For the first time since Week 15 in 2014, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is preparing himself to play in an NFL game after he was reinstated by commissioner Roger Goodell on November 1. Whether it’s watching film, getting his body ready, or a number of other things, Gordon hasn’t gotten to do this in almost three full years.
When on the field, the wide out was briefly one of the best in the game, or at least he was during his first stint in the NFL. Whether it’s his 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame, his dynamic playmaking ability, or his speed, Gordon is quite a special talent and one the Browns are badly in need.
After reporting to the facility on November 7 to attend meetings and go through individual workouts, the wide out has been preparing for his season debut this Sunday in Los Angeles. Head coach Hue Jackson is very excited to get Gordon back and to see what he has to offer. Luckily for both the Browns and the receiver, it seems as though Gordon will get plenty of chances to prove if he still has it.
“No, we will probably wait a little bit, but I don’t think there is any reason just to do it today. My plans for him? Oh boy. let me tell you,” he said with laughter. “I have big plans for him. I plan for him to play and play as much as he can handle. I think he is a very talented player. He needs to play, needs to get out there and play but we have to see where he is and make sure how much can he handle, how much can he do.”
While Jackson says that he has big plans for Gordon, just remember that the head coach has said that multiple times this season about his top playmaker on offense, Duke Johnson. He has turned that into under-utilizing Johnson and continuing to not give him the ball, so take whatever the head coach says for a grain of salt until he actually walks the walk.
With that said, while Gordon has been out of the league for quite some time after he was suspended for a total of 53 games and hasn’t played in a full season since 2013. That season, he totaled a franchise record 1,646 yards on 87 receptions (159 targets) and nine touchdowns to go along with five carries for 88 yards. He led the league in receiving yards and yards per reception (18.9).
Since Gordon’s dominant 2013 season, the next-best Browns receiver has been wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, who had 77 catches (140 targets) for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns before darting to Washington this past offseason. After Gordon had been suspended for 43 of the Browns’ past 48 games due to repeated violations, it remained doubtful he would reclaim the status, but he now has the chance.
Oh, we’re doing Josh Gordon gifs? Okay… pic.twitter.com/O0sXh0wi5x
— Jake Burns (@jake_burns18) November 28, 2017
To say that Cleveland needs another playmaker on offense, especially on the outside, would be an understatement. Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer has shown glimpses of promise, but without a legitimate threat on the outside, it’s hard to succeed. Whether it’s dropped passes, guys not getting open, or just the inability to make plays, Kizer has had little help offensively.
Along with bringing his talented skill set back to the team, Jackson admitted that the locker room and practices have a different, exciting feel since Gordon returned to practice.
“He gives me energy, yeah, which means I am going to give them energy, which means they will have energy. Yeah, Josh is a good player. I don’t want to make it more than what it is because he has not played for me really other than in the preseason games,” Jackson said. “Hopefully, Josh will come back and bring a different spirit to our offensive football team and football team and he can make some plays. If he does that, then he will be doing just what we need him to do. I think the players have seen him out there and they have seen what he can do. I think they are excited about him playing and about playing with him. That within itself will bring something to this football team.”
Honestly, even at 85 percent of what he used to be, Gordon could be the best receiver the Browns have had since 2013. He’s not a savior, but he’s the outside weapon the offense has been in search of for quite some time. Maybe, just maybe, Gordon will be the reason why the Browns win at least one game this season.
The winless Browns will look to beat the Chargers for the second time in two years and make Los Angeles it’s only two wins over the last 27 games.