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Browns notebook: Coach Rob Chudzinski challenging Josh Gordon but trade rumors continue to fly

By Nate Ulrich
Beacon Journal sports writer

BEREA: Browns coach Rob Chudzinski didn’t accuse wide receiver Josh Gordon of slacking Sunday during a crucial play in the fourth quarter of a 31-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers, but he also pointed out that Gordon could’ve been more aggressive.

With the Browns behind 17-6, Chudzinski elected to go for it on fourth-and-15 at the Packers’ 31-yard line because he and kicker Billy Cundiff agreed a 49-yard field-goal attempt would be futile considering the way the wind was blowing in the north end zone at Lambeau Field. Quarterback Brandon Weeden launched a pass toward Gordon, but cornerback Davon House broke it up at the 5-yard line.

“I don’t think it was an effort thing,” Chudzinski said Monday during a news conference. “Josh wants to be an elite receiver in this league, and those are the types of plays that you have to find a way to make. He went up for it, and he tried to body catch it more than high-pointing it. So there’s some technique things that we can work with him on. I’ve seen him make some great catches before, and he’s going to make more from here on out.”

Gordon had a season-low two catches for 21 yards. A second-round pick in last year’s supplemental draft, Gordon has endured trade rumors for weeks, and some wonder whether the speculation affected his performance Sunday. At least three teams have contacted the Browns about dealing for Gordon, two of which have standing offers of a high draft pick and a player, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday. The Browns are balking so far, according to the report. The NFL trade deadline is Oct. 29.

When asked if Gordon seemed disengaged against the Packers, Chudzinski said, “I didn’t sense that at all.”

A split-second after Gordon dropped a pass in the second quarter, cornerback Tramon Williams slammed him to the ground, drawing an unnecessary roughness penalty. Gordon appeared bothered by his shoulder after the play and was examined by medical personnel.

“I know at that particular time he was shaken up,” Chudzinski said. “I don’t know if there was some other things that happened that were related to that or not during the course of the game.”

Seeking clarification

Chudzinski said the Browns will ask the NFL for clarification regarding free safety Tashaun Gipson’s frightening hit on tight end Jermichael Finley in the fourth quarter.

Finley suffered a neck injury during the play and was taken off the field on a stretcher. He was in the hospital Monday but tweeted that he was out of the intensive care unit. Packers coach Mike McCarthy, offensive coordinator Tom Clements and several players do not believe Gipson’s hit was malicious.

“Thoughts and prayers going out to @JermichaelF88 hoping for a speedy recovery,” Gipson wrote on Twitter. “God bless bro.”

Referee Jeff Triplette penalized Gipson for unnecessary roughness and said he led with his helmet. But the Browns believe Gipson hit Finley’s helmet with his shoulder pad.

“I think [the officials are] doing everything from their perspective to keep the game safe,” Chudzinski said. “From my standpoint in looking at it, I felt like he led with his shoulder. We’ll submit it so we can coach our guys better and get an interpretation on it.”

Extra points

The Browns claimed rookie cornerback Jordan Poyer off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles and waived cornerback Julian Posey, the team announced Monday. The Eagles drafted the 6-foot, 191-pound Poyer in the seventh round (218th overall) out of Oregon State. He appeared in three games with the Eagles and had two tackles on defense and one on special teams. … Outside linebacker Quentin Groves left in the first quarter Sunday and did not return after re-injuring an ankle. Groves suffered a high-ankle sprain Sept. 15 against the Baltimore Ravens, missed three games and returned to action Oct. 13 against the Detroit Lions. “I’m good,” Groves said. “I’ll be back this week, God willing.”


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