Previously, it’s been quite rare to get excited about Cleveland Browns football. This is the part when I say something about the Factory of Sadness, because producing sadness has been a fine Cleveland business.
But I’m convinced that’s about to change, or at least it will offensively. Believe.
Around these parts (and in many other parts elsewhere on various Internet websites), we’ve spent a lot of time dropping Jordan Cameron saliva everywhere. With Ben Watson gone, he’s now atop the Browns’ tight end depth chart in a Rob Chudzinski/Norv Turner offense that will likely feature his position heavily in a field-stretching capacity. Feel the power.
The hype surrounding Cameron has grown throughout the offseason for that reason, and even now in May his fantasy value may have outgrown his sleeper britches. That’s how much we’re all expect the Browns’ and their new-found vertical awesomeness to take names and shatter records, or something. We should just write their name at the top of every conceivable offensive all-time list now.
Today, we’ve been fed even more Browns flying Frenchman propaganda, this time through interviews with Josh Gordon and Greg Little, the team’s top two wide receivers.
First up is Gordon, who remains surprised at the sheer quantity of running the Browns have done under Chud and Turner thus far during OTAs. Not running the football, just running in general. All the time.
Give us more giddiness, Josh (from Waiting For Next Year):
“Defenses will be shocked to say the least with how much we’re running down field,” Gordon said in the article. “I’ve never ran this much as a wide receiver ever in my life, and that’s a good thing. And not just me, everyone from the slot guys to running backs, everyone’s got passing plays in the system.”
This is exciting, to say the least. Gordon is a guy who’s employed to run, and run far. Despite dealing with the rookie-ness of Brandon Weeden this past season, Gordon had two catches for 60 yards or more, and three games when he averaged at least 25 yards per catch. He only started to receive consistent targets and usage in Week 5, and yet he still finished with 805 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
Gordon is the ideal fit for Chud’s system, and he’s the ideal top option for a quarterback who’s developing slowly, but he has a strong arm and he throws a fine deep ball. A swift second-year breakout with a significant rise in targets wouldn’t be remotely surprising, and neither would consistent WR2-level numbers from Gordon.
Little echoed Gordon’s enthusiasm for the new offense:
“Everything is downfield, and you get taught pretty quickly that you have to be well-conditioned to play fast and play at a high level,” Little said. “I just like the way Norv thinks. He calls more post and go routes than I’ve ever run before.”
While Cameron and Gordon are young and they still haven’t played a full season in a starting role, we’re still waiting on Little’s true breakout despite the incessant talk about his potential and upside. Although there were flashes of that potential in 2012, he still averaged only 40.4 receiving yards per game overall.
But that wait could end now, making Little a fine value pick in the final rounds of fantasy drafts. In most mocks right now he’s not even being drafted, while Gordon is often coming off the board late in the third round, or early in the fourth. That’s about the right price for Gordon, but if you spend a 15th rounder on Little and he finally goes boom in an offense far more catered to his skillset, you da man. And if he doesn’t…meh