A. Had the chance to speak with CB Stephon Gilmore exclusively in the locker room Friday. Gilmore said when he gives up the touchdown like the one last week to Jaguars WR Donte Moncrief in the first quarter he asks himself if he could be more physical at the point of attack when the ball touches the receivers hands. Gilmore said that even when a QB like Blake Bortles makes a perfect pass and Moncrief makes a great catch - there are still techniques a cornerback can use to dislodge the ball from a receiver. Gilmore said he respects every receiver and does not take any receiver lightly. "It does not matter who I am covering - if you are in this league you can make plays," Gilmore said.
B. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady said little about Josh Gordon Friday. Belichick finally acknowledged that Gordon (who is officially limited with a hamstring injury for Sunday's game) was on the team - even though he started practicing with the team Wednesday. Brady said he has thrown passes to Gordon in practice and that Gordon is trying to learn the playbook. The Pats have released 10 receivers since training camp began and Brady is unlikely to be excited about a new receiver until he shows that he can learn the playbook, earn Brady's trust and get open consistently. Bill Belichick once said that receivers are supposed to get open, catch the ball and do something with it once they catch the ball.
The last time Josh Gordon played even close to full season was 2013. Gordon has played 11 games since 2014 (missing all of 2015 and 2016). Brady also must be frustrated that he watched his two most productive receivers in 2017 (Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola) leave this offseason. According to Ian O'Connor's new Bill Belichick biography, Brady was unsure this offseason if he would play for the Pats this season. In addition to his feud with Belichick, Brady was likely miffed that Pats traded Cooks and let Amendola go in free agency. The Pats failed to resign two of Brady's favorite receivers, Deion Branch and Wes Welker, earlier in his career. Simply put, Brady is likely mentally fatigued at having to work with this many receivers since the beginning of training camp. It has likely tested the patience of even the most patient QB.
C. Derek Rivers, who tore his ACL in 2017 which caused him to miss his rookie year, should get a chance to play in his first NFL game Sunday. Rivers has been inactive for the Pats first two games in 2018, but with Trey Flowers and Patrick Chung officially doubtful for Sunday's game it would seem natural for RIvers to see his first NFL action.
D. There has been discussion that the Pats were interested in No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield this past April who led the Cleveland Browns to a comeback win in his NFL debut by defeating the New York Jets Thursday Night. Who wouldn't want Baker Mayfield - the best player in the draft and the likely best QB prospect in some time. But the Pats would have needed to trade their two first round picks to acquire Mayfield and maybe two second round picks. Bill Belichick has never given up such hefty compensation to move up in the draft. He thought former Pats talent evaluator and current Atlanta Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff gave up too much when he traded many picks to move up and select Julio Jones in 2011. Thus, the probability of this happening was minimal.
E. The Pats will need to watch out for Detroit Lions LB Devon Kennard who has three sacks so far this season.
"Yeah, he plays a role similar to some of the players that we've had here that were linebacker-defensive end types so he's a pretty versatile guy for them. He has some coverage responsibilities. He can rush. He plays on the end of the line, handles some of the, I would say, adjustable parts of the defense so he's got some versatility for them. That's a key guy, that’s an important guy in the type of things that I think Matt's trying to do. You don't know exactly where he's going to be," Belichick said.
"He's one of the guys that it looks the same, but then he's one of the guys that's doing something different and can do something different whether it's rush, play man-to-man, play zone, play on the end of the line, drop off into coverage and so forth. He's done a good job for them, as I said, in a multiple number of roles. He's usually on the line of scrimmage with multiple responsibilities based on the call and the adjustments that they need to make. He does all of those things."
Other Injury Other Notes: Jacob Hollister (chest) is out for Sunday's game. Per Mike Reiss of ESPN Hollister had a hard fall in practice and could miss several weeks. Rob Gronkowksi is good to go - he was no longer on the injury report Friday. T Marcus Cannon (Calf) DB Keion Crossen (hamstring), DB Nate Ebner (hip) WR Josh Gordon (Hamstring), and CB Eric Rowe (Groin) are questionable for Sunday.