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Seahawks have not been using Josh Gordon like a number-three wide receiver

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Minnesota Vikings v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Josh Gordon’s departure from the New England Patriots was shrouded in mystery. He was designated to IR and then released, activating a rule that sent the media into a frenzy for a couple of days. It didn’t work, as all of the bad teams passed on Gordon, and he landed on the immediately grateful Seattle Seahawks to begin November.

What concerns there may have been with his knee injury haven’t amounted to anything that we’ve heard of in Seattle, as he continues to suit up and be a full participant in practice each week.

However, for a receiver with the talent of at minimum a WR 3, and a previous ceiling of NFL WR1, on a team that really only has two consistent receivers, he’s done very little since transferring.

That’s not just the eye-test either, that’s everything from receptions, targets and even snap count.

In even his worst game on the Patriots - excluding Week 6 that got him hurt - he saw double the offensive plays as his average has been in Seattle. As well as three and a half times the targets.

I don’t really care that he only catches slants or whatever. Gordon is a good football player, and Tyler Lockett is a very good football player currently hurt or sick or both. Head coach Pete Carroll needs to break the mold and actually do the thing he’s talking about sooner rather than later with Gordon:

To be sure, this air of missed opportunity legitimately played out against the Los Angeles Rams. I’m not entirely sure how a WR can have a “big shot” and not get the ball, but if Carroll is talking about being open, then we are in agreement.

Not his fault that Seattle’s guards have been the most Boom-or-Bust players on the team besides Tedric Thompson.

The two points to consider moving forward are thus: Josh Gordon has done nothing but demonstrate (1) he still has big play ability and (2) he is fantastically clutch.

Here’s a nifty 4th & 18, as Gordon takes a moment to teach Malik Turner what a receiver should do on fourth down.

Step one: get open. Step two: catch ball. Maybe next time, Malik. Or better yet, maybe next time just throw it to Gordon again.

The thing that makes no sense is if all of the above points are true, than his lack of usage - especially against the Rams - falls somewhere in between head-scratching and bad coaching.

If Josh Gordon is a talented individual, who can make big plays, does not buckle under pressure, and is good at slants (one of the quickest routes in football), than he is the perfect remedy for a passing game that has fallen apart without enough time for Russell behind the line of scrimmage.

Or at least, he should have been.

The Rams D-Line is really good. Below is a chart to demonstrate that fact in case watching the game was not good enough for you. Or in case you turned the game off.

This is a graph based on numbers and science. It is Double Team Rate vs. Pass Rush Win Rate. Anyone in the top right corner is getting double teamed and still winning.
When a team has this guy (Aaron Donald top right corner):

What you don’t want to be doing is standing around and waiting for him to win.

Russell Wilson’s average pocket time this season is 2.4 seconds. PFR defines that as the time between snap and either throwing the ball or the pocket collapses due to pressure. Russell Wilson’s average time to throw this season is 2.82s. Which is not like insane, but in the slower half of the league.

That’s a lot of math which means that Russell’s throwing the ball brings that pocket time average up, while it collapsing to the defense brings the pocket time down.

What that means is throw the ball sooner, Russ.

With Tyler Lockett unable to develop his routes the last few weeks, and with Wilson unable to get any kind of consistent rhythm, one wonders why Josh Gordon didn’t see ample opportunity to generate a quick-pass game for Seattle. All of the first few slants they threw his way were converted in crucial situations. And they’ve been quick passes. Gordon’s 4th and 18 shown above took about 3.5s, which I believe is the longest time to throw to Gordon since he joined the Seahawks.

Gordon will never be the player he was in 2013 when he tallied 1646 receiving yards. Seattle doesn’t need him to be. They just need someone to give Russell Wilson a reliable target in situations where a quick pass may be of benefit to the offense.

In my opinion, on this team, with a recovering top receiver and bad offensive line, that situation is every situation.