Josh Gordon Can Dominate Upon His Return

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Aug 9, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns face off with the Oakland Raiders tomorrow in a mid-afternoon affair. The Browns are still at .500 and have two winnable games ahead of them but many fans are looking forward to Week 12 and Josh Gordon‘s return.

The Browns will face off with the Atlanta Falcons in Gordon’s first game back from his 10 game suspension. The Browns have played well on offense, except for last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but the return of Gordon has fans excited. He is the big play, tall, fast receiver every fan wants. His absence has made many fans crying about the Browns not drafting Sammy Watkins. To be fair some fans would want both on the team.

Many of you have read, and re-read, our piece on why Josh Gordon could struggle upon his return. Most did not agree with that piece. It will be re-posted as the second page of this article for reference if you haven’t had a chance to read over it.

Today we take a look at why Gordon could dominate upon his return:


While it may take Gordon some time to get into game shape upon his return, he will return to the Browns fully healthy. While the rest of the league’s players will be nicked up after 10 or 11 games, Gordon will be fresh. Having nagging injuries from a long season could make Gordon’s top end speed even that much faster than the competition. Players coming back from long layoffs often struggle with hamstring issues, so that will be a small concern, but his time in the facilities over the past few weeks should help with that.

Running Game

The Browns, against except for last week, have had a dominate running game. That running game has opened up the play action passing attack that Brian Hoyer has led so well. With the defenders having to take a step up to attack the rushing game, Gordon should be able to cross just behind the linebackers on crossing routes or get a step on the safety on deep routes. Last year Gordon was amazing and the Browns had zero running game. With a running game he will be downright scary.

Brian Hoyer

Gordon has experience with Hoyer and the quarterback has shown improvement this season. Hoyer’s accuracy, decision making and professional leadership will ensure that Gordon gets the ball as often as possible, when he is open. Hoyer showed last season that he trusted Gordon to either catch the ball or make sure that it was not intercepted. This season he has shown a similar trust with his receivers. Having, possibly, the best young receiver in the NFL will only serve to increase Hoyer’s confidence in the passing game.

Other Threats

Last season it was Gordon and Jordan Cameron and nothing else to threaten defenses. Now the Browns have added slot dynamo Andrew Hawkins, savvy veteran Miles Austin and young players like Taylor Gabriel and Marlon Moore to the offense. The Browns have also used Jim Dray as a second tight end in the receiving game, to some success. The Browns running backs have not had a great number of chances but have also shown acumen in the passing game. All of those skill players means that defenses won’t be able to load up on Gordon as much.

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While the offense has looked good it obviously has a need for a bigger receiver with big play capabilities. Running smaller receivers on some routes makes for difficult completions. Deep throws, back shoulder fades, post routes and corner routes all would benefit from the taller Gordon running them. The geometry to complete those passes over and around defenders is much easier with a bigger target. Gordon’s height, speed and overall size also makes him a viable place to force the ball when a play is needed; third downs and redzone. The Browns have a need for Gordon and should exploit him.


Finally, Gordon has to start thinking about his free agency. He has done a load of damage to his stock by his off the field issues. There is little he can do to dramatically improve that quickly but he can do something to continue to prove his ability to dominate on the field. Gordon should return focused and determined. That has been one area that has seemed to be missing from his game in the past. Whether it was playing for a losing team or just his personality, Gordon often seemed to coast. An aggressive, assertive Josh Gordon should scare everyone.

Which do you think will lead to Gordon dominating?

In case you missed it, on the next page is reasons that Gordon could struggle upon his return or click the box below.

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