The Cleveland Browns‘ coaching staff has experience at the top with Ray Horton running the defense and Norv Turner taking over the offense. First time head coach Rob Chudzinski has done a good job surrounding himself with experienced coaches who are hungry for success and love coaching. Retaining special teams coach Chris Tabor was a good move, and while their kicker situation is unsettled, having coach Tabor back quells some worry in that regard. One of the most intriguing aspects of this Browns team will be the wide receiver situation.
Greg Little is the veteran leader of a young group. By the end of the 2013 season, he improved upon his issues with drops (a real credit to former coach Pat Shurmur’s staff), and showed that he can make physical catches. He appeared to improve his route running, and toned down his outrageous celebrations.
Josh Gordon also displayed his ability to make tough catches, separate down the field, and generally be athletic at the position. Do not forget that both Little and Gordon came in to the league after not playing football for a year, and assumed starting roles.
Travis Benjamin probably should have played more last year. He is a fast receiver who will line up wide and make catches. He was the talk of the 2012 training camp after showing how underrated his hands were during team drills and showed some ability to separate during the regular season.
Josh Cooper worked his way on to the active roster and showed that his collegiate rapport with quarterback Brandon Weeden could translate to the NFL.
Jordan Norwood fought injuries in 2012, but if healthy, he and Cooper should be pushing each other for time. Each have taken similar paths to becoming members of this team, and could help each other because of that situation.
This group of receivers will be coached by Scott Turner, who came over from the Carolina Panthers. Coach Turner is a young coach working with a group on the rise. It is difficult to predict how this situation will play out but ultimately everyone has the same goal of being successful. Fans could see an energetic wide receiving group emerge as a strength of this team. A group this young, with so many similar paths, could develop a comradery that could propel the offense.
Successful groups are comprised of players dedicated to their work, who buy in to what the coaches are saying and the direction that they are taking. Coach Dick LeBeau inspires that kind of following in his defensive schemes, as does coach Mike Shanahan when it comes to coordinating an offense. While those are very elevated comparisons, one must accept the possibility, and believe, that the players are capable of performing well.
The group of receivers in Cleveland should remain as they are now. Coach Turner is a young coach in this league and stability at the position will help him do his job. That stability will come from allowing this group of receivers the opportunity to prove themselves as a unit. Each possess traits that complement the other, and could ultimately provide Weeden the targets he needs to help move this team down the field.
The Browns do not need to bring in a ‘big name’ wide receiver for the sake of it or to satiate the desire to have such prominent players. Perhaps, with a little time, we will be discussing how the Browns can keep this group together for years to come.