has a chance to put a hit on Brady, and how the QB will react if it happens. 

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Josh Gordon appreciative of Patriots' support: 'I love these guys'

Josh Gordon appreciative of Patriots' support: 'I love these guys'

Josh Gordon is settled in and feeling more comfortable than ever in his second year in New England.

It hasn't been the easiest road for the Patriots wide receiver, who was acquired from the Cleveland Browns 12 months ago. Gordon played in 11 games with the Patriots last season before being suspended for violating the terms of his reinstatement under the league's substance-abuse policy.

But the 28-year-old has received immense support from his Patriots family through it all, and for that he's appreciative.

“It feels like I am back home," Gordon told reporters on Thursday. "It is a home environment. I love these guys. They corralled around me to support me, showed me love and I appreciate that each and every day that I am here. It is easy to come in and do what I have to do."

Gordon was reinstated on Aug. 16 and immediately made his presence felt in the season opener vs. the Steelers, notching three receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown. Through two weeks, he's feeling far more confident with his role in the Patriots' offense.

“Last year was kind of on the fly," Gordon said. "I got traded in the season and had to pick it up as I was going along and with the injury at the same time. It was a lot to take on. This year, I have more familiarity with it, got extra time in the offseason to study what I already knew and when I got in here I was able to pick it up where I left off and even better I would say.

"It is pretty smooth right now.”

So far, so good this season for Gordon as he looks ahead to Sunday's AFC East matchup against the New York Jets.

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