When the Cleveland Browns used a second round pick in the supplemental draft on Josh Gordon, many declared the wide receiver a project. Through two preseason games, that is certainly looking like the case.
With Mohamed Massaquoi out for precautionary reasons, Gordon started at split end for Thursday's game against the Green Bay Packers. It began well for Gordon. On Cleveland's third play, he had a nice 19-yard catch working back to the deep middle of the field. it wasn't a body catch, either. Gordon reached out and pulled the ball in with his hands before contact.
Gordon played into the third quarter, and for much of the evening he showed some developmental flaws. Other than posts and fly routes, Gordon struggles running his routes. On curls routes, Gordon doesn't have a tight turn, which allows defensive backs to get in front of him. Unless Gordon can get more aggressive in his breaks, he'll leave quarterback Brandon Weeden vulnerable to interceptions. He's also had issues with drops each of the past two games.
Shurmur said WR Josh Gordon showed improvement, but pointed out his drop. "That’s supposed to be completed 10 out of 10," Shurmur said.— Nate Ulrich (@NateUlrichABJ) August 17, 2012
For the night, Gordon had two catches for 38 yards. He did well on his second catch running a skinny post. But the next played showed his inconsistency. Running a shallow drag route, Gordon didn't turn his head around fast enough and Weeden's pass was an incompletion.
Still, there was some improvement in Gordon's second game. But he hasn't done quite enough yet to drop the project tag.
Other quick notes from the Cleveland/Green Bay game:
- It will be a stunner if the Packers don't give up some kind of draft pick next year for a new backup quarterback. Graham Harrell struggled replacing Aaron Rodgers and rookie B.J. Coleman is extremely raw. Don't be stunned if they call Cleveland about Colt McCoy.
- Browns rookie right tackle Mitchell Schwartz looked better this week compared to his first preseason game against the Lions. He was getting off the line quicker and handling the edge better. Schwartz consistently won the one-on-one battles against fellow rookie Nick Perry.
- Aaron Rodgers is so fun to watch. It seems that every game he has one or two "wow" throws that few other quarterbacks can complete. On Green Bay's touchdown in the first quarter, Rodgers placed the ball perfectly over a Browns defensive back right into Jordy Nelson's hands. The coverage was nearly perfect. Rodgers was perfect.
- As good as Green Bay's starters are (especially on offense), there should be concerns about the quality of their depth. If the Packers get hit with injuries this season, they may not win the NFC North.
- Playing with the backups, Packers rookie offensive tackle Andrew Datko looked solid. More importantly, he looked healthy. Don't forget, when Datko was healthy at Florida State, there were few better linemen in college football.