Countdown to The Draft
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By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
Extra Points …
Decision delayed: Brian Hoyer officially was named Browns starting quarterback Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, but it is still under the guise of Brandon Weeden’s sprained thumb injury.
Coach Rob Chudzinski declared Weeden out and said he would begin throwing later in the week.
Until Weeden is completely healthy and practicing, Chudzinski can avoid having to choose between Hoyer and Weeden as the permanent starter. (Of course, in Cleveland, permanent is a relative term.)
This delay can be viewed two ways. The more chances Hoyer gets to prove himself to his teammates, the harder it will be for Chudzinski to keep him out. Then again, if Hoyer were to lay a giant egg (unlikely), it might be cause to reconsider giving Weeden a chance to play with the meteoric Josh Gordon available to run down his 50-yard launches.
“Like I’ve said before, we’ll just approach it from a week to week basis and see where everybody’s at and we’ll make the best decision for what I determine gives us the best chance to win,” Chudzinski said.
Trade dust hasn’t settled yet: Gordon said he received a text message from Chudzinski reassuring him that there were “no plans” to trade him.
Is he buying it?
“The fact that he said there wasn’t, I guess it makes me feel a little more comfortable,” Gordon said. “At the same time, anything can happen.”
Gordon was on the field in pre-game warmups when the Sunday football network shows created a firestorm in Cleveland by rumoring that the Browns were shopping Gordon and had, in fact, turned down at least one offer for him. He said he became aware of the rumors through social media and text messages when he looked at his smart phone after warmups.
“It was definitely a shock, but right after the Trent situation, I couldn’t put it past anybody,” he said. “For a good business situation, it might be smart. I wasn’t for sure what was on the table for that.”
I asked him what he thinks he might bring in return for a trade?
“I couldn’t tell you,” Gordon said. “I really don’t know what the market’s like right now. I’d hope something good.”
Gordon said the possibility of being traded remains in the back of his mind.
“I guess after what happened to Trent, that’s probably gonna be for a lot of these guys in here, you’re gonna think about it until the deadline (Oct. 29),” he said. “For me, as well as anybody else, yeah, you think about it.”
Say what?: After the Browns’ trade of Richardson, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said on Sirius NFL Radio, “We go to Cleveland next week, Ross (Tucker). I feel pretty good about that, a little better about that.”
On a conference call with Cleveland media on Wednesday, Lewis said the comments were taken out of context.
“I thought Trent Richardson was a fine player, a great prospect,” Lewis said. “My only comments was to that. In his two games and evaluating him prior to the draft, I thought he was a fine, fine football player.”
Richardson hit the Bengals for 109 yards rushing and a 32-yard TD run in the teams’ first meeting last season. The second meeting was the game in which Richardson suffered broken ribs. Richardson had only 37 yards on 14 carries in that one. The irony is that the Browns lost the game in Richardson ran well and won the game in which he didn’t.
To a question about the Browns’ defense against the run, Lewis had high praise for linebacker D’Qwell Jackson.
“They’ve got (No.) 52,” Lewis said. “He keeps playing. I don’t know how many different defensive schemes he’s played in, but the one thing that’s been consistent is how great D’Qwell plays. It’s fun to watch on tape. He’s probably one of the more unheralded great players in the league. You have to be in this division and watch him week in and week out to know how good a player he is.”
Squib kicks: With Jabaal Sheard (knee) and Quentin Groves (high ankle) both likely out, Chudzinski indicated that rookie Barkevious Mingo will make his first NFL start Sunday … Kicker Billy Cundiff (quad) did not work out on Wednesday. His status for the game is uncertain. It is sounding as if the Browns have settled on triple-threat punter Spencer Lanning as the alternative kicker. They did not try out kickers on Tuesday. Chudzinski said, “We’ll just see how Billy progresses as the week goes on. We have a plan, and we’ll be OK there. Obviously Spencer (had done it), and we have a lot of faith in him as well.” … Lanning was named AFC special teams player of the week for his multiple contributions in the win in Minnesota (46.8 punting average, TD pass to Jordan Cameron and emergency PAT).
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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