Seattle’s success with Russell Wilson could ultimately help Johnny Manziel win Cleveland’s quarterback competition (Photo: USA TODAY Sports)
DraftBrowns.com Staff Writer: Justin Higdon
After an arrest for DWI in North Carolina, it is obvious that Josh Gordon is incapable of staying out of his own way. The NFL’s reigning leader in receiving yards was already facing a probable year-long ban for repeated violations of the league’s substance abuse policy, before Saturday’s news further frustrated his employers and fans. The Browns were hopeful that Gordon’s suspension might be reduced on appeal, but the 23-year old receiver’s most recent brush with the law is a laugh in the face of that hope, slamming the door on any chances of Gordon playing meaningful football this season, and maybe ever suiting up for Cleveland again. It’s an unfortunate story, written by one of the most (if not the most) naturally gifted athletes ever to suit up for the new Browns.
There is no question that the weekend DWI is extremely disappointing to the team’s coaching staff and front office, but the Browns have been preparing themselves for life without Gordon since about two weeks before news of a failed drug test first leaked on Day Two of the draft. There were no reactionary draft picks in rounds two through seven, but the organization did add veterans Earl Bennett (since released) and Miles Austin in an effort to bolster the receiving corps. There is no replacing Gordon, but there are ways to minimize the impact of his loss. In fact, the wheels have probably been in motion to reduce the importance of the number one receiver since the 2013 season ended. After all, despite Gordon’s gaudy statistics, The Browns finished their last campaign with 11 or more losses for the sixth year in a row. For all of the flash on paper, last year’s offensive formula under Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner was a failure on the field, so Jimmy Haslam hired a new team of chemists for the lab this season. First-year Head Coach Mike Pettine has brought in former Texans and Redskins coordinator Kyle Shanahan, and together they are borrowing a blueprint that should transform the Cleveland offense into something vastly different in 2014. (more…)