Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Fixing a Hole

The Patriots were handed their first loss of the young season on Sunday. On Monday, they traded for Josh Gordon.

They fixed a hole.

The question is, which hole did they fix? From where I sit, there are two reasons for the Patriots make this trade. One, the deal was just too good to pass up and they would have made the trade under any circumstances. The other is that they saw a hole in their offense exposed by the Jaguars on Sunday.

My guess is it’s the second one. The Patriots probably felt that Gronk and Hogan were just a bit too easy to cover without any other big receiver weapons. Especially without Edelman. Moving forward, that wouldn’t work. So, the Pats made a move.

It’s a risky move. Gordan has severe substance abuse issues, which have caused him to miss most of the last couple seasons due to suspensions and rehab. So, can he hold it together long enough to stay on the field? That’s a pretty big “if”. On the bright side, as opposed to an injury risk, there’s an assumption that if he is on the field he’ll be performing well. There is also always the question of picking up the complicated Patriots offense. How fluid will he be with only a couple days of practice under his belt? Some receivers pick it up quickly, some never seem to. That’s a lot of questions about a guy who will be your number one reciever on a team hoping for a title.

Unless, that’s not what he is.

What if the “hole” that needs to be filled is the one Edelman is expecting to fill. What if the Patriots aren’t looking for a deep threat in the Super Bowl? What if they’re looking for a number three receiver for the next two weeks? Or, even a decoy for the next two weeks? Just someone that the other defenses have to react to enough to free up Gronk and Hogan. Then, by the time they realize he’s not figuring out the offense or by the time he is off the field again, Edelman is back and they don’t need him anymore.

Asking Josh Gordan to lead your receiving corps for the season is a big risk. Asking him to take some pressure off Gronk and Hogan the next two games? That’s practically a guarantee.

So, that’s the risk-reward the Pats have righht now. It’s also a win-win. Risk? He only makes is two weeks, and is completely ineffective before you need to move on from him for any number of reasons. Well, that’s a win. He was the stopgap you needed. Reward? He shapes up. He stays clean. He’s an all pro wide receiver and helps bring you to a title. Anither win. A win-win, risk-reward is practically unheard of.

Belichick did it again.

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