After almost a week of is he or isn't he with regard to Josh Gordon, Bill Belichick officially discussed his newest wide receiver during his Friday press conference.
"Since the last time we met we officially added Josh and Cyrus [Jones] to the roster so it's good to get them here," Belichick said. "I'd say really in both cases those two guys have done about as much as they can do in the few days that they've been here, or been back in Cyrus' case. We'll see how it goes.
"Josh is a smart kid, he's worked hard and picked up a lot. Cyrus has gotten back into things quickly."
Belichick insisted throughout the week that the trade that brought Gordon to New England had yet to be finalized but the wideout practiced on Wednesday and Thursday (although he was limited both days due to a hamstring injury), which indicated the deal was completed between his Wednesday press conference and practice.
As for details about the talented but troubled Gordon, Belichick didn't offer many.
The coach was asked if his raw talent was rare. "All players in this league are talented players or they wouldn't be in this league. We'll see," he answered.
As is typically the case with personal situations, Belichick wouldn't discuss Gordon's long history of substance abuse or his many suspensions. Talk of his electric performance against the Patriots (seven catches, 151 yards) during a game in December of 2013 came up, "it was a chance to see him first hand," and specifically his 80-yard touchdown off a slant pass – "I'd say it was an impressive play."
Beyond Gordon, here are some highlights from Friday's press conference.
Second time around – Belichick also discussed Jones' return after the cornerback was signed off the Ravens practice squad earlier in the week. Jones was limited during training camp after rehabbing his torn ACL suffered last preseason, and the coach explained how his shortened summer made his evaluation more difficult but explained how the team's situation has changed – specifically the lack of a suitable punt returner after Riley McCarron fumbled in the opener and Patrick Chung was knocked out of the Week 2 loss to the Jags with a concussion.
"Cyrus was coming along, certainly making progress through camp," Belichick said. "His window was smaller, it wasn't a full opportunity to evaluate him but we had to make a decision so we made the decision that we made. Things have changed and we're in a different place than we were in August."
Asked if Jones could factor into the mix at safety, Belichick was non-committal.
"He's an athletic player and has done a lot of different things for us," he said.
Running Lions – Detroit has a deep array of players at the skill positions and that includes the backfield. Even though the Lions haven't had much success running the ball in recent year, there is plenty of young talent to prepare for Sunday night.
Kerryon Johnson, a rookie out of Auburn, has impressed Belichick in the early going.
"He's done a good job for him," Belichick said. "They used him in the passing game in the preseason, he's a good ball carrier and he's very athletic. He makes good plays with the ball in his hands, he's good in space, he's a strong runner. His opportunities have been somewhat limited in the regular season with [Theo] Riddick there but he's been used more as an early-down back with LeGarrette [Blount]. He has good skills on all three downs, has good size and is a good player."
Passing fancy – Belichick mentioned Riddick, the versatile pass catcher out of Notre Dame who has been productive in a role similar to James White's in New England. While Riddick is able to run the ball in conventional sets, like White he's made his mark as a passing back.
"He can play on all downs but he's very good on passing downs," Belichick said. "I see a lot of trust and a high confidence level with him from the coaches and quarterback with things they ask him to do, as there should be because he's very good and very consistent. He's a hard guy to cover. He's smart, beats coverages, runs good routes and he can carry the ball too."