Friday, August 24, 2012
Browns need Gordon to show improvement
By Jamison Hensley
The latest buzz about Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is he's turning the corner in practice. Coaches are saying he's playing faster.
Gordon just has to start showing this improvement in games. In his first two preseason contests, Gordon didn't run good routes and didn't give great effort on passes that were a little off target.
The Browns hope -- and honestly need -- Gordon to step up. There's a feeling that they want to start him opposite Greg Little, but they can't give him the job after making two catches for 38 yards in two games.
Browns coach Pat Shurmur sounded confident that Gordon will bounce back after this slow start.
"He's making a steady climb through this training camp," Shurmur said. "When he came into camp, he had to kind of run himself into wide receiver shape. That runs parallel with learning the offense and then the details of it. Then the great amount of challenge you get from our defense in practice, and he's really had three game-day environments -- the scrimmage in the stadium and then of course the Detroit and Green Bay games. I think he responded well by improving in each setting."
Gordon's early struggles don't come as a surprise. A second-round pick in the July supplemental draft, Gordon didn't play in a game all last season (he did practice with Utah) and he comes from an offensive system at Baylor where he didn't run a lot of different routes.
His turnaround in practice follows a private chat with rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, who has nearly been picked off twice because Gordon messed up the timing of a comeback route in the first two weeks of the preseason.
"I trust Josh and I'm not going to work the other side of the field just because it's him and the same thing happened the week before," Weeden said. "I can't do that. To sum it all up, we have to be on the same page. We can't continue to do it, but he's a rookie, he's learning just like I am. He's trying to play fast."