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Need to Know: Browns have ‘big plans’ for Josh Gordon but will first see what WR can handle

Posted Nov 27, 2017

Suspended WR expected to make 2017 debut Sunday

Hue Jackson doesn’t hide the excitement he has for the return of wide receiver Josh Gordon.

The Browns head coach just wants to see how Gordon handles the upcoming week of practice before he lays out his expectations for the talented playmaker.

“I have big plans for him. I plan for him to play and play as much as he can handle,” Jackson said. “I think he is a very talented player. He needs to play, needs to get out there and play but we have to see where he is and make sure how much can he handle, how much can he do.”

The Browns can reinstate Gordon at any point this week for him to be eligible to play Sunday against the Chargers. Jackson said that transaction would likely come closer to the end of the week.

Gordon’s been back with the team since the early part of the month. He was cleared to practice last Monday and went through a number of team drills throughout the week of Bengals preparations.

“It is a surreal experience,” Gordon said Friday. “It really is. It just so much fun. It’s such a blessing that I’m able to just sit back and realize what I get to do for a living. It is an honor, really and I do love it.”

Last week, Jackson identified a different kind of energy at practice because of Gordon’s return. He expects it to elevate this week.

“Hopefully, Josh will come back and bring a different spirit to our offensive football team and football team and he can make some plays,” Jackson said. “If he does that, then he will be doing just what we need him to do. I think the players have seen him out there and they have seen what he can do. I think they are excited about him playing and about playing with him. That within itself will bring something to this football team.”

-- The Browns came away injury-free from Sunday’s game, Jackson said.

Wide receiver Sammie Coates (knee/ankle) and defensive back Derron Smith (knee) were the only players held out of Sunday’s game because of an injury.

-- Jackson said the Browns are going to keep working with rookie kicker Zane Gonzalez, who missed a 43-yard field goal in Sunday’s first quarter. The former seventh-round pick made short field goals before and after the miss and connected on his only extra point attempt.

On the season, Gonzalez is 11-of-16 on field goals and 17-of-18 on extra points.

“I had a conversation with him. He made the next one, so that is improvement,” Jackson said. “Is it unsettling to have that happen? Yes it is. But at the same time, he did respond and we are going to look at all of it here this week and if we make a decision as an organization, we need to look someplace else, then we will. But I thought after that, he settled down and made the kicks that he needed to make.”

-- Jackson declined to use the absence of Emmanuel Ogbah as the reason behind Cleveland’s worst rush defense performance of the season.

Cleveland allowed a rusher -- this time rookie Joe Mixon -- to clear 100 yards for a second consecutive game, and the Bengals finished with 152 yards on 30 carries, good for an average of 5.1 yards per attempt. The Browns fell to eighth in the NFL in rush defense (97.2 yards per game).

“I think you always want your best players out there but our guys can play better. I think they will tell you that,” Jackson said. “That is not who we are, who we have been all year against the run. We have to continue to get better. I am not going to say it is because of Emmanuel. We wish we had all of those guys back but we do not. So we just have to play better.”

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