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Josh Gordon: What Last Week's Performance Tells Us About WR's Future

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 14:  Wide receiver Josh Gordon #13 of the Cleveland Browns catches a touchdown pass in front of safety Reggie Nelson of the Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 14, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
Jessica MarieCorrespondent IIJanuary 8, 2017

Josh Gordon has become the scapegoat in the Cleveland Browns' most recent loss, and it's not entirely fair.

First of all, when you are part of a 1-6 team, there are clearly more than a few problems. Nothing is any one person's fault, unless maybe you're the coach or the general manager.

And secondly, despite the fact that it was Gordon's drop that essentially blew the game for the Browns, he's still young. He's still a rookie, and he's still developing.

He may be the Browns' best receiver, and that's a credit to him. But he's not Superman—and even if he was, it would take a lot more than Superman to save this team at this point.

Midway through the fourth quarter and down by four in Sunday's game against Indianapolis, Cleveland had a solid opportunity to score. Quarterback Brandon Weeden went to Gordon—his most reliable target—and the ball hit Gordon right in the hands. He dropped it, and the Browns dropped the game 17-13, marking their sixth loss in seven games.

Other than that disastrous play, the afternoon was an OK one for Gordon. He led all Browns receivers with 10 targets and finished with two receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown. His one score pulled the Browns within a point early in the third quarter.

Sunday also marked the third straight game in which Gordon finished with a touchdown, and he has four in his last three.

So what does Sunday's game—and drop—tell us about Gordon? Not a whole lot that we didn't already know. It reminded us that he's a mere seven games into his career. It reminded us that he's still developing as a receiver, but that he has the skill to become a big component of this offense.

Every receiver makes a drop in a key situation sometime, rookie or veteran. Wes Welker did it on the biggest possible stage in the Super Bowl last year. It happens to everyone.

And next time, it probably won't happen. Gordon will doubtlessly continue to be Weeden's primary target, because why fix what isn't broken, especially when you're the Browns and there is so very much that is broken?

Gordon is still the best option that Weeden has, and he'll be targeted accordingly on Sunday against the Chargers, owners of the league's 25th-ranked pass defense.

Gordon, in fact, should have some excellent opportunities to compensate for last week’s mistake this week against San Diego. There’s nothing like facing a bad pass defense to pull a receiver out of a mistake-induced funk, and by that logic, Gordon could be in for a hearty rebound in Week 8.

The Browns may not be any good, but Gordon still is. One drop does not a failure make.

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