As a local market representative and league manager of one of 16 teams invited to be a part of Crown Royal’s inaugural Fantasy Football League dubbed “First and Crown,” I will be using this spot every Sunday before the Browns kick off against their respective opponent to tell you who we’ll be watching during this week’s contest.
This Week’s Spotlight: MarQueis Gray, TE
With Jordan Cameron’s absence reducing the Cleveland Browns offensive play-making ranks to one (Josh Gordon), all eyes will be on the Big Ten quarterback turned tight end, MarQueis Gray to see if he can not only add an element to the team’s offense outside of the Wildcat, but potentially lock up a spot on this roster into 2014. The 6-foot-4-inch, 250-pound Gray will be behind fellow newcomer Gary Barnidge on the official depth chart, but there’s no denying that the former Minnesota Golden Gopher offers a bit more in the way of a pleasant mix of athleticism and mystery when it comes to route running and the ability to create space in the open field.
Gray has said all of the right things. By all accounts, he’s stepped up in practice and appears to echo the words of his offensive coordinator—no excuses, next man up.
“Usually guys that make a position change, it’s two or three years, particularly if you move from quarterback to another position, before they can really feel comfortable playing,” said Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner of Gray. “I think he’s way ahead of that. I think he’s made great strides and I expect him to be a guy that’s got a real good future with our team, with our organization, because he does a lot of things well. I think because he hasn’t played as a receiver, whether a tight end or a move guy or a slot guy, he can improve real fast.”
Last week, Gray ran for 18 and 12 yards off of direct snaps to set up an Edwin Baker TD run. This week, he will likely be asked to do a lot more than catch a snap and run immediately to his left. This week, MarQueis Gray is in the spotlight.
Previous Spotlight Players: