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Gordon sees progress from young Browns

Posted Dec 3, 2012

Wide receiver Josh Gordon is happy with the way the younger Browns are contributing in all phases of the game.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon caught six passes for 116 yards and one touchdown and was one of many young players who contributed in the team’s 20-17 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

In addition to Gordon, rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden completed 25 passes for 364 yards, a Browns rookie record, and one touchdown in Oakland, while first-year running back Trent Richardson ran for 72 yards and a three-yard score against the Raiders.

“I think our future is bright here in Cleveland,” Gordon said. “We’ve got a lot of young guys on the team and veterans that are showing us the ropes. We definitely have a hungry squad and we’re ready to get after it for seasons to come.”

Gordon said getting a defense to look at him has gone hand-in-hand with production underneath from second-year wide receiver Greg Little. Little enters this week with 408 yards and two touchdowns on 35 receptions.

“At times, when we’re both in, they may play the safeties a little bit deeper or maybe closer to my side being cautious of me taking the top off a defense with the deep play,” Gordon said. “They kind of leave the middle open for the underneath routes and other routes that Greg can make good possession catches and first downs for us and give us a lot of good YAC (yards after the catch). Either way, it makes it hard for a defense to focus on one of us.”

Browns coach Pat Shurmur added, “You’ve got two guys there that love playing the game. I think their roles have been established, so to speak, in how we use them. What you notice now is, we don’t have much of a rotation at the receiver position because we’ve kind of established who our guys are as we move forward. We’ve got Josh in the game most of the time; you’ve got Greg Little in the game most of the time. As roles get established, then, they tend to play better and I think that’s what we’re getting.”

Individually, Gordon has been on the receiving end of 20 passes for 313 yards and one score over his last five games. He leads the team with 646 receiving yards and five touchdown catches and is among the NFL’s best in catches of 20 or more yards by a rookie and average yards per reception.

All five of Gordon’s touchdowns have been longer than 20 yards.

“You’ve always got to determine what’s down here (in your heart) and what’s up here (in your head) and how that all plays together,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. “I think every field opportunity he gets, he works to improve,” Shurmur said. “He’s always out there doing that. I think he’s got tremendous skill and ability. Time will tell how good he can be and I’m impressed with the direction he’s going. I think it’s a good thing.

“When you put a guy on the field that can make big plays and get in the end zone, that’s when all of a sudden, the guys sitting around playing defense start saying, ‘Okay, how are we going to handle this?’ I’m not sure we had a lot of those guys around here last year.”

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