Perhaps the biggest positive to take away from the tumultuous first two weeks of the Browns’ offense was the emergence of 25-year-old tight end Jordan Cameron as the big play threat. Sunday marked the return of last season’s breakout stud Josh Gordon and the duo did not disappoint. Gordon posted 10 catches for 146 yards and a touchdown and Cameron nabbed 3 touchdowns of his own, including the game winner.
Naturally, the talk around the team turned to the turmoil surrounding Josh Gordon. We sure like turmoil around here. Gordon, who was returning from a suspension for violating the league’s drug policy again, is now at the center of trade rumors swirling around Cleveland. Early on in Sunday’s game, it felt like the team was running a Josh Gordon combine to drive up trade value. But the Browns accidentally won the game, thanks to the contributions of the new dual threat, and the organization has a bit of a dilemma on their hands now. Clearly, the organizational moves of last week revealed the Browns’ front office has no intention of competing seriously this season. But trading Gordon at this point might drive a beleaguered fan base over the edge. Speculation is that Gordon is not a fit in the long-term plans of the current administration, but should he be?
The potential of Gordon is unreal; He’s a 22-year-old in a Terrell Owens-type body. He draws a lot of comparisons to TO because of their near-identical size and strength, but it’s not really a fair comparison… to Gordon. Gordon has already demonstrated a better set of hands and on-field attitude than Owens ever had. He has picked up right where he left off last season; about 10 yards behind the secondary. Gordon has done nearly everything right when on the field, but that’s not the problem anybody has with him.
Gordon’s simply too big of a headache for the proud Browns franchise to put up with. Excuse me? Gordon is already far and away the best receiver the Browns have had since the 1999 reboot. At a time when the Browns are trading starting running backs to compete in a passing league and positioning to draft the franchise quarterback they’ve never had, they’re going to do this without a cornerstone receiver? Wouldn’t it be a novelty if the Browns had two big weapons on offense, like they showcased on Sunday with Gordon and Cameron? It was a thing of beauty when the Browns marched down the field in the final two minutes of Sunday’s game. First down Cameron, first down Gordon, touchdown Cameron.
Even with absolutely nothing going on in the run game, the dual threat of Gordon and Cameron was able to keep the Browns offense operating. Keeping these two together is not only in the best interest of the short-term product but with Gordon in his second season and Cameron just now getting serious playing time in the NFL, they’re also just scratching the surface of what they can do in a Norv Turner offense. Even in a rebuild, they’re young enough to develop alongside the quarterback the Browns target in the 2014 NFL Draft and can even help that quarterback’s development immensely.
With Gordon’s checkered past, the Browns must face the fact that this is a league that is willing to repeatedly overlook off-the-field issues when talent of Gordon’s caliber is in play. Some are able to put it behind them and some never do, as evidenced in a week where the Bengals’ Adam Jones was arrested for the eighth time in his NFL career. Gordon has stated earlier this year that this is his last chance, an outlook he needs to have, but the Browns have to know that there’s a long line of teams that would be willing to ensure that it won’t be his last chance.