History Repeats…

In one of my recent rants, I wondered aloud why Josh Gordon was released by the Patriots and allowed to sign on with the Seahawks.  The Pats are bereft of WRs who threaten the defense except for Julian Edelman who is not a “stretch the field” sort of threat.  Perhaps the answer to that wonderment is contained in news today from CBSSports.com.  Here is the headline:

  • Josh Gordon suspended indefinitely for violating NFL’s policy against performance-enhancing drugs

The suspension is “indefinite”; this is Gordon’s 5th NFL suspension dating back to 2013.  He has been suspended for entire seasons; and also, he has been suspended “indefinitely” in the past.  Since the penalties for repeat offenders of such NFL policies are supposed to escalate, I wonder what this suspension will morph into.  Josh Gordon will turn 29 years old next Spring; physically, he still has the possibility of an NFL career at WR ahead of him.  Whether that physical potential manifests itself in actual appearances in future NFL games rests in the hands of Roger Goodell.

Over the course of his oft-interrupted career, Josh Gordon has averaged 17.2 yards per catch.  That stat is the reason he will likely be given a shot with an NFL team should he ever be reinstated.  There are about a dozen WRs in the Hall of Fame whose career yards per catch are less than 17.2.  Notable among them are:

  • Tommy McDonald  17.0 yards per catch
  • Lenny Moore  16.6
  • Lynn Swann  16.3
  • John Stallworth  16.2
  • Steve Largent  16.0
  • Calvin Johnson  15.9  [A sure-fire future inductee]
  • Michael Irvin  15.9
  • Randy Moss  15.6

Josh Gordon’s return to the NFL has Roger Goodell as a gatekeeper.  However, there are several other players familiar to every NFL fan who may choose to leave the game at the end of this season.  All of them are QBs and so in alphabetical order:

  • Tom Brady:  This has been his ”worst” season from a statistical standpoint; he will be 43 years old before next season starts; his contract is structured such that it can be voided at the end of this season.  Could he leave New England for another team?  Could he leave the NFL?
  • Drew Brees:  He will be 41 in the middle of this year’s NFL playoff schedule; he is a free agent at the end of this year; he just set the all-time career record for TD passes.
  • Eli Manning:  He will be 39 a couple of days after this regular season ends; he is a free agent at the end of the year; he has said he does not want to be a back-up QB anywhere
  • Philip Rivers:  He just turned 38 years old; he is the youngster in this group; he likes living in the San Diego area so much that he commutes daily from there to the LA Chargers facilities in Carson CA; he is a free agent at the end of this year.

Interestingly Brees, Manning and Rivers have careers that have intertwined.  Manning and Rivers were traded for each other on Draft Day and Rivers is the QB who replaced Brees in San Diego.

I mentioned above that the Pats are “wide receiver deficient” this season.  The fact that the “deficiency” is masked by the Pats’ record and scoring stats is due to the generosity of the NFL schedule-maker.  The Pats have played the following teams this year:

  • Jets and Dolphins twice each
  • The entire mediocrity that is the NFC East
  • Cleveland and Cincy from the AFC North

There are 10 games against what must be called “less than stiff competition”.  However, there is another team in the NFL whose WR situation pales in comparison to the Pats.  That would be the Philly Eagles who are probably about one hangnail short of calling up Vince Papale to find out if he can give them a game or two this December.  Here are the 3 WRs the Eagles had in uniform last week against the Skins:

  • JJ Arcega-Whiteside  [You are forgiven if you do not know him from Adam.]
  • Greg Ward Jr. [A college QB whose last gig was in the Alliance of American Football.]
  • Robert Davis  [Career stats: 1 catch for 11 yards.  That’s all, folks.]

Missing from last week’s game are these folks who have played a bit of WR in the NFL but were unable to play due to injury:

  • Nelson Agohlor
  • Alshon Jeffrey
  • DeSean Jackson

Total receptions for the 3 guys who can suit up would be 27 catches.  Total receptions for the 3 guys who are out with injuries would be 1291 catches.  That the Eagles have even a glimmer of hope to win the NFC East says all you need to know about that division in 2019.

Finally, Bob Molinaro mused about a potential sports conjunction in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:

Bedfellows: I’m waiting for the story that accuses the Patriots of stealing signs for the Astros.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………