Cleveland Browns: Josh Gordon a bright spot in loss to Buccaneers
The play of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon was one of the few positives from a 30-13 loss to the Buccaneers Friday night.
The Cleveland Browns have had a rough start to the 2016 preseason. Friday night’s 30-13 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drops the Browns to 0-3 with one preseason game to go before the start of the real season.
There have been few bright spots for the team in those three games, but wide receiver Josh Gordon gave fans something to look forward to during his return to NFL action Friday night.
Gordon, playing in his first professional game since the 2014 season, hauled in two catches for a total of 87 yards and a touchdown.
The first catch came on the team’s first offensive possession, drawing parallels to the big plays seen by Terrelle Pryor in the first two preseason games.
It is rather amazing how Gordon can miss so much time and come back at an elite level, but it speaks to the work ethic he had when suspended. Some players may have just sat around and done nothing, but Gordon was staying in shape in preparation for his return.
His second catch of the night went for a touchdown, giving fans a glimpse of the Robert Griffin III to Gordon connection that can begin once Gordon returns in Week 5.
Gordon comes back to the team in Week 5 and will be the number one receiver right away. Rookie Corey Coleman was drafted to be the team’s top option, but that was when Gordon’s status for 2016 was in doubt. Coleman is expected to be a great receiver, but Gordon is on a whole different level.
The former Baylor Bear finished as the team’s leader in receiving yards, with Taylor Gabriel next with 60 yards on six catches.
Terrelle Pryor finished with two catches for 15 yards, and will be the offense’s deep threat until Gordon returns. Even after his return, having both of them on the outside is going to be hard for opposing defenses to handle.
Gordon is the last Browns receiver to really threaten opposing defenses, and the inclusion of Pryor will give the Browns a threat similar to what the Buccaneers have in Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson.
Next: Defense struggles in loss to Bucs
Height at the receiver position has been a concern in recent years, so 2016 should offer a pleasant change on that front. Pryor seems reliable, but it will be up to Gordon to stay clean and be available from Week 5 until the end of the season. If he can do that, Browns fans will be seeing countless plays similar to what was seen Friday night.