Thursday, December 12, 2013
Bears face tough task against Josh Gordon
By Michael C. Wright
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- As Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon makes a run at the NFL record books, Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker expects his group to face a tall order containing him Sunday on the road.
Chicago held down Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant (two catches for 12 yards and a touchdown) on Monday night with Tim Jennings as the primary man in coverage, but Gordon presents perhaps a more formidable challenge.
Tucker sees big-play ability as Gordon’s most significant attribute.
“He has a large catch radius. He’s fast. He can take a 5-yard slant and turn it into a 60-yard touchdown,” Tucker said. “Really, he’s playing with a lot of confidence. The quarterbacks have confidence in him to go up and make plays. He can catch the ball in a crowd and win the contested one-on-one battle.”
Gordon’s eye-popping statistics over the past four games certainly support that. Suspended for the first two games, Gordon leads the NFL in receiving yards (1,400) and has racked up 774 yards over the past four games.
He currently averages 127.3 yards per game, and the NFL record for single-season average per game is 129 yards.
Browns quarterback Jason Campbell believes Gordon has hit his comfort zone.
“Coming into the season, I know there was a lot of trade talk and a lot of trade rumors. And with him missing the first two games of the season, I think he had a chance to really sit back and just look at things on the outside of what a great opportunity he has and what a great opportunity he’s missing out on when he wasn’t playing,” Campbell said. “When he came back, he had a totally different mindset about playing in the NFL, a totally different mindset about his ability to make plays, and I think a lot of it is, once the trade rumor was also over with, I think he was able to relax and just start to play the game.”