Josh Gordon trade has the potential to be a home run for the New England Patriots

Jay Asser 20:16 18/09/2018
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When Josh Gordon became available on the trade market, the New England Patriots were instantly touted as one of the top potential landing spots for the talented wide receiver.

As if it was scripted, New England acquired Gordon in a trade with the Cleveland Browns on Monday, sending a fifth-round pick the other way. If Gordon isn’t active for 10 games – hardly a guarantee considering his history – the Patriots will get back a seventh rounder.

The initial reaction by many to the move was ‘of course’. As in, of course the Patriots, who needed a wide receiver and have a history of turning misfits into contributors, would be the ones to take a chance on Gordon. And of course it will end up working out for them, because they’re playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers.

The Randy Moss comparison has been thrown around. In 2007, New England traded for the Hall of Fame receiver, sending a fourth-round pick to the Oakland raiders. The result was a historic offence for that season and a record-breaking year for Moss.

Gordon isn’t Moss, although he does have Hall of Fame talent. But Moss, who was at times a handful off the field himself, never had the kind of issues Gordon dealt with – namely substance abuse.

If Gordon can stay on the field, there’s little to suggest he won’t be able to thrive with Tom Brady throwing him the ball. After all, he led the league in receiving with 1,646 yards in his second season, when he had Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer as his quarterbacks.

Gordon will have to learn a complex playbook and focus on running sharp, precise routes, but it’s not as if he’ll be asked to play like Julian Edelman. Bill Belichick is stellar at many aspects of coaching, but one of his best attributes may be how he plays to the strengths of his players. With Gordon, the Patriots will leverage his athleticism and penchant for making big plays.

The only thing stopping Gordon from rejuvenating his career in New England is his own demons. The Patriots pride themselves on having a culture in which everyone does their job. If Gordon fails to fall in line or relapses with drugs, his stint with the five-time champions will be a short one.

At the cost of a fifth-round pick, the price is well worth the risk, and there’s a reason why few will be shocked if this trade is viewed as a heist in a few months.

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Zane Gonzalez, Daniel Carlson and the other kicker meltdowns of Week 2

Jay Asser 17:14 18/09/2018
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Kickers are having a rough go of it through the first two weeks of the NFL season.

This past Sunday was especially bad as kickers around the league missed 19 opportunities (field goals and extra points), some of which either outright cost their team a win or played a large part in their defeat.

It just goes to show, as much attention as the rest of the players on the field get, kickers shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Here, we bring you the five biggest kicking gaffes from Week 2.

ZANE GONZALEZ

It’s been a nightmare for Gonzalez, who had his game-winner blocked in overtime in Week 1 before missing two of his four attempts and both extra points this past Sunday. The Cleveland Browns could just as well be 2-0, but instead, Gonzalez is now out of a job after being cut. It doesn’t get much worse for a kicker.

DANIEL CARLSON

In April’s draft, the Minnesota Vikings traded up to select the rookie kicker in the fifth round. After Sunday’s disaster, in which Carlson missed three field goals, including two in overtime that forced the Vikings to settle for a tie, Minnesota decided to move on quickly by waiving the 23-year-old. Talk about a short leash.

MASON CROSBY

Fortunately for Crosby, Carlson was on the other side, otherwise he would have received more heat for misfiring on a game-winning 52-yarder in overtime. It’s hard to be too critical of Crosby, as he made all five of his other field goals, along with both of his extra points, but expectations are higher for a kicker of his quality.

MIKE NUGENT

At the time, there was no way to know just how catastrophic Nugent’s blocked extra point in the second quarter on Sunday would be. It came after the Oakland Raiders went ahead 12-0, and would ultimately be the reason why they lost by a single point after the Denver Broncos kicked a game-winner in the final seconds.

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CHRIS BOSWELL

Looking at a game that finished 42-37, it wouldn’t seem like kicking made a big difference, but Chris Boswell’s misses on a field goal and extra point kept the Pittsburgh Steelers from attempting a two-point conversion that would have tied the game. Boswell also missed a game-winner in overtime of Week 1.

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Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City Chiefs continue their assault and other takeaways from Week 2

Jay Asser 14:57 18/09/2018
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Patrick Mahomes is very much for real and the Kansas City Chiefs have a budding star holding the reins of their offence.

One week after throwing four touchdowns in his first game as the full-time starter, the 23-year-old quarterback sizzled in the 42-37 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, slinging six scores and 326 yards on just 23 completions.

Mahomes had more touchdown passes than incompletions (five) and became the first player in NFL history to have 10 touchdowns in the first two games of a season.

Tyreek Hill was involved again after going off in the opener, but this time Mahomes utilised Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins more, with the former recording 109 yards and two scores, while the latter had 100 yards on six catches.

Kansas City’s attack is shaping as perhaps the best – and certainly the most explosive – in the league, with Mahomes well ahead of schedule in his development.

There were never any doubts about his potential and big-play ability coming into the season, but he’s somehow been efficient and mistake-free as well to surprisingly bringing Alex Smith’s best attributes to the table.

No player or team is more of a must-watch right now.

Here are other takeaways from Week 2.

FEAR THE BEARD

Speaking of fun quarterbacks, Ryan Fitzpatrick is making believers of the ‘Fitzmagic’ phenomenon.

Jameis Winston should be preparing to sit on the bench or be elsewhere after the way Fitzpatrick has led the team to start the season.

The veteran quarterback leads the league in passing yards (819), yards per attempt (13.4) and passer rating (151.5) as Tampa Bay are 2-0 and looking like a dark horse thanks to their high-octane attack.

Fitzpatrick has clearly won over his team-mates, not just with his play on the field, but with his leadership, as evidenced by his flashy post-game get-up on Sunday, which he says was borrowed from wide receiver DeSean Jackson.

Winning is fun and at some point, Fitzpatrick will look more like the journeyman he was coming into the season and less like the All-Pro he’s been so far, but it’s not unimaginable that the Buccaneers can continue to put up a healthy amount of points considering the talented skill players on their roster.

GIANTS COMING UP SMALL

This is not how the New York Giants envisioned this going when they constructed their roster in the offseason.

A loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the opener was excusable, but following that up by being outclassed in a loss to a Dallas Cowboys team that was so uninspiring in Week 1? That’s a major concern.

It wasn’t difficult to see this coming from the outside. The Giants finished with a 3-13 record last year and it looked like it was time for Eli Manning to retire.

Instead of transitioning to a new era this season, the team decided to double down on Manning still having juice and drafted Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick. They passed up a number of quarterback prospects, most notably Sam Darnold, to take a player who is great at what he does, but plays a position that has little relative value.

The offensive line, which went out and spend big money on tackle Nate Solder, continues to be an issue. Between their struggles and Manning’s ineffectiveness, New York’s skill players can’t make the same impact they otherwise could in a better situation.

The Giants believed the pieces around Manning would lift him up. Instead, he’s bringing them down.

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