The football world groaned when the Browns shipped Josh Gordon to the New England Patriots for a fifth-round pick. It felt like another case of the football rich getting richer by adding a talented Womens Grady Jarrett Jersey , yet troubled receiver.When Gordon arrived, there was a bit of a question as to how he would fit into the Patriots’ complex passing game and gel with already established players like Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman. The Patriots used a simple, but shockingly rare concept to help Gordon immediately become a weapon for them: they asked him to do what he does best. New England did just that in their 31-17 win over the Green Bay Packers as Gordon reached 130 yards and a touchdown, his second 100-yard game in three weeks.Gordon isn’t a technical route running savant like Antonio Brown, but he is big, fast, and a terror with the ball in his hands. Here are a few plays that show what Gordon does well and how the Patriots find success with him in their game plan.Throw the ball up to Gordon, and let him go get it.There aren’t many cornerbacks who can cover Gordon in one-on-one situations. His explosion off the line is rare for a receiver of his size. Once he gets past the corner covering him, he just needs a chance at the ball in the air to create a big play. Even with the all the games Gordon has missed through his career, he’s still an explosive presence on the field. That shows up on shorter slant routes as well as the longer routes down the field.Get the ball into Gordon’s hands and get out of the wayAgain, Gordon is great at getting off of the line of scrimmage. On this slant route, the Packers cornerback has no chance to catch up Gordon once he releases inside. Gordon breaks inside, accelerates away from the corner, and the ball is delivered inside perfectly for him to pick up yards after the catch.Once Gordon got the ball into his hands, he was able to pick up an extra six yards with the cornerback trailing him, and he even spun his way forward to maximize the amount of yards he was gaining. New England has also allowed Gordon to get yards after the catch on shorter routes where he immediately has room to work. Gordon finds running lanes like a running backOn this play, Gordon is just running a little hitch route. With the way that the Packers coverage unveiled itself Authentic Takkarist McKinley Jersey , Gordon immediately had about five yards of room to work with and found a nice lane to split the two defenders coming towards him.Gordon accelerated up the field for a first down and almost made a Packers defender miss with a spin move once he got going. There are only a handful of receivers at Gordon’s size who have the vision and the ball-carrying abilities that he has — these are the areas where he wins.Gordon’s spatial awareness also helps him when the ball is in the air and potentially in danger of being intercepted.Gordon creates big plays before catching the ballLike the other plays, Gordon isn’t running a flashy route. The Patriots have him posted as an outside receiver and just run him up the sideline. The Packers have a safety that’s rotating over the top and in position to make a play on the ball. As the ball arrives, so does the safety, but Gordon undercuts the safety before the pass can be intercepted and exploded for the game-sealing 51-yard touchdown. He showed off fantastic awareness to know where he was on the field in relation to where the ball was arriving and where the safety was traveling from.These are the plays that make Gordon a great receiver, and he doesn’t even need to run a complete route tree to be an impact player. The game plan for Gordon is easy: run slants, deep routes, and plays that get him in space immediately — then get the hell out of the way. As usual, the Patriots just know how to put their players in position to succeed and that’s showing with the recent success that Josh Gordon is having.Ricardo Allen injury: If the safety misses significant time, the Falcons are in big trouble The Falcons have sort of weathered the storm with Keanu Neal out. Damontae Kazee and Jordan Richards haven’t been amazing, but they’re been at least solid (more Kazee than Richards, of course). The bigger troubles have been in the front seven, where a lack of a quality pass rush and some middling linebacker play have hurt.That said, the Falcons are far worse off than they would be with Neal in the lineup, But what happens if Ricardo Allen misses significant time, too?In this unbelievable nightmare hellscape of a season, that possibility is now on the table. We will likely start hearing about Allen’s status as soon as tomorrow, but the possibility that the Falcons could be down two excellent safeties should and will fill every Falcons fan with dread. There’s almost zero chance the team would charge ahead with Damontae Kazee , Jordan Richards and Keith Tandy between the two positions, even if all three have starting experience at this point. Before I go any further, I’d like to stress that I don’t know that Allen will be out for any length of time. This season has taught me to expect the worst. Why they’re in trouble Allen’s just a quality safety, one who is acknowledged as an effective communicator and leader for this defense. Without him out there, the team is leaning on players who just don’t have that experience and reputation. They’re also relying on players who haven’t shown the aptitude to make the kind of absurdly difficult, play-saving open field tackles that Allen has perfected over the last few seasons, though Kazee has shown some real promise in that regard. Allen’s strengths have never exactly earned him recognition from the fanbase, but we’ve come to increasingly appreciate him as the defense has improved. If the team lost physicality and playmaking ability with Neal, they’re losing steadiness and leadership with Allen. Both will hurt a lot.How they might address the positionFirst of all, Damontae Kazee will likely start at free safety for the rest of the year if Allen’s out. That’s the easy part, I think, because Kazee has shown promise there and the Falcons have shown they trust him there. The hard part comes from trying to figure out what to do at strong safety over the long haul, because the Falcons don’t have any slam dunk candidates in-house.One option would be Jordan Richards, who filled in against the Panthers and showed some solid instincts against the run combined with not-so-solid instincts in coverage. He was known for his adventures with the Patriots, who gave him away for nothing despite the state of their defense, so that’s unlikely to be more than a stopgap option. Ditto Keith Tandy, who was inactive against the Saints despite a long history of starting games for the Buccaneers and playing reasonably well doing so. The other Womens Brandon Fusco Jersey , more unorthodox option would be to put Brian Poole at strong safety. Poole isn’t big, but he’s extremely physical. His coverage has not been inspiring this year to this point, but he’d likely be better than Richards in that regard, and the Falcons could roll out Blidi Wreh-Wilson or Isaiah Oliver at cornerback if they shifted him over. It’d be a pretty big shift, but one I think Poole could probably handle.The final option is to replace him with an outside candidate. Eric Reid is the obvious choice given his skillset, relative youth, and history of production, but he’s gone unsigned this entire time as he pursues a collusion case against the NFL, so for better or (more likely) for worse I’m guessing we won’t see Atlanta sign him. That leaves guys like the amusingly-named Fish Smithson, former quality starters with recent difficulties like T.J. Ward and Tyvon Branch, and bargain basement types to fill out the back end of the roster. There’s just not as much out there as there once was, and it’s frustrating to realize that the team really would have had the opportunity to use Ron Parker had they kept him around. Any way you slice it, the Falcons defense will be worse without Ricardo Allen. Hope against hope that he can come back healthy soon so we don’t have to find out just how much worse.

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