Is there a bright side? Sure! Just need to look hard enough, but you can find it!
With all the negativity surrounding the team,1 I thought I’d at least point out a couple of the good things that happened in the Giants game this weekend. I thought long and hard, but couldn’t come up with any on defense. So, I’ll lead off with…
Joe Haden is back! Joe Haden talked to reporters yesterday, apologized, owned up to his substance of choice2 and is ready to go against A.J. Green this weekend. Nobody is happy that he missed all the time for something so stupid, but tell me you aren’t happy to see him back on the field this weekend. You’re going to cheer for him, right? If we learned anything at all during his suspension, it is that the Browns need Joe Haden on the field.
Josh Gordon might be worth the 2013 second rounder. Granted, we don’t know how high that second round pick might end up being, but in his fifth professional game, Josh Gordon made one big play taking advantage of a linebacker and a safety on his 62 yard TD reception. He also caught another touchdown tying the single-game Browns rookie record. Lastly, Gordon impressed me greatly when he caught the second TD. The Browns were down, so he made a quick celebratory hand gesture toward his QB, dropped the ball and ran to the sidelines. Loved to see that. Maybe he is just like that on his own, or maybe he learned from Greg Little’s “Bolt” episode. Either way, good to see.
Jordan Norwood is earning time on the field. After being mysteriously inactive, and stumbling out of the gate in his first bout of playing time, Jordan Norwood showed why most of us who watched training camp thought he was the most polished receiver on the Browns roster. Norwood runs professional routes3 and generally has great hands. He didn’t show them in his first action of the year, but he looked pretty good against the Giants catching nine balls for 81 yards on nine targets. He needs to play going forward, and I’m looking forward to seeing him build chemistry with the Browns’ rookie QB.
Trent Richardson. Again, Trent Richardson found the end zone. Again Trent Richardson played and looked like a guy who belongs on a professional football field. Even when the gains weren’t there, he was making Giants miss. As Browns PR pointed out today, Trent Richardson is first in points scored (30,) second in rushing yards (222,) and second in first downs (18.) The Browns haven’t had an offensive player like Trent Richardson on the team since most of us were children or not even born yet. He shows the level of ability at his position that Kellen Winslow showed, but at a much more important and potentially dominant position. He’s not afraid of the game and never seems to shrink even in the face of adversity.
The Browns special teams coverage unit played well against the Giants. Five kickoff returns for 67 yards is a 13.4 yard average. The Browns gave up a long of 21 yards. Special teams coverage is best when you don’t have reason to talk about them, but I forced the issue considering this game.
Any other bright spots (or relatively bright spots) that I missed?
Shurmur’s press relations, losing and Shurmur’s press relations all come to mind. [↩]
I still think it is a drug of abuse and not one of a performance-enhancing nature, but Haden was smart to own up to his mistake just the same. [↩]
Including being open on a certain 3rd and 1 play! [↩]