While the coachspeak could be overflowing with hyperbole, Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress went on the record to say that rookie wide receiver Josh Gordon is entering the weekend coming off of his best practice as a professional.
Potentially sensing more of an opportunity given the injuries to fellow receivers Mohamed Massaquoi and Travis Benjamin, the 6-foot-3-inch Gordon is slowly becoming more comfortable in his role, playing quicker and thinking less.
“I didn’t see any hesitation, I didn’t see him thinking about anything,” Childress said regarding the 21-year-old Baylor product. “He’s doing all of thing things that you expect to see from a professional receiver.”
On the young season, Gordon has a mere seven receptions for 93 yards — his lone 16-yard reception against the Balitmore Ravens last Thursday came by mere fluke as it went through the hands of Greg Little and progressed down field where Gordon happened to be coming out of a come-back route. That said, Gordon, the team’s second-round selection for the 2013 Draft due to the rules attached to his supplemental selection, has rarely been one of quarterback Brandon Weeden’s first two progressions, limiting his targets to happenstance. The injuries to Massaquoi and Benjamin would not only serve to move the athletic rookie up the depth chart, but if his work this week in any indication, he could be a key part of the team’s offensive attack as the team travels to the Meadowlands to take on the New York Giants.
The Browns will undoubtedly continue to stretch the field at times, allowing rookie running back Trent Richardson to face more-favorable defenses. Tony Grossi, this week, pointed out that the team needs to abaondon the fullback sets as they are simply brining more men into the box, all gunning to take down the third-overall pick. While losing Benjamin obviously stunts the field-stretching, Gordon is not exactly heavy-footed; he was the target on a fly pattern on Thursday night, one that was simply well defended by Baltimore’s Ladarius Webb.
In recent availability, Gordon admits that his four-week-long career is starting to provide some progress, stating that he’s finally feeling more comfortable, more consistent.
“When I look to the sidelines, there’s nobody going to come in for you,” Gordon said. “No rest. You pretty much have to man up to it and hold up to your responsibilities. At this point, there’s really nothing holding me back.”
Unfortunately for Gordon, Tom Coughlin and Perry Fewell will be creating defensive schemes with the goal of holding every member of the Browns back. It’ll be up to the young and raw Gordon to show that his work this week was in fact bold improvement and it was not just his offensive coordinator blowing smoke up his wide receiver’s tailbone pad.