Here’s the final stat line for Cleveland’s favorite wide receiver in 2013: 87 receptions for 1,646 yards and 14 touchdowns. All those numbers were amassed in only 14 games played. Young Josh Gordon has made a name for himself in the NFL. His achievements are not only noticed by the Cleveland Browns fan base either – Gordon was named to the Pro Bowl for his first time. Even more impressively, he was second only to Calvin Johnson in All-Pro votes among wide receivers. The year Gordon had in 2013 has propelled him to national fame. He is a household name, and you can bet he’ll be one of the top receivers in fantasy football next year.
His stats speak for themselves, and yet the most impressive accomplishment has not yet been mentioned: he pulled off his great season without a good quarterback. The wide receiver position in the NFL is the definition of a dependant position. Receivers have to rely on the quarterback to get them the ball. They rely on the offensive line to keep the quarterback upright so that the quarterback can get them the ball. All a wide receiver can do by himself is run his route and get open. The rest depends upon other positions.
As Pro Bowl and All-Pro voting has suggested, the offensive line in Cleveland is actually very good. The quarterbacks, however, are not. Josh Gordon caught passes last season from Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer, and Jason Campbell. Weeden (while undeniably a nice guy) is awful. In 2013 he just barely got over the 50% completion mark, threw as many interceptions as touchdowns (9), and lost 6 fumbles. Hoyer played a very solid three games before getting a season-ending injury. Jason Campbell was Jason Campbell: solid at best, putrid at worst, and never knowing which guy was going to show up on any given Sunday.
Josh Gordon’s luck with the guys throwing to him was just about as bad as could be. Yet he still scraped together an amazing season, even though he was very much dependant on sub-par quarterbacks. I have no idea how he managed that. Look at his fellow All-Pro wide receivers. Calvin Johnson had Matt Stafford throwing him the ball, while A.J. Green caught passes from Andy Dalton. Antonio Brown had Ben Roethlisberger. Demaryius Thomas had Peyton Manning. All of those guys had top-10 quarterbacks that improve their game. Josh Gordon had nobody. I imagine he’ll have a field day at the Pro Bowl if he has Manning or Tom Brady on his team.
Josh Gordon surprised all of us in 2013. His season was a work of art…and the fact that he sculpted it with such low-quality tools only makes it that much more impressive. Hopefully in 2014 we’ll be able to see what he can do with a good quarterback.
If you want to check out last week in review, CLICK HERE.