Josh Gordon is easy to root for in every way Antonio Brown was not

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That was higher.

A minimum of by way of the kind of destruction the New England Patriots had been in a position to dole out to a fellow AFC East patsy, final week’s 43-Zero dismantling of the Miami Dolphins was a extra full effort than Sunday’s 30-14 win over the New York Jets.

However Sunday was simpler to look at.

Even with the kind of particular groups hiccup that Gunner Olszewski offered in coughing up his staff’s first allowed landing of the 2019 season. Backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham threw a pick-six on one in every of three of the one passes he’ll in all probability throw all yr, yet another than Tom Brady has managed to throw over 103 extra makes an attempt. Julian Edelman suffered an harm to his ribs, leaving his standing for Sunday’s sport in Buffalo in some stage of doubt.

Sony Michel can’t appear to seek out any operating room, Stephen Gostkowski is dangerously near turning into the following Billy Cundiff relatively than the following Adam Vinatieri, and Invoice Belichick didn’t even ask Dana Jacobson the place she was registered.

Granted, there have been much more considerations — or as many as you’ll be able to realistically muster for the Three-Zero Patriots — that arose from the Jets sport. Nevertheless it was a heck of much more enjoyable.

That’s not solely due to the absence of Antonio Brown, launched by the staff on Friday after the large receiver continued to mild the quick fuse that dangled from his relevancy. If it felt considerably cleaner to cheer for the Patriots within the hours after Brown burned no matter bridge remained for him in his Sunday morning Twitter meltdown, permitting the followers at Gillette Stadium to keep away from a duplicitous response upon seeing him in a New England uniform for the primary time.

However you might argue one of many explanation why this sport was simply downright extra gratifying, it was partly due to one other large receiver who occurs to have the “troubled” adjective following his references in print, albeit for fully totally different causes.

For a couple of moments, it regarded like Josh Gordon’s season may need come to an early standstill very similar to his former teammate Brown. The Patriots large receiver sat on the sideline in ache after wrenching his finger on an opponent’s helmet, an harm the staff may ill-afford with the uncertainty revolving round Edelman. However there was Gordon combating by way of it in the long run, producing a day that gave him six catches for 83 yards, together with a pair of eye-opening hauls that counsel Gordon has certainly acquired a chair at Tom Brady’s Circle of Belief.

Josh Gordon is simple to root for.

“I don’t think anybody likes to get banged up or have to come out of the game, but it’s just the reality of it,” Gordon stated. “I think the more important part is just like how many times can you get knocked down and come back?”

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That’s at all times the query with Gordon, so far as his long-term availability is worried. Whereas the Patriots could have needed to sit round and waited for Brown’s week-to-week standing relying on how the NFL needed at hand out self-discipline for the sexual assault costs towards him, it’s kind of the identical approach with Gordon and his sobriety.

What number of occasions can he get knocked down and are available again?

There’s a sure sense of that query in each approach the Patriots seemingly deal with Gordon. For all his expertise, Gordon is sort of a imaginative and prescient within the clouds, an apparition which may linger for simply sufficient time so that you can seize a snapshot. Or, the wind would possibly come. It’s unpredictable, simply as is Gordon’s capacity to maintain himself sober.

However no matter he’s doing with the Patriots is working thus far. The staff seems to carry him — get this, Antonio — accountable when requested about him throughout press briefings. There isn’t any suggestion that Gordon is the golden goose for Tom Brady, who has already confirmed he can win with Reche Caldwell as his most important man, for God’s sake.

He’s now performed in 14 video games for the Patriots, 11 earlier than being handed yet one more season-ending suspension final yr, and three this season. Contemplate that the 28-year-old had managed to play a complete of 10 video games from 2014-17, and that alone speaks to the distinction in self-discipline in Banner-Heavy Foxborough versus Yahoo Cleveland.

But he’s a ticking time bomb with no predictability, seemingly saddled with a illness (from every little thing that we all know, given his historical past) that’s as confounding for these with it as it’s for these attempting to know it. The Patriots aren’t cradling him, which makes him match into the supposed Patriot Approach in each approach that Brown didn’t. I imply, if the Antonio Brown signing was complicated within the first place, evaluate it to the kind of effort that Gordon gave on Sunday. Preventing to be right here. Preventing to stay right here.

Gordon is a bodily presence. He proved that a lot towards the Jets.

It’s his psychological presence that causes concern. Nevertheless it’s additionally that battle that makes him really easy to cheer for, a person battling to re-take his place of being probably the most feared large receivers within the sport.

That battle is happening, all whereas preserving psychological focus a precedence.

Josh Gordon ought to make it straightforward to be a Patriot fan.

One thing that Antonio Brown made damned close to not possible.

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