Who benefits most from addition of Antonio Brown? Josh Gordon

Ryan Hannable
September 19, 2019 - 7:49 am
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Whether you were on board with the signing of Antonio Brown or not, the reality is the wide receiver is on the Patriots and appears to be staying on the roster for the time being.

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Instead of analyzing the signing and whether it should have happened or not, it’s time to accept the fact that Brown will be on the field and highly involved in the offense.

While Brown only played 24 snaps in Sunday’s 43-0 win over the Dolphins, it gave a glimpse of just how good the receiving group can be when everyone is on the field and clicking.

"It was a good start," Tom Brady said after the game. "I was just trying to find an open guy and [Brown> was snapping off some routes and did a good job. It was good to find him.”

Even after one game, it’s clear the player who benefits the most is Josh Gordon. And that was evident after a subpar — two catches on five targets — performance.

Julian Edelman is going to draw the opponents best defender in the slot. Brown is going to get the best outside coverage player, which leaves the No. 3 or even in some cases No. 4 receiver on Gordon. 

Some of this played out against Miami. Gordon struggled early on, not catching the first three throws that were thrown his way, but a lot of that had to do with Xavien Howard being in coverage. Gordon was able to make his catches when he didn’t have him in coverage (definitely on one of them).

This is what happens when Edelman and Brown are on the field at the same time as Gordon. Naturally, the attention will go to those two players, which will give Gordon plenty of favorable matchups in the coming games.

And that was just the first week where Brown only had three practices with the team and only had a limited knowledge of the playbook. Once he’s on the field more, it will have an even bigger impact on Gordon.

“I’m sure each week we can add a little more with new players whether it be [Marshall> Newhouse, or Korey [Cunningham>, or Antonio, or Josh, or Matt LaCosse – there's another guy that hasn't played very much football,” Bill Belichick said Wednesday. “Those guys, as they get more back into, in this case, offensive flow then, yeah.”

There’s also the off-field element that plays into things with Gordon, as well.

Last year, there was always chatter of how long Gordon would stay on the Patriots’ roster. This year, that’s Brown.

All the attention is on Brown, which given everything Gordon has dealt with the last several years, not as much pressure on him is likely a good thing. Even before the addition of Brown it appeared Gordon was in a much better place than he was last year, including referring to the work he’s putting in with strength and conditioning coach Moses Cabrera to get in the best shape possible.

“He’s been a real good resource for me,” Gordon said of Cabrera earlier in the year. “Coming back, getting into shape, making sure I’m on top of things and giving my best effort. We talk about it every day, what we want to put out there at practice. It feels good to know that we put together somewhat of a finished product this first week and were able to maintain. Now we want to be able to build upon it. So continued hard work, that’s what we’re all about. That’s what I’m going to continue to try and do.”

Gordon already seemed to be in a good place before Brown came aboard, and now with him in the locker room and offensive huddle, it should get even better.

While many would just assume Brady benefits the most because he has another star receiver to throw to, the player who really benefits the most is Gordon.

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