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Sunday 7: Josh Gordon was extremely well-liked in Patriots locker room

Ryan Hannable
December 23, 2018 - 7:34 am
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1. The Josh Gordon news took over the week for the Patriots and if one thing became clear Thursday and Friday, it was how well-liked Gordon was inside the Patriots locker room. Every single player who spoke Thursday and Friday all wished Gordon well and expressed what a great teammate he was during his three months with the team. It was also notable both Tom Brady and Julian Edelman posted well wishes for Gordon in their Instagram stories over the weekend. Edelman even changed his Facebook and Twitter avatar to a No. 10 Gordon jersey. “He was a great teammate,” Devin McCourty said. “He worked his butt off while he was here. So I think for us as players, we wish him the best personally. … I think, as people, you feel for that. I mean, if you don’t, I guess you don’t, but I think as guys in this locker room, we care more about him and him getting well and all of those things more than him catching passes.” Each player who spoke on Gordon seemed honest and sincere with their words. As for Brady’s no reaction comment about Gordon, one theory is the quarterback and the Patriots already knew Gordon would be suspended (which was reported by The Athletic’s Jeff Howe). Not only will Gordon be missed on the field as the No. 2 receiver, but also as a popular player in the locker room.

2. For some teams what occurred with Gordon this week could be a distraction, but the Patriots have had to deal with so much over the last several years that this would appear to be nothing. Bill Belichick and the coaching staff have done a tremendous job in keeping the team focused on the task at hand and this week was no different. “I mean, it’s a big game,” Belichick said Friday when asked how the team responded to the situation. “We know Buffalo’s tough, we know they’re going to compete and what we need to do to be competitive against them. So, we practiced with that in mind yesterday. We’ll do it again today, Saturday and be ready to go on Sunday.”

3. It could be something, or it could be nothing, but it was worth noting Belichick’s comments on the receivers stepping up now that Gordon is no longer in the picture. Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson got praised by the coach, including Belichick calling Dorsett “tremendous.” But, when it came to Hogan there wasn’t as much there. “Yeah, he’s been healthy all year, so that’s a good thing,” Belichick said. It’s hard to say exactly what this means, if anything, but is worth storing away for the next few weeks. Belichick is not wrong, Hogan has played in every game this season after missing six last year, but has just 29 catches for 468 yards and three touchdowns.

4. When it comes to Brady, while it may seem hard to believe, his numbers compared to his MVP season of a year ago are not far off. After Week 15 last year, Brady was 346-for-516 (67 percent) for 4,163 yards with 26 touchdowns and seven interceptions. This year at the same point, Brady is 338-for-513 (66 percent) for 3,979 yards with 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions. While compared to the rest of the league, Brady isn’t having a very good statistical season, compared to last year it is not that far off.

5. It will be interesting to see how the Steelers respond Sunday in New Orleans after beating the Patriots last week. The week after playing the Patriots this year, teams are just 3-10. Some of the teams may have got a little too excited following the win over New England and that hurt them the following week. Specific to Pittsburgh, running back Stevan Ridley still seems to be enjoying the win as he’s posted several times to social media about it. The former Patriots running back had three carries for 16 yards in the win.

6. Friday’s heavy rain and wind gave us a glimpse at the new Empower Field House turf, which looks very nice. The work just completed as it was why the team did not go inside while prepping for the Dolphins two weeks ago. It’s worth noting Belichick signed off on it, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss, so it was known ahead of time that was when the work would be done. It’s worth wondering if the team will use the facility more with the new turf installed, but our best guess is no. Belichick has always liked the team practicing outdoors, no matter what the elements are.

7. The Christmas holiday shouldn’t impact the Patriots much this week, as Tuesday is typically their day off any way. It will be interesting to see if Belichick gives them Monday off depending on what happens Sunday. Usually, this time of year the team would get a Victory Monday, but of course each year is different. Maybe Belichick views this team differently than others and maybe they would benefit from the extra day of film work.

Related: Bills looking to play spoiler Sunday vs. Patriots: A win would be huge for our city, team and organization