The Cleveland Browns are entering an extremely important season for the future of the franchise, as owner Jimmy Haslam has spent a nice amount of money in the offseason and the new regime with coach Rob Chudzinski will use this year to see if second-year quarterback Brandon Weeden is the right choice to lead the team for the foreseeable future.
Haslam brought in Chudzinski and new offensive coordinator Norv Turner to bring an explosive element to the offense after struggling the last few seasons and after working out in OTAs, wideout Josh Gordon is ready to break out in 2013. Gordon was the main and practically only bug play option for the Browns last season and averaged over 16 yards per catch and he led the team in touchdowns. The Browns originally took him in the supplemental draft, which is one reason why they made some trades in April during the draft to get some picks back and he is ready to continue to mature after a breakout season for the team.
Gordon was the leader in receiving yards with 805 and finished 2012 with 50 catches while playing in 16 games with 13 starts and he was the most consistent deep threat for Weeden. The offense this season could resemble the system that Weeden played at Oklahoma State, which was high powered and high scoring during his final season with the team and this year Gordon said to NFL.com that the team will be going deep more often. Gordon said that he has been running a great deal during workouts and that defenses and other teams will be shocked at how much the team will run deep this season. Gordon showed up to the first day of OTA workouts and is looking to mature into more of a natural route runner in his second year and he is looking to get in more work after missing out for the lockout the year before.
The Browns finished 5-11 last season with a 2-4 division record against the AFC North and this year the division is expected to be even tougher as the Ravens, Steelers and Bengals have all improved through free agency and the draft. The Browns are hoping to improve after signing Paul Kruger and Desmond Bryant, but the team will have a tough time going up against the defending Super Bowl champions. Weeden was solid in his rookie season but he led quarterbacks in balls batted down at the line of scrimmage and had issues with turnovers. The team finished 25th in passing yards per game in the league and 19th in rushing, while Weeden ended up with 3385 yards and 14 touchdowns in his first year in the league. Weeden will try and cut down on the turnovers and the Browns are expected to be more consistent and explosive on offense with Trent Richardson and Gordon in the fold for a second year.