Can Josh Gordon Help Improve The Cleveland Offense?
The Cleveland Browns had been a complete disaster offensively this season, until they faced the Minnesota Vikings and scored 31 points in a come from behind victory Sunday. The funny thing is, this was the game that looked to present the most problems to date. Since starting quarterback Brandon Weeden was out with a thumb injury, the Browns handed the keys to the Pinto over to third string QB Brian Hoyer. On top of that, Trent Richardson (the third overall pick in the 2012 draft) was dealt to Indianapolis in a shocking midweek trade.
Richardson was the lead dog and the only Cleveland running back to even record a carry through the first two weeks. Huge things were expected from T-Rich, especially with new offensive coordinator Norv Turner calling the plays. Turner has coached some of the biggest and best fantasy running back seasons of all-time. Emmitt Smith, LaDainian Tomlinson, Ricky Williams, Frank Gore and even Terry Allen were just a few of the backs to record monster seasons with Turner at the helm. In fact, Turner’s primary RB has recorded at least 1,000 yards 15 times. Those are big time numbers. With the talent Richardson showed at Alabama and in his rookie season, just a 1,000 yard season would’ve been a disappointment. Alas, the new regime in Cleveland wanted to move in a different direction, so he was dealt to Indy for a first round pick. It was a tough week to be a Browns fan.
Lost in all the doom and gloom was the return of sophomore receiver Josh Gordon. He missed the first two weeks due to a 2-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Gordon may not be Megatron, but he is definitely the Browns best wide receiver and is a threat to score 6 on any reception. The Browns severely missed his big play ability in the first two weeks. With Greg Little and Davone Bess as the starting wideouts, little fear was instilled in opposing defenses. Fortunately for the Browns, Jordan Cameron finally lived up to his massive potential. Otherwise, Cleveland may have been shut out in both contests.
Even with the emergence of Cameron, the Browns were held to just 16 points while Gordon was out. Needless to say, Josh Gordon was a welcome addition to the offensive attack on Sunday. In the win over the Vikings, he showed exactly how valuable he is to this offense. Gordon caught 10 balls for 146 yards and a TD. He also added one carry for 22 yards. Not too shabby a debut!
Josh Gordon Stats Week 3
Gordon’s presence was felt in more ways than his stats will tell. The rag-tag group of running backs the Browns ran on the field were expected to be completely shut down. Instead, they rushed for the most yards Cleveland has put up all season. 103 yards may not be a great day, but when your last two games net you 47 and 65 totals, 103 looks amazing!
The trio of Willis McGahee, Bobby Rainey and Chris Ogbonnaya led the way replacing Richardson. It was McGahee’s first action in nearly a year. As he shakes the rust off, he will improve. With Gordon back, defenses can no longer stack the box and force Cleveland to be one-dimensional. Gordon’s big play ability will have every opposing safety worried about him blowing by them, which will open up lanes for McGahee to plow through. Josh Gordon’s impact will be felt even more by his fellow pass-catchers.
Josh Gordon Stats 2012
Even with Cameron’s hot start, things got much easier for him Sunday. The Vikings had to worry about Gordon so much, that safety help crept to the outside and opened the middle of the field. With that extra space, Cameron had a field day grabbing 6 passes for 66 yards and 3 TDs, including the game winner. Bess also had his best day. Working primarily out of the slot, he recorded 7 catches for 67 yards. In all, Hoyer threw for 321 yards and 3 touchdowns. The fourth TD came via a fake FG with punter Spencer Lanning hitting Cameron for an 11-yard TD.
The Browns are not going to be confused with the Denver Broncos offense any time soon. Their QB situation is now murky with Hoyer having a nice game in place of Weeden. Until Willis McGahee gets up to speed, the rushing attack will be a committee approach with no true household name. With Josh Gordon however, this offense is no longer a cupcake for opposing defenses to overlook. The 2nd round pick in the supplemental draft out of Baylor makes Cleveland legit.
Defenses always have to account for his presence. He will draw double teams and allow other receivers to work with more space. His big play ability will keep teams from stacking the box, thus opening more running lanes for Browns backs. Of course, his athletic ability adds a dimension the Browns just don’t have without him. He will go up and get balls most receivers can’t even touch, let alone catch. He has top end speed, allowing him to rack up yards after the catch making every grab a chance for a Browns touchdown.
Josh Gordon Fantasy Value