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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Thu May 16 - 02:00 PM | Tue May 21 - 11:55 AM

Patriots Unfiltered Q&A: Pass catchers receiving attention

Fans' questions answered in our weekly mailbag.


Do you see Josh Gordon as a starter, with him and [Julian] Edelman in two-WR sets and N'Keal Harry with them in three-WR sets? I think this would be a great receiving combo which would offer the Patriots real diverse and dangerous options, especially with [James] White out of the backfield. And if he is, how do you see the receiver position shaking out? Gordon, Edelman, Harry, [Phillip] Dorsett (and Matthew Slater) making the team, leaving [Maurice] Harris, [rookie Jakobi] Meyers, [Braxton] Berrios, [Demaryius] Thomas, and [Dontrelle] Inman to fight it out for one or two spots? Alex Marr

As is always the case with Gordon, I'm keeping my expectations low and hoping for the best, both for him personally and his role with the team. Certainly, his return to the roster automatically makes him one of, if not THE most physically gifted players at the position on this team. My expectation is that he'll be active starting Week 1, but that's by no means a guarantee at this point.

Whenever Gordon returns to the lineup, though, I'd imagine he'll be utilized much the same way he was last season – deep routes, slants, back-shoulder throws. If I had to pick a roster today, I'd say Edelman, Harry, Gordon, Dorsett, Berrios, and Meyers making it. Slater does, too, but not as a wide receiver. He is always listed as one, but never really counted as a receiver, as he's exclusively a special teams contributor.

The tough call is likely going to be between Dorsett and Harris, but I give the edge to Dorsett because of his experience in the system and ability to make big plays at crucial moments. Inman, meanwhile, was released this past Sunday, so, he's obviously not part of the equation here anymore. Rookie Gunner Olszewski shouldn't be discounted, either, although he does have an uphill battle ahead of him. He might be a prime candidate for the practice squad. Erik Scalavino

Is it time to move on from Phillip Dorsett? He hasn't done a lot in the time he has been with the team. A few big plays here and there, but nothing consistent. Would someone like Maurice Harris or Demaryius Thomas have more upside and more consistent production? Josh Lund

No, it's not. As I stated above, I believe Dorsett still has a role with this team. Whenever the ball is thrown to him, he seems to catch it, and often at critical times in big games. Harris is going to give him a serious run for the money, now that Gordon is back. If Gordon weren't a factor, both Dorsett and Harris would certainly make the team, in my estimation.

Meanwhile, ten-year NFL veterans like Thomas don't have "upside," per se, but if he can contribute at all, great. Problem is, he hasn't done anything of significance since becoming a Patriot, as he's been rehabbing from Achilles surgery. It's unclear right now what he can provide this team. Erik Scalavino

What is wrong with N'Keal [Harry, the rookie wide receiver]? How long until he returns? Allan Wycoff

New England's top 2019 draft choice has appeared to deal with a few different aches and pains throughout training camp (hip, shoulder, hamstring) and suffered another unspecified injury during the preseason opener at Detroit. He was back on the practice field Monday, so, that's an encouraging sign. It'll be interesting to see how the team handles his playing time this Thursday night against Carolina. My guess is the Patriots will be cautious with Harry and not play him. Erik Scalavino

Y'all continue saying Gunner [Olszewski] is smaller than [Braxton] Berrios. Have y'all seen the two together? Just curious what you're going off of. Sam Smith

I have no idea who "y'all" are, but I've never made such a statement. Both players are relatively small by NFL standards, but on the team's roster, Olszewski is 6-0, 190, while Berrios is 5-9, 190. I'm not sure either man is as tall as listed (I'm 5-6 and am basically eye level with Berrios during interviews), but you're probably right in suggesting that the former is a bit taller than the latter. I'm not sure it matters, however. What's important is how they're performing on the field, and both are still in the mix as return specialists primarily, and receivers secondarily. Erik Scalavino

Wouldn't a quality punter like Ryan Allen have some trade value? I was surprised to see him released, but it makes sense with a younger, stronger (and presumably cheaper) kid in town. Jim Brandt

I agree that Allen is a quality punter (he's also a good guy, based on my dealings with him over the years), but if 31 other teams in the NFL weren't willing to sign him as a free agent when they had the chance this past offseason, it wouldn't make sense for them to trade for him now. I don't expect Allen to be out of work for long, though. He'll wind up on someone's roster sooner or later. Erik Scalavino

No one knows yet if Isaiah Wynn can handle the LT position in the pros. Trent Williams can for perhaps three years, or maybe the Patriots could have him for one year, let him walk, and get a 3rd-round pick for him, if Wynn looks ready to take over. Do you think he could be picked up for a 5th-rounder and Dan Skipper? Dave Brown

No. Simply trading a player for some other player at the same position, plus a low draft choice, is not the kind of move I'd want to make for someone as good as Williams. I'd be asking for a heck of a lot more if I were Williams' employer.

The Patriots drafted Wynn in the first round last year because they believe he can play the left tackle position at this level. The only way to know for sure is to put him out there and let him prove himself. Erik Scalavino

The Patriots may have several valuable "chips" to trade, including [QB Brian] Hoyer, some players on defense (e.g., CB Jason McCourty, LB Elandon Roberts, DE Derek Rivers, CB Duke Dawson, and S Obi Melifonwu) and even offense (e.g., WR Maurice Harris). Is there a TE in the league which the team can realistically trade for using these chips? Stan Cohen

I disagree with your premise that all the aforementioned players are valuable trading commodities – at least not valuable enough to get the kind of tight end I imagine you're looking for in this scenario. I wouldn't rule out a transaction to acquire another tight end before Week 1, but it would surprise me if any of the players you listed were among the corresponding moves. Erik Scalavino

Can a team still put some minor injured players on PUP or is it only IR at this point? Mark Lugaris

A player can only be placed on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) at the start of training camp, at which point he's on the active PUP list. And only such players are eligible to be placed on the reserve PUP list once the regular season starts. So, any player from here on who suffers an injury that will sideline him for a considerable time would have to go on injured reserve (IR). Erik Scalavino

I noticed rookie [DE/OLB Chase] Winovich wearing number 50, yet at jersey outlets, they are selling his jersey as 52 what gives? Mark Curran

Winovich was wearing jersey number 52 for the first two weeks of training camp, but switched to 50 for the preseason opener at Detroit. I'd hold off on making a purchase just yet, though, as he might even change that number again once the regular season begins. Last season, for instance, at least a couple of rookies changed their jersey numbers three times prior to Week 1. Give it a couple more weeks and you'll know for sure with Winovich and all the other 2019 rookies. Erik Scalavino

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