BEREA: Browns coach Pat Shurmur removed rookie wide receiver Josh Gordon from an 11-on-11 session Sunday after Gordon looked lackadaisical while running a route.
Shurmur replaced him with wide receiver Rod Windsor. One play later, Windsor ran a fade route and caught a deep pass from quarterback Colt McCoy, drawing cheers from the crowd.
Shurmur didn’t speak specifically about that sequence, but he said Gordon needs encouragement at times. Gordon, whom the Browns picked in the second round of the supplemental draft on July 12, has had a rough stretch of practices, and he failed to make a catch in his NFL preseason debut Friday against the Detroit Lions.
“He’s a rookie in the NFL and so he learns everything by doing it,” Shurmur said. “He’s an extremely talented guy, but he needs to do it. He needs to be inspired and motivated and you know his first game was a little bit like I might have expected. I think when you play in a game as opposed to practice, the speed and the urgency and all the stuff just tends to pick up just a little bit, and I would anticipate that as he plays his way through these preseason [games], he’ll get better and better.”
Gordon didn’t disagree with Shurmur’s assessment.
“I’d like to say I’m a self-motivated kind of guy, but hearing it from my teammates and hearing it from my coaches definitely helps as well ’cause it just shows that they actually do really care and they do want the best out of you and want to bring the best out of you,” Gordon said. “I’m glad they do it. It’s necessary for a lot of times ’cause sometimes you get tired and you get down and might miss a play or mess up and you might need some of that confidence to boost you back up to go out there and do it again.”
With wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi sidelined with a concussion suffered against the Lions, Gordon is expected to start Thursday night when the Browns visit the Green Bay Packers for another exhibition game. He wants to redeem himself after being targeted three times Friday and finishing without a reception.
“It’s definitely something in the back of my head,” Gordon said. “I want to do better and actually prove myself and go out there and showcase what I can do. But I know it’s a whole lot more than what I have shown that past game. I was disappointed in myself, but at the same time, knowing it was the first game and we had a lot of other guys that needed more repetitions, I could only play for so long. I had to take that into consideration as well. [I’m] definitely more amped up to get into it again.”
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Gordon knows he must be more aggressive to beat press coverage. He’s determined to use his size as an advantage against the Packers.
“I feel like I definitely could’ve been a lot more aggressive and that’s what I’m working on,” Gordon said. “I’m working towards coming off the ball a whole lot harder. … I’m definitely trying to be more physical, be more ferocious at the line of scrimmage.”
Gordon said his left quadriceps, which he pulled July 10 during his pro day, is no longer giving him problems.
“It was awhile ago going into camp and whatnot, but I was still practicing full go and just every day slowly progressing on it,” Gordon said. “But now it’s definitely 100 percent.”
So Gordon believes he’ll be able to contribute right away, despite encountering some bumps on the road.
“I feel like that’s the reason they brought me out here, regardless of the statistics of it, just to come out here and contribute as much as I can, if it’s starting or backing up whoever,” Gordon said. “If Mo’s down, if it’s me or whoever, we’ve got to step up and do our job and [I] definitely think we’re all ready for it.”
The following 15 players sat out Sunday with injuries: Massaquoi (concussion), cornerback Dimitri Patterson (right ankle), strong safety Usama Young (reported hamstring), running back Trent Richardson (recent knee surgery), fullback Eddie Williams (undisclosed), weakside linebacker Chris Gocong (out for the season with a torn right Achilles tendon), middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson (reported shoulder soreness), defensive end Marcus Benard (undisclosed), defensive tackle Scott Paxson (right knee), wide receiver Travis Benjamin (Shurmur cited soreness), tight end Benjamin Watson (undisclosed), tight end Jordan Cameron (back), defensive end Frostee Rucker (undisclosed), defensive tackle Phil Taylor (pectoral muscle surgery in May) and strongside linebacker Scott Fujita (Shurmur cited soreness).
Shurmur declined to give a timetable for when Massaquoi, Patterson, Paxson and Cameron are expected to return. All of them were hurt Friday against the Lions.
“It’s hard to tell when those guys will all be back,” Shurmur said. “They got nicked up in the game and we’ll see.”
Players who filled in for injured teammates and practiced with the starters during team drills were rookie cornerback Trevin Wade (replaced Patterson in nickel packages), tight end Alex Smith (Watson and Cameron), rookie defensive tackle John Hughes (Taylor and Paxson), defensive end Emmanuel Stephens (Rucker and Benard), rookie strongside linebacker James-Michael Johnson (Fujita), rookie middle linebacker L.J. Fort (Jackson), running back Montario Hardesty (Richardson) and Gordon (Massaquoi).
Shurmur reiterated what he said Friday following the game: Massaquoi suffered a concussion after catching a 12-yard pass on the Browns’ first offensive play.
After the game, a fan used Twitter to ask Massaquoi whether he suffered a concussion. Massaquoi replied by writing, “No! Precautionary! Can’t wait to get back to work!”
When asked to clear it up Sunday, Shurmur said, “I told you what happened and that’s what happened. … He had a concussion and we’re treating as so.”
Shurmur then made it clear he wishes his players wouldn’t use Twitter.
“Yeah, I don’t like [Twitter],” Shurmur said. “That’s my policy. I encourage them not to [use it], and I think it’s important that they don’t. I don’t think you can totally harness social media. I’ve come to that realization. But what I can do is encourage and inspire them to be very professional and not talk about Browns business.”
Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis enforced a Twitter ban during camp this summer. Shurmur said he doesn’t plan to follow suit.
“No, I’m not gonna sit here and pick a fight with Twitter,” Shurmur said. “I don’t want to do that because I want to deal with our guys as professionals. I want to deal with them as men.”
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Browns blog at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/browns.abj.