I have been given the responsibility of writing a preview for the Browns wide receivers for this season. Let me be the first to say JOSH GORDON.

 

Well that way easy…..

 

I don’t think this will be acceptable as our Editor-in-chief is @CST_Founder and he is real taskmaster, so I probably should write an actual review. You can read more of it below. By the way, give him a follow on Twitter. It will probably earn me some brownie points. Get it, Brownie points.

The Browns will clearly be a run first team this season. The offensive line and running backs should dominate upfront and help keep the defense off of the field. If the Browns can establish the run, there will be plenty of play action passing opportunities down the field. This may be a “quarterback driven league,” but unless you have P.Manning, Brady, Brees, or Rogers, you need to establish the run.

This leads me to the receiving core. As I alluded to first, Josh Gordon is far and away the #1 receiver and weapon for the Browns offense this season. The only problem is, as of this morning, we don’t know how many games Josh Gordon will be suspended. As everyone knows there is a long debate raging about Gordon’s failed drug test. There seems to be a lot of controversy around the level to which Gordon failed his test. So there seems to be hope among Browns fans. Let me break this to you gently, The High and Mighty NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell is going to throw the book at Gordon. It will be a minimum of 8 games, but this is Cleveland, and I am a realist. Gordon will most likely miss the entire season. However, there is no need to panic; the Browns have Miles Austin….crickets…

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I don’t want to sound negative, but there isn’t a player on the Browns roster that makes me excited when they are compared to Josh Gordon. Those of you that are big into fantasy football may remember Austin from his 2009 season with the Dallas Cowboys. He recorded 1,320 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns. Since then Austin’s stats have steadily declined. In 2013 Austin only had 244 yards with 0 touchdowns. Even with this said, I think, along with many of the Browns staff, that Austin has plenty left in the tank. He is only 30 years old and hopefully a new team adds some bounce to his step. Austin may struggle as the #1 receiver as he isn’t as fast or strong as Josh Gordon, but he will help create other opportunities for Andrew Hawkins and Jordon Cameron.

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Speaking of Andrew Hawkins, he may be the hidden gem of this offense. Hawkins will be the Browns 3rd receiver and he will play out of the slot this season. Hawkins is small, fast, and has great hands. He will be a huge weapon for whichever quarterback is playing. The Browns 1st overall draft pick Justin Gilbert said “I would rather cover Josh Gordon than Andrew Hawkins.” This says a lot considering Josh Gordon is a physical freak. In my opinion Hawkins will play the role of Wes Welker this season. He is going to catch a lot of balls and hopefully a lot of touchdowns.

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Nate Burleson is a veteran receiver that was added to the Browns this past offseason. He is going to add some much needed leadership to the Browns. Burleson is clearly at the end of his career, as he has even hinted to the fact of retirement very soon. The Browns offense is built to throw the ball down the field and Burleson thinks he can make some big plays this season. He was quoted after the Lions game on Saturday as saying “I’ve got a chance to catch a lot of balls. This is one of those offenses where they like to throw it down the field.” (Courtesy of the Detroit Free Press). Burleson still has the ability to get open and make some big plays. I don’t expect much from him in terms of production, but hopefully he can have a few big touchdowns this year.

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Rounding out the core of wide receivers is Travis Benjamin, the speedster from The University of Miami. Benjamin is returning from reconstructive knee surgery this past November. The injury is fully healed and Benjamin will play WR, while returning kicks and punts for the Browns. He is an explosive player with big deep threat potential. Kyle Shanahan will have some creative plays drawn up to get Benjamin open downfield. Do you know what sets up long passes down the field? It’s called the run, and the play action passes that come off the run. Getting safeties to bite on the run will open up the field for speedsters like Hawkins and Benjamin.

With the exception of Gordon, I think the Browns will struggle at wide receiver. This team isn’t built to throw the ball. They are built to run and dominate the clock. As I said, a successful run game will open up throwing lanes. If Kyle Shanahan can get creative and put packages together specifically for players, the offense will succeed, but it all starts with the run. If you think the Browns are going to walk into Heinz field without Josh Gordon and throw the ball for 400 yards, you are sorely mistaken. Go grab your reality pills and take a double dosage. There will be some big plays this season, however, this offense will not be flashy, but it should be successful. 

Written By Rick Giavonett

Follow me on Twitter: @CST_RickG

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