Cleveland Browns: Greg Little

Twitter can be a funny social media site. And it can be harsh.

Sometimes it can be both.

Former Cleveland Browns receiver Greg Little signed with the Oakland Raiders Monday, and soon after tweeted that he had circled the date when the Browns play the Raiders.

Which prompted some Browns fans to respond.

Like this one:

And this one:

There's more. But this one referred to Little's famous Usain Bolt pose when he caught a first-down pass in a 2012 loss in Cincinnati. The day of the game, Little posted a photo of himself doing the pose, with the wording “me and Usain Blot.” Typo included.

Which of course led the Twitter world to tweet #Blot any time Little or another Browns player made a mistake.

One tweet on Monday brought the Bolt pose back.

The first day of the Cleveland Browns draft ended amid jubilation and celebration.

It turned depressing and mysterious before the first player had even been taken on Day 2.

When word broke via ESPN’s Outside the Lines that Josh Gordon was facing a one-year suspension for failing another drug test, the effect was deflating.

Later in the night, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen broke the news that Nate Burleson had a fractured arm and would miss the offseason but would be back for training camp.

If Gordon does miss a year and assuming Burleson returns, the Browns right now have Burleson, Greg Little and Andrew Hawkins as their prime receivers.

General Manager Ray Farmer said he was not concerned about the team’s depth at receiver, though.

“We play games in September,” Farmer said. ”Right now there’s still plenty of opportunities for us to acquire players and to make things happen.”

There’s only one draft, though, and the team’s decision in hindsight to trade down for cornerback Justin Gilbert and not take Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans looms larger if Gordon is suspended. Gordon is the team’s star and playmaker, and the receiving corps would have to depend on guys doing things they haven’t done in the past to succeed.

The Browns didn’t want to comment on Gordon’s situation, and in fairness the league handles the drug-testing program and teams are not supposed to comment on the details.

“Whenever we do have clarity we will express our sentiments then,” Farmer said.

He also did not get into whether he knew about Gordon’s situation but said he drafts based on the team’s draft board and not on need or a player’s health situation.

“We organize the players, we rank them, we stack them and we stick to it,” Farmer said. “We believe that you do the work for a reason. You take the best players available. You establish your team by going through that process in making sure you draft the best guys in how you had them ordered in who are the best players in college football.”

The Browns went through the second day drafting an offensive lineman, a linebacker and a running back, but no receivers. Farmer said that was because of the way the team rated its players.

“We stuck with our board,” Farmer said. “As we looked at that board when it was our turn to select, we took the name that was the best name for us at that time.”

Thus, the Browns passed on Watkins and Evans because they liked Gilbert better. They passed on receivers on the second day because they liked offensive lineman Joel Bitonio, linebacker Christian Kirksey and running back Terrance West better.

The decision may come back to haunt them. In a sense it’s classic hindsight to look back -- except that Farmer and owner Jimmy Haslam knew of Gordon’s situation before the draft started, according to Mortensen and ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio.

Farmer simply believes he can still address the situation.

“Whether it’s trades, drafting someone the [third] day, players that get cut or we acquire somebody from the street,” Farmer said “there’s always opportunities to acquire players.”

There aren’t a lot of Josh Gordons, and if the Browns lose their top playmaker they may be left trying to win games with potentially a rookie quarterback, and a receiving group without its star.

That could leave the team relying on defense and the run game to win.

It can work, but without Gordon, well, the highs from Manziel sure seemed to dissipate in a hurry.
Brian Hoyer took part in 151 of the Cleveland Browns' 1,078 offensive plays in 2013.

Which shows just how little the Browns truly know about Hoyer.

His season included 73 plays against Minnesota, 71 against Cincinnati and seven against Buffalo.

Yet he is considered the incumbent starter at the quarterback spot heading into 2014.

This would seem to show two things:
  • How well Hoyer played compared to the competition;
  • How vast the wasteland has been at the quarterback position for the Browns in recent years.

For a guy to “earn” the job based on 151 plays -- which Hoyer seems to have done -- shows how far the Browns are and were from having a true starter.

Despite efforts to constantly improve the situation, the Browns are still searching, and everything Johnny Manziel will say at the scouting combine will be dissected and heeded.

Hoyer, though, is talking as if he’s planning to start, which is what he should do. Hoyer played well, and his time was shortened by injury, not lack of production or performance.

It’s just quite a development off those 151 plays.

Other interesting items from the offensive snap chart:

-- Right tackle Mitchell Schwartz couldn’t have had too bad a season. He was on the field for 1,076 of 1,078 offensive plays. A guy who misses just two plays has to be a good player.

-- Joe Thomas and Alex Mack both had 1,075 plays, which is pretty amazing stability at the tackle and center position.

-- No quarterback was on the field for half the plays. Jason Campbell had the most snaps at quarterback with 488, but he only took part in 45.3 percent of the plays. This is yet another illustration of the difficult situation the former coaches had to work with.

-- The messy running back situation showed in the numbers as well. Chris Ogbonnaya led the offense with 509 plays, Willis McGahee had 255. Like at quarterback, no player had more than half the snaps.

-- Edwin Baker wound up with more plays than Trent Richardson and Bobby Rainey.

-- The Browns got pretty good work out of backup tight end Gary Barnidge. He had 513 plays, with starter Jordan Cameron totaling 942.

-- Thanks to suspension, Greg Little finished with more plays than Josh Gordon; Little had the most plays of any wide receiver. Had Gordon matched the 131 Little had the first two games he’d have had finished with 1,008.

-- There was no fourth receiver on the team. Just a collection of guys.

Here’s the complete breakdown:

  • Jason Campbell 488 (45.3 percent)
  • Brandon Weeden 436 (40.4 percent)
  • Brian Hoyer 151 (14 percent)
Running back
  • Chris Ogbonnaya 509 (47.2 percent)
  • Willis McGahee 255 (23.7 percent)
  • Fozzy Whittaker 162 (15 percent)
  • Edwin Baker 96 (8.9 percent)
  • Trent Richardson 87 (8.1 percent)
  • Bobby Rainey 53 (4.9 percent)
Tight end
Wide receiver
Offensive line

Emptying the Browns MailBag

February, 8, 2014
Feb 8
As the new coaching staff settles in, the MailBag keeps filling. Here’s this week’s edition.

2014 Free agents: None.

The good: The Browns have Josh Gordon, which is a good place to start. Gordon was phenomenal in his second season, shattering team records for yards per game and total receiving yards. Gordon is a budding superstar with a rare combination of size and speed, a guy with Calvin Johnson ability and skills.

The bad: Gordon remains one offseason -- or in-season -- misstep from a one-year suspension. That’s a risk the Browns have to live with, because Gordon is that talented. The other bad is that Gordon is all the Browns really have at the position. Davone Bess has had significant off-field issues since he missed the final two games of the season and does not figure to be back -- though the Browns may find it challenging to avoid the $3.06 million they guaranteed him when they signed him to a contract extension last April. Greg Little has not worked out; he does just enough to keep the team interested. His drops and his disappearing act in certain games exceed his talent. The rest of the roster includes a bunch of guys who may or may not figure in the future. But the Browns will clearly need to add one player at this spot either in the draft or via free agency.

The money: No financial decisions here, but the release of Bess and Little shortly after the Super Bowl would come as zero surprise to those who watched the team last season and read about Bess this offseason.

Draft priority: High, though the adage these days is never take a receiver too high. If the Browns did go for a receiver with the fourth pick, names like Marqise Lee and Sammy Watkins would fit. Both would be outstanding additions playing opposite Gordon. If the Browns go quarterback first, they could take a receiver later in the draft. And undoubtedly will.

Emotions simmer after bad loss to Jets

December, 22, 2013
It took 15 games, six consecutive losses and one real bad performance in a 24-13 loss to the Jets, but Cleveland Browns coach Rob Chudzinski broke his flatline postgame approach.

For the first time all season, Chudzinski showed some emotion -- and anger. It was nothing over the top, but it was there.

He called the effort unacceptable, said it was tough to swallow.

[+] EnlargeRob Chudzinski
Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports"I'm the head coach of this team," Rob Chudzinski said. "So ultimately this is on me."
Of losing six in a row, nine of 10 and playing so poorly at this point of the season, he said: “You can’t imagine how I feel about that.”

During the week leading up to the game, the coach had talked about seeing things that made him believe in the long-term plan. After the game he admitted there weren’t a lot of good things to see against the Jets.

Then he said the team’s results and play falls on him.

“I bear all the responsibility,” Chudzinski said. “I’m the head coach of this team. So ultimately this is on me, and I’m committed to get it right.”

With all due respect to his professional approach, it’s on a lot more than the coach. While the present regime can blame the previous one because it doesn’t like the players it inherited, this team has regressed as the season has gone on. The team has left salary-cap space unspent even though several positions could be upgraded while at the same time making a great effort to build for 2014 and beyond.

The constant tension between a front office building for the future and a coaching staff wanting to win now was never more apparent than during the past few days, as the coach and offensive coordinator Norv Turner tried to explain where the team is headed and why decisions are made.

The Browns added two receivers in the offseason, Davone Bess via trade and David Nelson via free agency. Bess is done for the season due to personal issues after a very disappointing season.

Nelson spent much of preseason with the Browns while recovering from knee surgery. He played fairly well in the preseason finale, then was cut.

Sunday he caught two touchdowns against the Browns -- the first two of his season and the first two-touchdown game of his career. In the same game, Greg Little and Josh Gordon dropped two touchdown catches, and Jason Campbell was throwing passes to Brian Tyms, Josh Cooper and MarQueis Gray -- a college quarterback playing tight end.

There are a lot of reasons to explain the Browns' 4-11 record, beginning with team starting three different quarterbacks and having no real running game.

The defensive meltdowns -- they had no hits or sacks of Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith -- are harder to explain, other than the defense is simply not what it was touted to be.

But NFL players have 16 opportunities to play hard and play well. On this particular Sunday the Browns did neither.

What was left was for Chudzinski to respond this way when asked what he’d say to the fans: “Hang in there. We’ll get it right.”

Which is tough for fans to hear when the team has won 27 games over the past six seasons (with one left).

Chudzinski just happens to be the guy who speaks after games. But the team’s owner, CEO and GM have not had a lot to say.

Losing to the Patriots and Bears, two teams competing for the playoffs, is one thing.

Losing with a half-hearted, sloppy and uninspired effort against a team that’s playing for nothing but pride is quite another.

If Jacksonville was rock bottom for the Browns, this effort had them looking for rocks to hide under.

Browns continue to find new lows

December, 22, 2013
Pick a word for the performance the Cleveland Browns put on the field Sunday against the New York Jets. Any or all apply.

Brutal. Ugly. Half-hearted. Lifeless. Disappointing. Sloppy.

The Browns talked all week about having two more chances this season to put forth their best effort.

They performed as poorly as they have all season, and maybe in years (and that's saying something) during a 24-13 loss.

[+] EnlargeCleveland's Gary Barnidge
Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY SportsGary Barnidge and the Browns struggled to hold onto the ball against the Jets.
There were dropped touchdown passes, a penalty on the defense for 12 men on the field, a penalty that wiped out a touchdown run, two interceptions and a defense that gave up 10 points in the final 1:18 of the first half and an 80-yard drive when the Browns had cut a fourth-quarter deficit to 17-13.

It also allowed Geno Smith and the Jets to be masters of third down.

The Jets started the game converting 36.4 percent. The Browns gave up 66.7 percent, 12-of-18.

A week ago, the Bears had the best day on third down against the Browns in five years -- 64.3 percent.

The Jets, a 6-8 team that had turned the ball over 29 times, did better. And the Browns did not force a single turnover.

A week after Jay Cutler went 11-for-12 for 152 yards with two touchdowns on third down, Geno Smith (unofficially) went 9-for-12 for 107 yards, six of the completions for first downs, one for a touchdown.

For good measure he ran for a 17-yard touchdown to seal the win.

The Browns defense has been living on numbers and ranking all season, but the numbers show for the second week in a row that a back had 100 yards against them. First it was Matt Forte, this week it was Chris Ivory, as the Jets ran for 208 yards.

The numbers also show that the Browns have given up 79 points in the final two minutes of halves. They started the game with 69 points in that time, 29th in the league, then gave up 10 to the Jets in the final 1:18 as the Browns saw a 10-0 lead dissipate into a halftime tie.

Go down the line, though. Greg Little and Josh Gordon dropped touchdowns that could have changed the game (on two red zone possessions, the Browns got three points when they could have had 14). Gordon (six catches in 16 targets) was handled by rookie Dee Milliner. Gary Barnidge's penalty wiped out a rushing touchdown.

Campbell was a woeful 18-for-40 for 178 yards with two interceptions. One killed a third-quarter drive, the last was in desperation time. He also badly overthrew a wide-open MarQueis Gray late in the first half on an important third down.

Dropped passes can take the life out of a team, as does letting the opposition convert third downs. Maybe that, or maybe 11 losses this season explains some things. The Browns looked lifeless, listless and as if they have mentally checked out.

Coach Rob Chudzinski called it unacceptable.

Which might be an understatement.
Considering Norv Turner’s offense ...

One might think the quarterback jumble that took place last week might affect the Browns playcalling, but clearly the coaching staff held little back when they played New England.

The Browns had 23 different combinations of offensive skill players on the field against New England.

The most common was a three-receiver, one tight end, one back set that included Chris Ogbonnaya, Davone Bess, Josh Gordon, Greg Little and Jordan Cameron (18 plays). That grouping has been the most common one used this season as well.

The second most common was one that had two tight ends, two receivers and running back Fozzy Whittaker (10 plays).

Seventeen of the different personnel groupings were on the field for one or two plays.

Clearly the Browns cut little back.

The most common personnel groupings:

One back, two receivers, two tight ends -- 31 plays

One back, three receivers, one tight end -- 25

Two backs, one receiver, two tight ends -- five (once with Joe Thomas at tight end)

Two backs, two receivers, one tight end -- four plays (two with Thomas again at tight end)

One back, one receiver, three tight ends -- three plays

Three receivers, two tight ends -- one

Two backs, three tight ends -- one (Oniel Cousins as the tight end)

The Browns called 16 passes on the 18 plays Gary Barnidge and Jordan Cameron were lined up at tight end. Two were touchdowns.

Not surprisingly, the Browns ran every time Thomas lined up at tight end. And one of the runs was the 34-yard reverse by Josh Gordon. On that play, Thomas flipped to the right side to line up at tight end, with Gary Barnidge sliding in to left tackle. The look helped sell the play as an inside handoff to Willis McGahee to the right side, but McGahee pitched to Gordon on the end-around. Jordan Cameron, a third tight end, technically lined up in the backfield on the play, as an H-back outside Thomas.

This kind of personnel usage would reflect the aggressiveness that Rob Chudzinski wants to bring to the team.

A quarterback with one day of practice?

So what.

Play aggressive and get after the Patriots suspect defense.

Explaining some mistakes vs. Jaguars

December, 2, 2013
There was plenty of accountability to spread around one day after the Browns lost to Jacksonville.

In two cases, things became clearer.

Cornerback Joe Haden said the entire defense is accountable for the Jaguars' 80-yard game-winning touchdown drive.

“We know at that time, no matter how it got there, [the game] was in our hands,” Haden said. “And we didn’t make the plays. It hurts. It sucks.”

On the other end, coach Rob Chudzinski said Brandon Weeden’s two interceptions go to the quarterback, not the receivers.

“They weren’t good decisions,” Chudzinski said. “The coverage was tight and, as I said before, those are the things that I know Brandon would want back.”

The first came on a seam route to Jordan Cameron that Chudzinski said was thrown into coverage. Cameron appeared open early in the route, but Chudzinski said Weeden threw the ball at the right time -- just into too many defenders.

“It wasn’t late,” Chudzinski said. ""It was just a tough throw to try and fit in there.”

The second was a deep out to a spot on the sideline, and Greg Little was not at the spot. The problem was Weeden again threw into coverage.

“It was a timing route that he threw to a spot and, again, coverage was too tight,” Chudzinski said.

Chudzinski also dismissed questions about being overly aggressive and that he should have played conservatively after Weeden’s first interception and go into the locker room with the game tied. He pointed out that when the protection broke down and Weeden fumbled, Josh Gordon was open down the sideline for a 25-yard gain.

“I want our guys, and we’re going to continue to develop that type of mentality, aggressive mentally,” Chudzinski said. “We’re going to play to win. We’re going to expect good things to happen and make good things happen, as opposed to being concerned about the bad things that might happen. There’s going to be times where it works out and there’s going to be times where it doesn’t work out. Obviously, hindsight is 20/20.”

As Forrest Gump might say, that’s all they have to say about that.

These Browns have different feel

November, 7, 2013
Joe Haden had never entered a bye week with more than two wins in his career.

He’d seen the Browns go a combined start of 6-14 (.300) before byes.

This season, the Browns are 4-5 and it feels like they’re two games from clinching a division.

Wednesday, the Browns left their locker room with a lot more confidence and a little more swagger than they have in recent seasons.

[+] EnlargeJoe Haden
AP Photo/David RichardJoe Haden and the Browns are playing with a swagger that is starting to produce results.
Some might consider swagger to be posing and extreme; Browns coach Rob Chudzinski calls it confidence borne from preparation. He has seen it. He’s lived it with the Miami Hurricanes. He has examples of it around him. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner coached under Jimmy Johnson and won Super Bowls with him. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton has no lack of confidence, and he’s brought an approach the defense likes. Russell Maryland played at the University of Miami with Chudzinski and went from having the last scholarship to being the first pick in the draft. He’s on the coaching staff. Wednesday, Chudzinski had Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin speak to the team.

Irvin said all the right things. But ... nobody remembered these speeches when the Browns were losing.

A team that hears this stuff and walks with swagger and doesn't win might as well be playing Tiddlywinks -- the swagger means nothing without results.

A 4-5 record might not be great results, but the way the past two games went seemed to bolster the team. The Browns hung in there against the team with the best record in the league, and they followed that performance by beating the defending Super Bowl champions.

Add to that the almost serene presence and excellent production Jason Campbell has brought -- Chudzinski said he “can’t say enough” about what Campbell has meant -- and the team takes a week off feeling good about itself instead of wondering where things will go the rest of the season.

For the first time in a long, long time, the Browns and their fans are talking about November in November, not April.

Haden said “by far” this is the best he’s felt about the Browns at a bye.

And he’s a good example of what is happening. In his first three seasons, Haden produced, but he also enjoyed his celebrity and newfound fame. A year ago, his four-game suspension was a key reason the Browns lost their first four games. As the season went on, he had other issues with practice and promptness.

This season, he’s a different guy.

He carries himself differently, acts differently and talks differently. He has a presence about him that screams he’s growing up and recognizing what it takes to win. Where a year ago, he might have fallen off the track, he now seems destined to come close to realizing how good he can be. The difference in his approach and personality is striking.

To a lesser extent, those traits seem to be present in other players, guys such as T.J. Ward, Phil Taylor, Jabaal Sheard, Jordan Cameron and Buster Skrine. Against Baltimore, even Greg Little looked like the player touted when he was drafted: A big, strong receiver who could go get the ball and run after a catch. Sprinkle a little veteran presence with Campbell and Willis McGahee and the mix seems to blend well.

Nine games do not make a season, and the test will be how the Browns finish. But this team has a different feel to it than past seasons. It just might be growing up and understanding what it takes to win.

Irvin spoke to the team about the commitment needed. Commitment doesn’t happen from words. It takes work and effort and drive and heart and unity and belief -- all intangibles that sound good until a team loses.

This same growth very well could have taken place with Pat Shurmur and Tom Heckert.

But it’s happening under Chudzinski, and it’s important.

The Browns are developing the feel of a team.
The Cleveland Browns got good news on the injury front the day after their 24-18 win over the Baltimore Ravens.

X-rays were negative on quarterback Jason Campbell. He has bruised ribs and may be able to practice during this bye week, coach Rob Chudzinski said.

Wide receiver Greg Little has a sprained shoulder and is listed as day-to-day.

Both injuries looked like they could have easily been worse. But both could be on the practice field Tuesday when the Browns return.

Chudzinski spoke very highly on a conference call about what Campbell has brought to the Browns in his two starts.

“I’m very happy that he’s OK, and he played really well,” Chudzinski said. “I think that you just look again at what he was able to do moving around and being able to extend plays, creating plays. Fourth downs, he was huge on; those were great throws and great plays he made. And Davone [Bess] made both in critical, critical situations.

“You saw the leadership standpoint, the calmness out there, the ability on the final drive to make plays and extend that drive when that was crunch time and that was a critical point in the game. His presence with our younger guys, what he’s doing is really giving us a lift.”

More than once Chudzinski used the word “calmness” referring to Campbell, and it’s appropriate. Campbell exudes a placid feeling that is very unusual for a quarterback. He’s comfortable with who he is, but he competes to the point that he would not leave the game despite being in serious pain.

“Based on him grimacing and knowing it was bothering him, seeing him out there and continuing to push through it -- I know he’s tough,” Chudzinski said. “Talking and looking at him, there was no way he was going to come out of that game and miss out for his teammates.”

Little was having his best game as a Brown, with seven catches for 122 yards, before he hurt his shoulder in the fourth quarter. Little’s aggressiveness going after the ball led to his success. He looked like the guy who was described when Tom Heckert drafted him -- a big, strong guy who could go get the ball and run after the catch.

“That’s something that we talk about,” Chudzinski said. “When the ball is in the air, attacking the football and being strong to the ball. That’s the way he played.”

Locker Room Buzz: Cleveland Browns

November, 3, 2013
CLEVELAND -- Observed in the locker room after the Cleveland Browns' 24-18 win against Baltimore:

X-Rays for Campbell: Browns quarterback Jason Campbell went immediately to the X-ray room next to the locker room to have his injured ribs checked. Campbell said he had trouble breathing after Haloti Ngata landed on him, and that continuing to play was difficult -- but he was not leaving a game he called a “must-win.” Campbell said he didn’t think he had broken ribs, but asked if he could play in a week if the Browns were not off, he said: “Who knows?”

Also hurt: Wide receiver Greg Little never made it into the locker room after the game, presumably because he needed treatment on an injured shoulder. Little had one of his best games as a Brown, with seven catches for 122 yards, but left the game in the fourth quarter after hurting his right shoulder.

Confident crew: The Browns seemed almost arrogant heading into the game, but after they simply seemed confident. The defense has been a completely different crew since receiving a tongue-lashing from the coaching staff at halftime in Kansas City, and the Browns now are in second place in the AFC North. It’s been a long time since the Browns beat the Ravens (since 2007), but this win was complete, efficient and impressive.

Confused by the Ravens: Brown defensive tackle Phillip Taylor said it seemed like the Ravens changed their entire offense form a year ago. He said it seemed like fullback Vontae Leach only was in for a couple plays, then added: “They're not gonna win like that.”

Reaching out: Owner Jimmy Haslam reached into the huddle around Davone Bess to shake the wide receiver’s hand after his two-touchdown game. Haslam then turned around and crossed paths with Campbell and offered the quarterback a greeting -- two guys who played key roles in the win.

More needed from Gordon on key pass

October, 20, 2013
D'Qwell Jackson scoffed at the notion that the difference between the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns is that Aaron Rodgers plays for the Packers and not the Browns.

"I can come up with 100 different excuses why we didn't win," Jackson said. "We just didn't win."

The quarterback play was a factor. Rodgers is one of the best and Brandon Weeden is trying to make it. Rodgers had two injured receivers for this game, but threw 10 times to Jarrett Boykin. He had one catch coming in, but had eight for 103 yards and a touchdown against the Browns.

[+] EnlargeJosh Gordon
Brian Kersey/Getty ImagesJosh Gordon was targeted six times Sunday against the Packers but he came up with just two catches for 21 yards.
Weeden needs to help his team the same way, though for Weeden it's not nearly as simple, or easy.

Weeden needs help, and when he does the players around him need to provide it. Wide receiver Josh Gordon has immense talent, clearly more talent than anyone else on the Browns' offense. But against the Packers he was handled by Sam Shields and Davon House.

This simply should not happen -- not if Gordon wants to be among the elite in the league, which he says he does.

Gordon also needs to go after every ball like it's his life savings. If he doesnt, it matters.

Early in the fourth quarter, the game was still a game. The Browns offense was struggling, but the defense wasn't -- and one key play could have changed the tenor of things.

The Packers led 17-6 when Browns coach Rob Chudzinski went for the first down on fourth-and-15 from the Green Bay 31. He bypassed a long field goal attempt because he felt the odds were not in the team's favor kicking into the wind.

So he went for the first down.

And Weeden threw a high pass down the left sideline to Gordon, who was covered but had space to catch the ball.

But instead of going up aggressively for the ball, Gordon let it come to him. He tried to cradle it in his body, which gave House a chance to knock the ball away. Receivers are taught to catch with their hands, not with their body. Gordon tried to catch with his body.

"It seemed like it was a playable ball," Chudzinski said. "And you'd like to see him come up with that catch."

Had Gordon extended his arms and gone after the ball, he'd have clearly had the strength and position to come down with it. That was not the play for a half-hearted effort. Not at that point in the game.

Gordon, though, thought his effort wasn't half-hearted.

"I definitely think I did attack it the way I usually do," Gordon said. "The DB made a great play on the ball."

House made a great play on the ball because Gordon gave him the chance to make the play. A guy like Calvin Johnson or A.J. Green or even Anquan Boldin doesn't give the defensive back that chance. It's what elite receivers do.

After the game Gordon and Little both were short and curt with their responses. That's their right; the team did lose.

But if that attitude was a reflection of their lack of faith in Weeden, it spells trouble for the Browns.

Because they aren't good enough to beat a team without every player doing everything he can to win. If the team truly believes in Weeden, it has to play like it does.

On that play, Gordon did not.

Locker Room Buzz: Cleveland Browns

October, 20, 2013
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Observed in the locker room after the Cleveland Browns' 31-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Angry faces: The angriest people in the locker room seemed to be the Browns' receivers. Interpreting their anger probably isn't wise, but their answers were ... curt. Said Josh Gordon of the offense: "We just didn't get it going as well as we should have." Said Greg Little: "Have to get better. That's it." There was a bit of an edge to their voices.

Evening grimace: This came from Brandon Weeden when he was asked how frustrated he is that he can't get the offense going. It either meant, "Geez, I'm doing my best" or "of course I'm frustrated."

Stay the course: Coach Rob Chudzinski said he gave no thought to pulling Weeden during the game, even though Weeden finished just 17-for-42. As for the future, Chudzinski said: "We'll always put the guys out there that give us the best chance to win."

Against the wind: Chudzinski said he eschewed a field goal on fourth-and-15 from the Green Bay 31 because the wind in that direction was strong and unpredictable. Kicker Billy Cundiff said Mason Crosby told him he hit a 52-yard try in that direction well, but it came up three yards short. Cundiff said the wind would have had to die to make the 48-yard kick worth trying. "(Coaches) get paid big bucks for a reason," Cundiff said.

Concerned for Finley: Safety Tashaun Gipson said a prayer for injured Packers tight end Jermichael Finley after Gipson's violent hit left Finley laying on the turf for several minutes. "I shot a prayer up for him and if I can reach out after the game I'm going to try to get in contact with him and let him know my condolences go out to him," Gipson said, adding the hit was all shoulder and it went so fast he still doesn't know what happened.