Gordon's progress impresses coaches

Posted Nov 29, 2013

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon has shown progress since returning from an early-season suspension.

By the time the clock ran out in the Cleveland Browns’ 27-11 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium, second-year wide receiver Josh Gordon had broken two team records and tied a third.

Gordon caught 14 passes for 237 yards and one touchdown, breaking Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome’s team record for the most receiving yards in a game, tying Newsome for the most receptions in a single game, and surpassing Braylon Edwards’ mark for the most 100-yard receiving games in a single season by a Browns player.

But for as much progress as Gordon has shown on the field, the Browns’ coaching staff has seen him develop off the field as well.

“He’s come a long way in a lot of different areas,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said. “A lot of those things, I see on a day-to-day basis. It may be tough to see for somebody on the outside looking in, but how he’s approaching the game, how he’s being a professional, the steps he’s taken in those regards, you see it and you see the progress.

“Young players go through that process, and a lot of times, it’s two steps forward and maybe, they take a step back. Generally, there’s been a lot of progress on his part, and I think you’re starting to see it. It’s showing out on the field, and it’s a matter of consistency. As guys continue to grow, you want them to be consistent in that way.”

Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner said he considers Gordon to be one of the best young receivers he has worked with in his 38 years as a coach, including the three-year run with the Dallas Cowboys where he guided an offense that featured three future Pro Football Hall of Famers, including wide receiver Michael Irvin, to back-to-back Super Bowl titles in 1992 and 1993.

“He’s way ahead of the young receivers I’ve been around in terms of the way he’s developed through this year,” Turner said. “You get an opportunity to have a game like that, and you don’t want it to be in a situation where you’re behind or when it’s a losing cause, but the fact that he physically did it means that he’s going to continue to do it, and he’s going to help his team win a lot of games.”

Turner said “the combination of his ability to make big plays and develop as a route-runner” has helped Gordon improve, and his performance against the Steelers reflect those beliefs.

Gordon broke the franchise record for the most 100-yard receiving games in a single season with a 47-yard catch from quarterback Brandon Weeden on the Browns’ first full possession of the fourth quarter.

Then, he surpassed Newsome’s mark for yards in a game with a 16-yard reception on first-and-10 from Pittsburgh’s 17-yard line with four minutes to play. Two plays later, Gordon caught a one-yard touchdown pass from Weeden.

On the Browns’ last possession of the fourth quarter, Gordon equaled Newsome’s record for most receptions in a game.

“The things we asked him to do when we got here were totally different than he was taught to run routes,” Turner said. “In college, the style of offenses these teams run are not the disciplined routes that we’d ask guys to run. It’s a process of physically learning how to do it and then, doing it the same over and over and over again, and he’s improved in that area.

“I think he’s learning all of the things you have to do in this league, whether it be things you have to do in meetings, things you have to do in walk-throughs, things you have to do on a day-to-day basis, and I think he’s improving on those areas.”

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