Bess’s Lack of Preseason Production


Jul 25, 2013; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Davone Bess (15) during training camp at the Cleveland Browns Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most important acquisitions this offseason has done little in the preseason and will be out for the game against the Indianapolis Colts.  The fact that Davone Bess is going to have little or no impact in the preseason should not be of any concern to Browns fans.  They know exactly what they are getting in him and while more catches might make fans feel better, the goal of preseason is to take advantage of the fact it does not count and work to improve areas that are bigger question marks.  Bess will be the security blanket and big time third down option he has been his entire career this season.

Bess was brought in when the Browns traded down about 50 spots on the third day of the draft with the Miami Dolphins not only because he is a reliable receiving option who can move the chains, but because of his work ethic and leadership for a position that was in need of it. Whether it is because of the presence of Bess or merely coincidence, Greg Little has become the hardest working player on the team and earned the respect of the locker room.  This was made clear when D’Qwell Jackson stood up for him in light of the traffic incidents he has had recently and the talk of a single car accident from April.

Some might be concerned with Brandon Weeden developing chemistry with his newest weapon and that can be done in practice. The other part is the fact that while with the Dolphins, Bess caught passes from four different starting quarterbacks including Chad Pennington, Chad Henne, Matt Moore, and most recently Ryan Tannehill in his rookie campaign.  In his worst season, he still caught 51 passes. Making the adjustment to Weeden should not be difficult and the Browns are likely going to expect another season of somewhere between 50 and 75 catches this season.  Bess just understands how to get open and catches the ball regardless of who throws it at him.

The larger concern this preseason was for the Browns and Weeden to figure out what they have in players like Little, Josh Gordon, and Jordan Cameron. Those three have the biggest questions as well as the most talent that needs to flourish this year for the Browns to succeed along with Weeden. As a result, the preseason was far more crucial for them and giving them as many opportunities to shine as possible. In the case of Little and Cameron, there is more pressure on them in particular because it is their third season in the league and they need to show some results on their potential. Both have shown flashes but they have not been reliable weapons yet, so focusing the preseason attention on them and Gordon rather than Bess was prudent planning.  Bess does not need to prove anything.

As long as Bess is healthy and ready to go for the opening game against the Dolphins, which all reports suggest he will be, everything should be fine. The fact the opening game is against his former team will be that much more motivation. By most accounts, the Browns got a steal in Bess and the deal was structured in a way that really seemed the Dolphins were happy to be rid of him. Even if that is not true, Bess is probably interpreting it that way and using it to get angrier, more focused and looking to prove a point in that game while showing he is actually on the better football team.  Bess being relatively quiet in the preseason should be all but forgotten after he catches a few passes and moves the chains in that game.