So far in 2019, throwing the ball to Josh Gordon has been about a 50/50 proposition.
Through four games Gordon has hauled in 14 catches on his 27 targets, tallying 221 yards and one touchdown.
Gordon’s catch rate is down to 52 percent this fall from his 59 percent rate (40 catches on 68 targets) last season, an obvious but relatively small drop in efficiency on throws in his direction for a Patriots passing attack that’s very much a work in progress a month into the new season.
Asked about Gordon’s catch rate and how the receiver was performing, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels turned a critical eye toward himself in regards to a need to get more from his talented outside target.
“I tend not to focus on those types of statistics because there's so many things that go into those numbers. Josh is doing well,” McDaniels said in his weekly Tuesday morning conference call with the local media. He's ready to go, he practices well, he practices hard, he really studies the game plan. He's moved into multiple positions this year, whereas last year he was more in one spot most of the time.
“Honestly, I need to do a better job of finding ways to get him the ball throughout the course of the game in whatever role or position that we're asking him to play. So, I'm very happy with what he's doing, and we're going to continue to work with him and all our skill guys, hopefully as we go through the season, to improve and reach our best performances. Whatever the peak is for us this year, we're certainly not there yet and we have a lot of work, a lot of practice to put in to reach that. But I'm very happy with what Josh is doing.”
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick also dismissed the catch rate numbers to some degree – he expressed his distaste for analytics last week and famously once said that “stats are for losers” – but admits there is room for more effectiveness in the passing game throughout the team, including with Gordon.
“I think every coach and every player and every receiver and every quarterback would love to see the catch rate be 100%. That's our goal. But that's not really realistic in the National Football League, so it is what it is,” Belichick said. “Player execution and coaching design and adjustments and so forth, there are things that we can all do to improve our overall passing efficiency at the coaching level, at the throwing level and at the catching level, so we'll work to do that all the way across the board. Obviously, those passes are a function of the type of pass too, so plays that are further down the field, naturally, have a lower percentage of completion than the ones within a couple of yards of the line of scrimmage. There are a number of factors that are involved there. The bottom line is for all of us to do a better job going forward and improve.”