Panthers Vs. Browns: Who Knew Cleveland Has Wide Receivers in Close Win
While Hillis will get the much-deserved bulk of the attention for this hard-fought win, another aspect of the offense cannot go unnoticed.
The Cleveland Browns do have wide receivers, and, contrary to popular belief, they can play some football.
The wide receiving corps of the Browns has long been absent in 2010. Entering Sunday's game, Browns starting receivers Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie had combined for a mere 28 receptions and 313 yards.
There could be several reasons that the receivers in Cleveland have struggled so much this season, instability at the quarterback position being the most probable.
However, on Sunday, Massaquoi and Robiskie did everything they could to prove that, with a little bit of rhythm and a little bit of trust from their quarterback, they can indeed be big contributors to the offense.
Quarterback Jake Delhomme started his first game for the Browns since Week 1, when he went down with a high ankle sprain. Delhomme seemed to have maintained the timing he found with Massaquoi and Robiskie during his stellar preseason, hooking up with the duo 11 times for 102 yards.
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Most surprising was the play of Robiskie, who has been a disappointment so far in his young NFL career. Robiskie had only 16 career receptions before entering Sunday's game, but managed to catch an impressive seven passes against Carolina.
In a sense, Sunday's game seemed to be a "Welcome to the Cleveland Browns" moment for Robiskie, who finally looked like the sure-handed possession receiver that the Browns thought they were getting with a high second-round pick in the 2009 NFL draft.
Of course, let's not forget that do-it-all back Peyton Hillis once again led the Browns with 63 receiving yards to go with 131 yards rushing and three touchdowns. However, if the wide receivers can continue to grow and be a factor, it only allows Hillis to be more productive as defenses will not be able to focus their undivided attention on him.
The receiving group has a long way to go before they will be considered a real threat, and the Browns will likely look to add a true play-maker to the wideout position during the off-season.
However, the Browns have a pair of solid pass-catching tight ends in Ben Watson and Evan Moore, and the current group of receivers has five games left this season to prove that they can indeed be productive given a little bit of chemistry with their quarterback.
Colt McCoy has stated his case to be the Browns' starter in 2011 and beyond. Hopefully that means stability at the quarterback position and more of that much-needed chemistry for Cleveland's wide receivers.
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