As the Cleveland Browns dropped to 4-7 with a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 12, there was one positive to take away if you’re a Browns fan. Though the playoffs are almost mathematically out of reach, Cleveland can be excited for the future due to one particular player that proved himself on Sunday.
Second-year wide receiver Josh Gordon had a career day against Pittsburgh in week 12 as he caught 14 passes for 237 yards and a touchdown and was targeted a whopping 17 times. Quarterback Jason Campbell was knocked out with an injury, thus forcing former starter Brandon Weeden into the game.
As we can remember from last season, Weeden and Gordon developed a strong chemistry over time and eventually the quarterback began to trust Gordon even more. Gordon, on Sunday, put on a straight up clinic. The 6’3” 225-pound wide receiver out of Baylor has only played in eight games this year, but has already caught 40 passes — on 81 targets.
All of last season, Gordon was targeted 96 times in 16 games, coming up with 50 catches. At 751 yards and four scores, Gordon is just 54 yards and one touchdown away from his totals in 2012 as a rookie. Imagine if he had played all season long from the get-go. Imagine where his numbers would be then.
Even more so, imagine if Gordon had a legitimate starting quarterback. I have a feeling that’s what the Browns will be going after this next offseason first and foremost. With a talent like Gordon — assuming they don’t trade him away — the Browns have to get themselves a quarterback to get him the ball in a more efficient manner.
The kid is big, tall, fast, agile and can flat out catch the football. Not only that, but he can make plays after the catch. Gordon would be on pace to absolutely shatter last season’s totals had he started playing in week one, but if he had a consistent passer under center, he’d find himself heading to Honolulu in February.
Gordon has everything needed to be a top-5 wide receiver — except a quarterback. Look at Calvin Johnson, for example. He made plenty of plays prior to Matthew Stafford joining the team. But, after Stafford got there, Johnson’s play was elevated to a whole new level. This same scenario could happen in Cleveland if they play their cards right. After all, Gordon is not a talent that should go to waste on a team like the current Browns. For the sake of the organization and its fans, get this kid a quarterback.