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Sunday 7: What’s going on with Chris Hogan this season?

Ryan Hannable
October 14, 2018 - 6:00 am

1. One of the disappointments so far with the Patriots offense this season has been wide receiver Chris Hogan. Many expected him to have a big start to the year with Julian Edelman suspended the first four games, but that hasn’t been the case. The wide receiver has 11 catches on 19 targets for 143 yards and two touchdowns, but those two touchdowns came in garbage time in the Week 2 loss in Jacksonville. Through five games last season, Hogan caught 23 passes on 37 targets for 288 yards and five touchdowns. So, why such a decrease in production? “You know I’m not sure in particular,” Tom Brady said Friday. “I haven’t really studied that as much. We’re trying to really get everybody involved. When guys’ numbers are called, you’re trying to incorporate everyone. He’s a great player and there’s no doubt all those guys – Chris (Hogan), Phillip (Dorsett), Julian (Edelman), CP (Cordarrelle Patterson), Josh (Gordon), I mean everyone’s got to make plays when their number is called. That’s what we’re trying to do.” Looking back at almost every passing play where Hogan has been in the game, he’s had some trouble getting separation, but there have been several instances where he’s been open and Brady hasn't looked his way. Perhaps, Brady doesn’t trust him as much as he once did — Hogan did drop a ball against the Colts that led to an interception. With Edelman and Josh Gordon being integrated into the offense, Hogan should draw more coverage from opponents’ No. 2-3 cornerbacks, which should help him get more separation and that could lead to Brady looking his way more. A free agent after this season, Hogan needs to pick up the pace or else he could lose out on a lot of money.

2. There have been a number of complains surrounding the Patriots and Red Sox playing at the same time Sunday night. This is a case where Boston/New England fans are expecting everything to be catered to them. It doesn’t work that way. Obviously, NBC isn’t going to change their primetime Sunday night game featuring two of the best teams in the league. And then the MLB playoff schedule is set in the middle of the summer. Game 2 of the ALCS has been set for Sunday night since early August. TBS/MLB and its advertisers are not going to go for changing the time of the game to Sunday afternoon and go head-to-head with the NFL. It is just not going to happen. Think about the casual baseball fan in other parts of the country, does it make sense to have this game at 2 or 3 p.m. local time? Of course not. It’s 2018, there are ways to watch two games at once, and there are much bigger things to get worked up over than this.

3. Rob Ninkovich made headlines when he went on a San Diego radio station Friday and had some interesting words towards Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce. “I have played against Kelce and I have thrown him around like he is a little doll,” he said. “That guy doesn’t want to block. When you are a tight end and don’t want to block, you’re not really a tight end. I would take Gronk and I am not just being bias because I played with him and I know him, I am giving you my honest opinion. If I didn’t know Rob I would take Rob based on the fact that he can block.” Ninkovich isn’t lying — he did throw Kelce around like a rag doll. Check out the video below.

4. There are several Patriots players who grew up in the Houston area, but they wouldn’t say that they are pulling for the Astros in the ALCS against the Red Sox. The majority of them said it’s a win-win, as no matter who wins the series they will be happy. It's worth noting the number of Red Sox shirts that players were sporting this week both at practice and in the locker room following the win over the Yankees in the ALDS.

5. Gordon spoke for the first time during a game week on Friday and it was good to hear what he had to say about making the Foxboro area home for him and his family. Based on his short time with the Patriots, it really does seem he’s doing everything he can to change his life around. He also credited Patriots character coach Jack Easterby for everything he’s done for him. "Jack's been huge with helping me move and get acclimated to the city, to the environment. He's been hands-on. Very hands-on," Gordon said. "Kinda just made this whole process that much easier for me, so really appreciative of him."

6. The trade deadline is Oct. 30, but the Patriots may not be able to make any deals based on their current cap situation. The Patriots currently have roughly $1.6 million in cap space, which makes it difficult for any trade to happen. Some of the questionable signings early in the year and during training camp are the biggest reasons for this number being so low. In the past, the team has had much more money to work with this time of year.

7. It was interesting next week’s game in Chicago against the Bears was not flexed, or at least changed to a 4:25 p.m. start. Instead, Kansas City-Cincinnati was flexed into primetime and Cowboys-Redskins will stay at 4:25 p.m. CBS seems to really be valuing this game as they have its top crew of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo calling it. The network rarely gets NFC vs. NFC game and this is likely the reason for putting so much into it. 

Related: Fantasy Football: Who to start in Week 6?