Josh Gordon

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What is realistic expectation for Josh Gordon (if he plays) vs. Lions?

Ryan Hannable
September 20, 2018 - 1:41 pm

FOXBORO -- Wide receiver Josh Gordon is officially a member of the Patriots, but his role for Sunday's game against the Lions remains up in the air.

No. 1, will he even play?

Gordon was limited in practice on Wednesday with a hamstring injury, but ESPN's Adam Schefter reported earlier in the week he would be healthy enough to give it a go.

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If he does play, he will likely have a limited role.

Since he just joined the team this week it's impossible for him to pick up the entire playbook, so he will be given certain packages to learn. Gordon's known for running go-routes and stretching the defense, so it's likely he will line up strictly on the outside. The Patriots have also had trouble with big plays so far this year, as they have only one passing play going for 20 yards or more to a receiver, and that occurred late in Sunday's loss to the Jaguars.

Even if Gordon doesn't know much, he can still be of value as a decoy.

The Detroit secondary has to respect his speed and play-making ability, so just him being on the field will get its attention. This could force a safety to shade that side of the field more and free up the other side for other Patriots players to get open. Chris Hogan and Rob Gronkowski could be the biggest beneficiaries of having him on the field.

While it's easy to look at his numbers in the past and the quarterbacks he's had and then expect a big game out of him now working with Tom Brady, but keep in mind how complex the Patriots offense is and how difficult it is to pick up.

A realistic expectation for Gordon, if he plays, feels like 15 or so snaps and a couple of targets, but nothing more.

Related: Trey Flowers, Patrick Chung missing from Patriots practice