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Cleveland Browns

What to expect from Josh Gordon going forward

Credit Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Take notice Antonio Brown, Julio Jones and Odell Beckham, you have company now among you. After missing the past two seasons and most of this one, Josh Gordon finally got to lace them back up. Gordon is back in the NFL playing for the Cleveland Browns and looked to already be back to his elite wide receiver form on the first play of the game, catching a slant for nine yards.

The last time we saw Gordon, Johnny Manziel and him were running the Browns organization further into the ground. Now back as a “changed man”  Gordon looks to regain his spot in the NFL as a Pro Bowl Wide Receiver and more importantly, a dependable teammate and asset to the Browns. The Browns have Gordon under contract through the 2018 season, when he will then become a Restricted Free Agent.

First Game
Gordon’s numbers in his first game seem pedestrian but he showed flashes of brilliance on the field which is quite a shock to a viewer’s system after watching such dismay play from players in Browns’ uniforms the past two seasons. Gordon finished the game with four receptions for 85 yards. That’s an average of 21.3 yards per reception, Antonio Brown only averages 14.9.

Throughout the game, the flashes that I mentioned were actually on missed opportunities by the Browns. On four separate occasions, Gordon had his man beat deep for an almost certain touchdowns. Each time Rookie Quarterback Deshone Kizer couldn’t get the ball to him. The first one was just overthrown but the other three were horrendously short of their mark. Some of this can be chalked up to Kizer and Gordon not having much of an opportunity to work together yet, so this should improve in the coming weeks.

The most impressive part of his performance was that Gordon was repeatedly beating one of the best defensive backs in the NFL, Casey Hayward. Per Mike Clay of ESPN, Gordon was shadowed by Hayward on all 20 of his perimeter routes. These were the routes that Gordon was getting open but the ball wasn’t getting to him.

Looking ahead
All signs point to Josh Gordon being extremely successful over the final five weeks of the season. If you were one of the lucky fantasy owners that were insightful enough to pick Gordon up a few weeks ago, I applaud you. Who would of thought, a Browns players is going to help lead you through the playoffs to a fantasy crown.

The usage rate of Gordon is only going to get higher the more he plays. Gordon was visible winded on numerous occasions forcing him to the sidelines on a few key plays. This will improve and he will find himself on the field more as he plays himself into game condition.

Watching Gordon play brings excitement instantly to the game. Going on up and snatching a ball away from a defender or beating a defender deep for a 70 yard touchdown reception is what makes the NFL so great. Josh Gordon brings all this to the League and to the Browns. The NFL is better today with Gordon back in it. He gives fans an actual reason to tune into a Browns game. Well, besides the fact to see them possibly go 0-16.

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