Today's Pigskin

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon (12) at the Cleveland Browns training camp in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)
Cleveland Browns

Browns could have scary receiving corps

(Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)

Robert Griffin III took the shotgun snap Tuesday, got his feet under him, and then fired a strike to a slanting Josh Gordon. Later, Griffin launched a beautiful deep pass that fell softly into the hands of Corey Coleman.

During the last preseason game, Griffin dropped back and hit a sprinting Terrelle Pryor Sr. in stride for what turned into a 50-yard touchdown. If you add Gary Barnidge, who led the Browns in receiving in 2015 with 79 catches for 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns, then the Browns currently employ a very dangerous receiving unit. The only doubt is whether the team will keep them all or if the unit stays out of trouble.

Mainly, that falls on Gordon. There is no doubting the talent the fourth-year receiver out of Baylor has. In 25 games, Gordon has 161 catches for 2,754 yards and 14 touchdowns. That is a blistering 17.1 yards per catch.

But Gordon hasn’t played since 2014 because of NFL suspensions and there were rumors floating around Tuesday there is interest on the trade market for the receiver, who still has to serve a four-game suspension to start the 2016 season. Still, Gordon looked strong on Tuesday.

“It was very good,” Gordon said of Tuesday’s practice. “I really liked it. I think it was great for me. I felt great. I felt fine. A lot of sweat so I know the sun was working, but I felt good, though.”

Gordon said he is thankful the club has stuck by him during his difficult times. He is trying to ignore the rumors and work on getting as much work in as possible.

“I really can’t comment on that,” he said of the trade rumors. “I’m not really sure. I haven’t heard too much about it. Cleveland is my team. That is where I want to be and everything like that, but that’s not even in the ballpark for me. I’m not really sure how that works.

“I think it works out perfectly then for me,” he said. “Mr. (Jimmy) Haslam, the organization and (Head) Coach (Hue) Jackson, I think the world of those guys and their decisions and this organization. They’re family. They’re showing me love and respect back to me by allowing me to stay here up to this point, and I expect to move forward with that. I’m excited about it. It’s where I want to be and I’m happy to be in Cleveland.”

If Gordon stays, the Browns could throw out three tall receivers (Gordon, Pryor and Barnidge are all 6-foot-3 or taller) but add in the 5-foot-11 Coleman and there are at least three speedsters in the unit as well.

Pryor, the converted quarterback from Ohio State, is still learning the nuances of the position. Still, he has the most upside and his ability to blow by receivers at the NFL level works with the arm strength of Griffin.

“I don’t want to go and put bulletin board material stuff out there because we’re all pros out here,” Pryor said. “We’re all going to battle. If you look at just the size and speed of what me and Josh have, of course, it is somewhat of a disadvantage in some stuff. We are going to go out there and battle our butts off. We have great talent. Corey is coming back. He’ll be back (Wednesday) full go, and Hawk (Andrew Hawkins) is coming back. We’re starting to get our guys back so it’s exciting, and we just have to get better as a whole group and play harder tomorrow.”

Even Jackson had to acknowledge the advantages his team could have with the full complement of receivers at his disposal. The first-year Browns coach chuckled at the possibilities Tuesday.

“They provide us with some opportunities to do some things that we like to do,” Jackson said. “Pryor, (Gordon), Corey, Hawk, we have a lot of good guys, a lot of different pieces that we can use.

“They could be all over the place,” he said. “I think you guys know me. I come up with all these crazy dreams and I’ll put these guys all over the place. They might be playing tackle someday you never know. Those guys afford us an opportunity to do a lot of different things. We are just scratching the surface because we have to keep them all out there. Sometimes you have to make amends if one is not out there, two of them are not out there. We will just keep working through it, but they are talented.”

It’s a big if to see if they all are there. Still, the thought is scary for opponents of the Browns.

Browns could have scary receiving corps

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