Yesterday morning, news broke that Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon was stepping away from football in order to improve his mental health. The news came via a twitter post from Gordon. Soon after the post, multiple media members tweeted that Gordon was actually being suspended by the league due to a “violation of his reinstatement policy.” The news is very disappointing and you can not help but feel for Gordon, who has an immense history with drug and alcohol problems. However, we all knew this was a real possibility for Gordon. There was always a very strong chance that Gordon could relapse and frankly, I am surprised that he made it 11 weeks with New England and played such a big role that he did.
We are all left speculating now about New England’s offense and their odds of making the Super Bowl this season. Without question, the Patriots came to rely on the 6’3 225 pound playmaking receiver and will struggle to find his replacement this deep into the season. Through this season, Gordon had 40 receptions for 720 total yards and 3 touchdowns. Seemingly, New England has three options to try and replace Gordon. Chris Hogan could take on a bigger role in the offense like we have seen in past seasons, Phillip Dorsett could be featured much more in the Patriots’ offense as he was before New England acquired Gordon or Cordarrelle Patterson could try to fill the shoes of Gordon. Personally, I think the most likely scenario is both Phillip Dorsett and Chris Hogan will have a bigger role for the Patriots in the upcoming weeks. So far this season, both players have combined for 56 receptions for 724 yards and 5 touchdowns. There is enough chemistry between Dorsett, Hogan and Brady that could allow for New England’s offense to replace Gordon’s production. However, this season, the Patriots will not be able to replace Gordon’s playmaking ability. Gordon is a special talent and displayed his ability to go over the top of defenders to make circus catches and other than tight end Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots do not have another talent like Gordon on their roster. This is the biggest reason why I believe the Patriots will fall short of the Super Bowl this season. New England has no game breaking offensive weapons that a defense is forced to game plan around. For years, Gronk has been that offensive weapon for the Patriots but he is now broken down and can be shut down. This offseason, New England will need to do serious roster reconstruction on both sides of the football in order to continue their winning habits.