Who in the world would consider such a thing?
He's ONLY the guy who can drive teams out of stacking the box to stop the Browns from running the ball the way Houston did on Sunday. And the guy who can provide a true deep threat and open the field for the other players on the team. He's also the guy who starts the game demanding a double-team, who who led the NFL in receiving a year ago when he had eye-popping back-to-back 200-yard.
Expectations for a guy like that? Perish the thought.
That's what the Browns are telling us at least. Don't look at Gordon as a savior, as a game-changer, as a a guy who can walk in and immediately be who he was.
No need to put high expectations there, especially with two more defensive starters hurt (inside linebacker Karlos Dansby and outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard) and the need to score points, which Gordon can provide.
"We have to be very smart in how we approach it," coach Mike Pettine said.
Fair enough, though, with Gordon "smart" could be as simple as telling him "line up wide, run as fast as you can, catch the ball and score." With this particular receiver, that might work.
"We all know what Josh is capable of but let's not put all this pressure on him to be the savior," quarterback Brian Hoyer said.
That's fair. No need to call Gordon a savior. But even Gordon at 75 percent of himself is better than most. And Gordon on the roster helps a Browns offense that could use a lift. The Browns got a ton more than anyone expected from the group of receivers they have; it's to their credit the team is 6-4 without Gordon (everyone who had that in the preseason pool stake a step forward). The offense struggled against Houston, and though Hoyer is right in saying that everyone needs to play better, it could use a lift. Without Gordon, the Browns lack the big-time playmaker, the game-changer.
Voila. Here’s Joshie.
Instead of putting expectations on it, let's just in a very quiet voice call it a hugely significant, potentially incredible help to the offense.
Minimizing what Gordon can provide is sort of like acquiring Sandy Koufax or Bob Feller and telling him to focus on the changeup. Like asking Pavarotti to sing country, Mickey Mantle to bunt and Jerry Rice to be a decoy.
This is not to say that Gordon has become one of the all-time greats. But he has that kind of talent -- game-changing, rare talent. Cue up the pass he caught against Jacksonville last season, when he landed, turned and spun from a dead stop and ran away from two defenders. Or the pass he caught against New England, when he ran away Aqib Talib. Or the Minnesota game, when he had 10 receptions, a touchdown and a 22-yard run.
Gordon was in the locker room on Monday and was his usual quiet, subdued self. He left without talking to the media, wearing a goofy fur hat and smiling as he walked out the door.
Gordon then tweeted this:
No place I'd rather be than Cleveland right about now.. #reinstated 👍— Flash Gordon (@JOSH_GORDONXII) November 17, 2014
Clearly he's happy to be back.
The fans are happy to have him back.
Now it's time for the Browns to be happy, even if they don't want to put expectations on him.
Because with or without expectations, they should be better with him than without him.