Cleveland Browns: Jordan Norwood Making the Best out of His Opportunities

Brian MurtaughAnalyst IDecember 2, 2011

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 27:  Jordan Norwood #10 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates in the end zone after scoring the Browns first touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on November 27, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Tyler Barrick /Getty Images)
Tyler Barrick/Getty Images

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jordan Norwood has been praised all season long by his coaching staff and teammates and is finally beginning to show how much he has progressed throughout the 2011 season.

A high motor, positive attitude, and breakaway speed have all finally combined to move this relatively unknown talent into a playmaking role in Cleveland's struggling offense.

Even Cleveland's fans are beginning to see why the organization sees so much potential in Norwood's abilities. Over the last five games, Norwood has caught 13 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown.

Those numbers, combined with the fact that two of his receptions were for huge gains, easily makes him one of the most explosive Browns players during the second half of the season.

The Browns could not be happier that they have found some sort of offensive weapon among the wide receiving corps that has been criticized as being the worst in the NFL.

Norwood was expected to be more of a slot receiver in the Browns' West Coast offense, but is finding open space on some deeper routes over the last few weeks.

Those type of receptions could be helping Cleveland find more space in the rushing game, which has also improved over the last three weeks with the help of Peyton Hillis and Chris Ogbonnaya.

Norwood has always shown a good ability to make plays and was a huge part of Penn State's offensive game plan throughout his college career. During his time in State College, Norwood managed to catch 158 passes for over 2,000 yards and 13 scores.

What is even more exciting for Cleveland's fans is the fact that Colt McCoy finally seems to be gaining trust in another wide receiver and should be more willing to move the ball around in crucial situations.

Now, it is reasonable to believe that Norwood is not going to go out and produce Pro Bowl numbers for the rest of the 2011 season. However, Cleveland needs to find positives in the small things at this point in their season, and Norwood is a brighter spot than most on the offensive unit.

The true test for Norwood and the rest of the receivers will come in the next five weeks as the Browns compete against the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers on four occasions.

Norwood will likely be playing for a roster spot next season and possibly even a starting role in some of the Browns' three-wide-receiver packages moving forward.

The Browns faithful is reasonably happy for what Norwood has brought to the table this season. But, all will be quickly forgotten if he falls off the radar during these next five weeks.

It will be interesting to see how this young talent fares against some of the best defenses in the NFL, especially when Cleveland lacks so many playmakers around him.