Tight ends increase production

Posted Dec 1, 2012

Cleveland Browns’ tight ends Jordan Cameron and Benjamin Watson have combined for three touchdown receptions in the last two games.

In the last two games against the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns tight ends Jordan Cameron and Benjamin Watson have accounted for all three of quarterback Brandon Weeden’s touchdown passes.

Watson caught two in Dallas, the team’s first and final scores, while Cameron corralled a five-yard go-ahead score in the second quarter of the 20-14 win over the Steelers.

“The production’s been good,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. “I want to call them tight ends/fullbacks because you have Alex Smith in there (at fullback). We use him all over the place and so, the production’s been pretty consistent from them and we use a combination of one, two and three of them a lot, which has helped us in the last six weeks or so.”

Weeden completed 17 passes against the Steelers, five of which went to the tight ends. Watson caught three passes for 26 yards and Cameron, two for 12 yards with the score. Watson hauled in four passes for 47 yards and two touchdowns and Alex Smith caught a two-yard pass in Dallas.

“They can’t help but have gotten better just by their number of reps,” Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress said. “Does it always show itself to you in terms of touchdown passes? Those guys have been valuable guys without the touchdown passes and they do good things.

“They can show up in a quarterback’s read and not get lobbied against. Those are two good players and I think they’re both coming into their own a little bit in terms of understanding what we’re doing and the great flexibility that they have playing tight end to do what they can do in there.”

Watson came into the 2012 season after missing the final three games of 2011 with a concussion. The 32-year-old, nine-year veteran has 10 catches and two touchdowns over the past four weeks. He is on pace for his third 40-catch season and second in three years with the Browns.

Cameron has set career highs for receptions (five against Buffalo on Sept. 22), yards (45 against Buffalo), longest reception (23 yards against Cincinnati on Oct. 14) and the touchdown in the win over Pittsburgh this season.

“You hope guys are going to continue to improve till they’re done playing,” Shurmur said of Watson. “I’ve got a great deal of respect for Ben. In my opinion, he’s battled through this season and done a very fine job.

“Behind the scenes, he displays a lot of that leadership when we talk about D’Qwell (Jackson). When you look at a group of players where some young players are starting to improve and show up, then, I think you also have to look within that group and see some of the leadership that you’re getting from older players. I would give a little credit to Ben because of Jordan’s improvement.”

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