The Patriots probably don't need Josh Gordon to beat the Detroit Lions Sunday night, but such a game would be an excellent proving ground for him.
After all, Gordon could certainly break Matt Patricia's bend-but-don't-break defensive scheme.
By all accounts, however, Gordon isn't certain to appear in this contest, all thanks to that balky hamstring that ultimately served as the final straw in his Browns tenure.
New #Patriots WR Josh Gordon (hamstring) is no sure thing to play tonight, sources say. He’ll have to test his hamstring pre-game and the team is preparing for scenarios without him on the field, as well as one with him playing. Clear they aren’t 100% counting on it.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 23, 2018
This hamstring nonsense could certainly be a cover for Gordon's inability to learn the Pats' complex playbook in just one week, but it's also very likely New England simply doesn't want to play its hand, especially in such a noncompetitive game, following a loss.
When Julian Edelman returns Week 5, Gordon will be nothing but an incredibly impressive No. 2 behind New England's most important wide receiver. Perhaps he doesn't save the team, but he certainly extends their offense to another level in two weeks' time. Not the worst thing in the world if he doesn't appear until then.