Tuesday, October 29, 2013

He’s not going anywhere

OK, Josh Gordon, you can relax now.

You, too, Browns fans.

The best wide receiver the Browns have been fortunate enough to draft in a very long time – and yes, that includes Braylon Edwards – is going nowhere.

The rumors that Gordon would be shipped to another team as the National Football League trade deadline neared proved they were just that – rumors. He is staying put.

And Cleveland is where he belongs. He’ll tell you that, too.

“I’m here in Cleveland and I want to make a difference here in Cleveland,” he told the Cleveland media recently. “This is where I am right now . . . my head and space is right here and that’s what I’m focusing on.”

It’s not surprising that the rumors regarding Gordon’s possible departure escalated in the final days. He is quickly climbing the ladder among NFL wide receivers despite having to ply his trade with three different quarterbacks.

The people who make a difference around the NFL have taken notice of Gordon’s talents. It’s very easy to see why they like him.

He’s got the size, the speed, the quickness and, perhaps most important, the game comes easy to him. Watch him and you’ll notice an almost effortless approach as he runs his routes.

There are times when it appears as though he’s not playing at top speed. But no one has yet to catch him from behind. He runs as fast as he needs to.

His ability to get open and make himself available to his quarterback cannot be overlooked. And while we don’t know for certain whether he runs the most precise routes on the team, the fact he averages more than five catches and 18.2 yards a catch this season is evidence he’s doing something right.

Gordon is the most important piece in Norv Turner’s offense. Without him and his quick strike ability, opposing offenses would crowd the line of scrimmage. The threat of Gordon over the top keeps them honest.

Now that Jason Campbell has been installed as the No. 1 quarterback, look for Gordon to light it up in the second half of the season. Campbell had to marvel as watched Gordon from the bench while Brian Hoyer and Brandon Weeden threw to him in five of the first seven games.

It didn’t long for him to strike up an on-field relationship with Gordon in his first start of the season against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday. Yes, the Browns lost, but Gordon’s five-catch, 132-yard, one-touchdown afternoon served as a portent of things to come.

Based on his first game with Gordon, look for Campbell to dial up his number early and often from now on. He aimed 10 of his 36 passes at the lanky wideout, whose drop ratio might be the lowest on the team.

We don’t know how close Gordon was to being moved by the Browns, or how serious Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi were in their negotiations. We probably never will find out the real story because Banner will spin something entirely different to the media.

Bottom line is Gordon will be in the Seal Brown and Orange for the rest of the season. And that is truly good news.

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