August 26, 2014

Brandon Weeden on Travis Benjamin: “He’s stuck out”

Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal wrote a detailed article on the state of the Cleveland Browns wide receiver corps on Monday. Although the piece was mostly about the value of recently acquired Davone Bess, it also featured this stand-out quote from quarterback Brandon Weeden on fellow second-year Travis Benjamin:

“Travis had at least as many catches if not more than anybody in camp,” Weeden said. “His route running is phenomenal, probably because he’s so fast. Guys have to honor him running by them. He’s been getting in and out of breaks so well. Whether it’s in-breaking routes or out-breaking routes, he’s really found a knack of getting separation and giving me a chance to complete some balls. He’s had a lot of catches this camp. He’s stuck out.”

Benjamin, a speedy 23-year-old, was the team’s 4th-round draft pick out of Miami last season. With the loss of returner Josh Cribbs, Benjamin figures to be even more involved on special teams this year — along with the offense as well.

In 14 games last season, Benjamin had just 6 total returns (3 on kick-offs, 3 on punts) and 20 total touches on offense (14 catches, 6 carries). Yet, he made the most of those limited opportunities, totaling a remarkable 589 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns. His two main highlights were his 93-yard punt return for touchdown in Week 13 against Kansas City and his 69-yard touchdown pass in Week 14 against Washington.

Benjamin is a 5-foot-10 and 172 pounds, while the veteran slot receiver Bess is a similar 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds. Both will be counted on not only for their possession abilities, but also for the big-play opportunity at least for the start of the season without Gordon.

Certainly, Weeden’s comments promote excitement about how Benjamin could quickly contribute this season. Head coach Rob Chudzinski utilized All-Pro 5-foot-9 receiver Steve Smith to perfection back in 2011 for Carolina, mixing in the downfield throw with occasional intermediate catches.

[Related: Banner Report: Wide Receivers/Tight Ends]

  • Ben Frambaugh

    Glad to hear his name…I had high hopes for him as a playmaker (though with limited touches of course.) Hopefully his slight stature won’t be too much of a hindrance.

  • Evan Walter

    The Browns have a nice little core of receivers developing in Berea, hopefully the QB and RB have similar leaps in development.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Glad to not hear “like a sore thumb!”

  • Garry_Owen

    Reminds me of my playing career. Everyone said that I “stuck out,” too.

    “Look at that guy! He’s SO little!!”

  • Toddyus

    Is he really 5’10″? Seems I remember him reportedly shorter last year.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Depends when Coco Crisp has the FRO working he’s taller too!

  • Harv 21

    Wouldn’t quite say that Bess at 190 lbs. is similarly-sized to Benjamin at 172 (which, btw, I doubt, maybe soaking wet, in full pads and holding everyone’s playbook). Bess can sit down in a space over the middle, take a hit and hang on. Benjamin is safer flying down the seam; won’t last long taking unprotected shots from guys 50 pounds heavier.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    I think the QB needs a line that will protect him and WR’s that won’t drop the ball. If our line and WR’s do our job, you’ll see big improvements from Weeden. He strikes me as a guy who will do more than adequate when things are going his way…but will struggle mightily when there’s any kind of a breakdown. I have nothing factual to base this off of…just a gut feeling.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    God forbid he go over the middle and have some 250+lb LB tracking him down too. LOL

  • Hypno_Toad

    We had one of the best pass protecting lines in the NFL last year.

  • Evan Walter

    That seems like the formula for success for any QB in any offense…give him time, catch his throws. We truly have no idea how he’ll react when the chips are down or when we need clutch plays, but he’s got veterans all around him helping him (Thomas, Mack, Bess) and we can’t overlook the fact that Norv Turner is there as well, which could really help Weeden as Norv can now just focus on being a coordinator, which is really where he excels. Last year was such a disaster on so many levels and I put no stock into anything I saw last year. We built a downfield offense and so rarely let it play down the field under Shurmur.

  • Garry_Owen

    Growth spurt.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Speaking of which does Levitra or Viagra count as a PED?

  • Ben Frambaugh

    I’m more concerned with our guards (and pressure up the middle) than I am with Center or Tackle. We weren’t terrible in pass protection…but if I remember right, we struggled some with DT’s collapsing the pocket in front of our QB.

  • Jaker

    I expect Benjamin to be a big part of the gameplan in week one with Gordon on the sideline. He’s a weapon that I hope will become our Jacoby Jones(which I don’t think is asking for too much). I know we are still months away, but I’m excited for the week 1 headlines.

    Not only is it the best day for the Browns and their fans(excluding the draft) but we have other story lines like Bess facing his former team, the pair of 1st round QBs facing off(an actual battle to see who is #4 from that class), rookie pass rusher Mingo proving he’s better than rookie pass rusher Jordan(both top 6 picks), Mitchell Schwartz proving he was the better pick than Jonathan Martin(this usually wouldn’t get noticed, being 2 RTs taken in round 2, but a lot of people ripped the Mitch pick when Martin was available), Travis Benjamin facing his hometown team, getting to play against Brian Hartline(OSU) and Mike Wallace(former Pitt foe) and the debuts of our attacking O and D.

    Oh boy I need to calm down

  • Harv 21

    I’ll have what you’re having. But not until the season opener.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    Oh…just great. Now I’m super stoked too! LOL

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Frankly, I was impressed with Weeden’s ability to throw the ball away and avoid sacks. I think this was a big part of why our offensive line had such a good statistical season last year.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    benjamin *is* longer, stronger, and just as fast as recent flavor-o-the-month playmaker tavon austin.

    Austin, 5’8″/174, 4.34,* 32″ vert, 30″ arms, 12 bench reps.
    Benjamin, 5’10″/172, 4.35, 38″ vert, 32″ arms, 14 bench reps.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    ourlads lists benjamin as 5097 (5’9+3/4″). his combine page attached.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    It worked for Mohammed Massacred!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    You liked Austin if my memory serves.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    hah. well you can’t say i didn’t research it.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Ball ironing George Clooney is the tallest? Dammmmmm!

    But actually I was trying to show poster Ben Frambaugh that my memory was just fine. (related to another thread)

  • Harv 21

    Austin was coveted for the incredible moves, not just the speed. He changes direction full speed, a potential gamebreaker every time he touches it. Much more Metcalf than Benjamin.

  • mgbode

    you mean his ability to throw it off of the DL’s hands?
    either way, yes, it helped the sack numbers.

  • mgbode

    yes, but he did have a few less TDs in college

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    moves? you mean like this? or this?

    take away geno smith, take away the holgo offense, take away playing in the arena football league of college football… and tavon austin is a shorter version of our 4th round pick with shorter arms who can’t jump as high.

    but hey.. i’m just a guy who watches football.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    see comment in reply to have re: arena football league of college football aka big 12.

  • mgbode

    first, MACtion is a little upset for you trying to take their title away.

    also, I actually liked Bailey much more than Austin because of where he was going in the draft (value!) and that he runs much better routes.

    In fact, I think Wheaton is better than both (as I now go to hit my head against the wall).

    I’m in complete agreement that the Rams over-drafted Austin. I thought NFL teams learned after Ginn Jr., but I guess not. I hope that Benjamin ends up providing the spark we need. He certainly is right in this class of WR (there were just more questions coming out because he didn’t showcase them enough at Miami – not all his fault).

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    i actually think the baylor/wvu was worse defense than the niu/toledo game.

    as much as austin was a reach for the rams (wish we’d have taken that deal), they redeemed themselves by getting ogletree at the end of the 1st. that’s how i sees it anyway.

  • Harv 21

    No, not straight ahead mini-cuts in the open field. I like Benjamin, but Austin can completely change direction at full speed, juke guys out of their shoes, closer to a skinny Barry Sanders or, again, Metcalf. But hey, his senior year I thought Peter Warrick looked like a #1 receiver.

  • saggy

    you’re little? I always imagined you like 6’2″/6’4″ or something. hmmm…Well, now I’ve completely lost respect for you. Sorry, shorty.

  • saggy

    the 32″ vertical is pretty freaking weak for an NFL receiver.

  • saggy

    Metcalf was my favorite player. That return TD against the Bills was sublime.

  • mgbode

    Baylor v. WVU was the worst defensive game in the history of football. And, I refuse to open that up for debate. It was the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen.

    And, the redeeming part to me was getting Bailey later. You know that I wasn’t all that big on Ogletree. I think he’ll make a fine starter, but never be more than decent. Not someone you pick in the 1st.

  • Mike E

    This chart just blows my mind! Hollywoods a bunch of shortys, I wouldn’t have a chance.

  • Garry_Owen

    Some thoughts:

    1) I cast a big shadow?

    2) Maybe I played on a team of giants – like, literal giants? Did you think of that?

    3) I can’t believe someone actually respected me! Oh well. It was fun while it lasted, I guess.