Browns’ Gordon creating buzz
BEREA, Ohio — Bears coach Marc Trestman said that Josh Gordon has already been the talk at Bears’ headquarters.
“The buzz around the building is (the Browns) have a great player there in No. 12.”
After putting up more than 200 receiving yards over an unprecedented back-to-back games, Gordon dropped back to just 151 yards on seven receptions last week against the Patriots.
“He’s doing things that have never been done,” Browns cornerback Joe Haden said.
Haden gets to see the best receivers up close and personal each week in the NFL and thinks Gordon is something special.
“He’s different from all these big receivers because he’s legit fast,” Haden said. “He’s 4.3 (speed). That makes it a whole different thing.”
Left tackle Joe Thomas has seen Gordon’s emergence right before his eyes.
“I think we’re just starting to see the type of talent that he has and it’s exciting.”
Currently, Gordon leads the entire NFL in receiving yardage with 1,400 yards on 71 receptions (19.1 avg.). Next is Calvin Johnson, who has 1,348 yards.
Gordon has the best four-game receiving stretch in NFL history with 774 yards in that span. He had 237 yards on Nov. 24 against the Steelers and then followed that up with 261 yards against the Jaguars on Dec. 1. Last week, against the New England, Gordon put up 151 yards on seven receptions, including an 80-yard touchdown.
Gordon continues to downplay his accomplishments.
“I haven’t thought about it,” Gordon said. “I’m sure it’s a great statistic to have, but I really don’t think about that a lot.”
Gordon is averaging 127.3 receiving yards a game this season, tops in the NFL. If Gordon maintains his current pace, he would have 1,781 yards, which would tie him for the third most in NFL history.
Gordon is averaging 18.2 yards per catch since joining the Browns, which is the highest average in the NFL. He also leads the league with receptions over 20 yards with 24. Gordon has scored 13 touchdowns in his career, 12 from 20 yards or longer. He’s tied for the league-lead with receptions over 40 yards with eight. Thus far in 2013, Gordon has scored touchdowns on plays from 95, 80 and 75 yards out.
Despite his success, Gordon is trying to stay even-keeled.
“I’ve been getting a lot more attention, media wise,” he said. “But I am just going to keep being the same person I’ve always been. I feel as though there’s a lot more to come out of it.
“I haven’t reached where I’m trying to go,” he said. “I try to stay humble and that’s really just my personality.”
A couple weeks ago, Gordon didn’t want to talk about the Pro Bowl, but his numbers are so eye-popping it would be hard to keep him out of Hawaii.
“Hopefully with the rest of the season if the numbers stay where they are, then yeah (on the Pro Bowl).”
He was reluctant to answer when he was asked if he is one of the best receivers in the NFL.
“Among the best? I hope I am,” he said. “Hopefully, I can stay there and keep performing (at that level).”
This week’s opponent, the Bears have Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery has had two 200-yard games this season. Most recently, he had 249 yards on Dec. 1 against the Vikings and had 218 against the Saints on Oct. 6.
Gordon is looking forward to playing against those two. He said each of them are different in their own way.
“Those are great, talented receivers,” he said. “I think we all have our different dynamics. Those guys go up and get the high ball. I think I stretch the field and we all have different aspects of our game.”
Marshall has been impressed with what Gordon has done.
“The thing I’m most impressed with, you take a kid who had some blemishes and character issues and he gets it early,” Marshall said. “From a distance, you can see him maturing and that’s impressive. If he can keep growing the sky is the limit for that kid.”
When Gordon was coming back after his two-game suspension to start the season, Gordon said he wanted to be a household name.
“I want to reach that goal of being one of the household names, the kind of NFL athletes that you could refer to when you think of wide receiver, big play kind of guy like those kind of guys,” Gordon said on Sept. 25. “I work on it every week, and going out there and doing it during the game is the biggest time to prove it.”
He is well on his way.
— At 4-9, the Browns are playing out their schedule, but the coaches and players stress that the games have meaning.
“Really, we haven’t talked about it in that role more than what we need to do (this week),” Chudzinski said. “We haven’t talked about it in terms of being the underdog or spoiler. It’s important for us to make progress in December.”
The players think winning in December can carry over to the next season.
“It’s important to finish strong,” LB Paul Kruger said.
DB T.J. Ward agreed.
“It can definitely be a momentum builder.”
The Browns won their final four games in 2009 under Eric Mangini, but proceeded to lose five of their first six to open the 2010 season.
Chudzinski thinks there is some carry over.
“There are aspects and elements that can carry over,” he said. “What you see at the end of the season doesn’t necessarily carry over (to the next season). I’ve seen a mind set that continues to evolve and those are the things that you want to see coming forward.”
Thomas thinks the Browns are trending in the right direction.
“We’ve shown when we had a run,” Thomas said. “With a good off-season, I think we’re just a couple of pieces away.”
— Bears coach Marc Trestman interviewed with the Browns for the head coaching position before landing with the Bears.
“I was grateful for the opportunity (for the interview with the Browns),” Trestman said.
Trestman was the offensive coordinator for the Browns in 1988 when the Browns went through four quarterbacks.
“Bernie (Kosar) got hurt, (Mike) Pagel got hurt, (Gary) Danielson got hurt and (Don) Strock got hurt.”
Trestman said he learned a lot about coaching from Marty Schottenheimer.
“I learned a lot when Marty was head coach and my memories are very good. “
— DB T.J. Ward was named the Browns recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award. Ward was named over a couple players, including OL Jason Pinkston, who was sidelined with a life-threatening blood clot in his lung.
“First of all, I want to say thank you, and it means a lot in being chosen as the winner of this award by my teammates and my peers,” Ward said. “It means a lot to come back from injury, period. A lot of guys go through this, like other guys on the list, Phil Taylor and Jason Pinkston, so it was definitely an honor to receive this award and to be awarded by my teammates. It means a lot to me.”
— OL John Greco (sprained knee), OL Reid Fragel (undisclosed) and RB Willis McGahee (concussion) didn’t practice on Wednesday. OL Jason Pinkston filled in for Greco when he was injured against the Patriots and is likely to play this week.
Against the Patriots, Pinkston replaced OL Shawn Lauvao at right guard and then had to move over to the left side when Greco was hurt.
“It was part of the plan that he would get reps at left guard,” Chudzinski said “I thought he did a good job. He actually played right and left guard.”
The Browns signed RB Edwin Baker off of the Texans’ practice squad, in case McGahee isn’t cleared for this week’s game.
“Norv (Turner) was with him on the practice squad in San Diego,” Chudzinski said. “He has good running skills, can move well. He also has experience (with the) terminology.”
Chudzinski said that McGahee was sent home but was feeling better.
— QB Brandon Weeden (concussion) was cleared to return to practice Wednesday but still has to be evaluated by an independent neurologist before he is cleared to play. The Browns released QB Caleb Hanie on Tuesday, leaving Alex Tanney as the other quarterback on the roster.
“Brandon has some hurdles to clear before the game,” Chudzinski said. “We’ll make that determination later (in the week).”
— Trestman says the Bears did not practice Wednesday, but he will name his starting quarterback on Thursday.
“We’ll make it very clear tomorrow when we start practicing,” Trestman said.
WR Brandon Marshall has been very impressed with what backup QB Josh McCown has done in QB Jay Cutler’s absence.
“Josh really gets it,” Marshall said. “He’s helped us out a lot and has kept us in the big picture (playoffs).”
McCown was the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Cowboys last week.
“We have to be prepared for both,” Chudzinski said. “There are similarities in players, but doesn’t affect how we prepare.
“Both McCown and Cutler are very good fits for their system,” he said. “(They’re) making very good decisions and playing really good football. Obviously, the people around (the quarterback) are getting open and pretty formidable.”