The New England Patriots have always had something of a revolving door at the wide receiver position since Tom Brady became the team’s quarterback in the early part of the last decade.
But rarely have the changes come as rapidly as they have this preseason for the Patriots.
Entering training camp, Julian Edelman and first-round pick N’Keal Harry were expected to carry the load, veteran with free agent Demaryius Thomas expected to work in as he returned from an Achilles injury.
Since then, Edelman and Harry have both suffered injuries. Harry was placed on the injured reserve and will miss at least the first eight weeks of the season with an ankle injury. Edelman also suffered a thumb injury that he appeared to re-aggravate in the Patriots’ preseason finale. His status for this Sunday is unknown, but the Patriots characterized the re-injury as a minor one.
Thomas was unexpectedly released after his big performance in the Patriots’ fourth preseason game, but was re-signed after Harry was placed on injured reserve. Thomas finished 2018 with 59 aches for 677 yards and five touchdowns, splitting his season between Denver and Houston.
He’ll be joined in the presumptive starting lineup by Josh Gordon, who was conditionally reinstated from his suspension for violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy in August. Gordon started 12 games (one for Cleveland, 11 for New England) last season and racked up 737 yards and four touchdowns.
Gordon and Edelman both played in the teams’ Week 15 matchup in 2018. Edelman had seven catches on 11 targets for 90 yards. Gordon had one catch on two targets for 19 yards.