Reporting Daryl Ruiter
BEREA (92.3 The Fan) - For the first time in camp, the offense really shined Wednesday and rookie receiver Josh Gordon was a big reason why.
Gordon, who was just selected in the supplemental draft nearly 3 weeks ago, has been nothing short of impressive just one week in.
During a fade route end zone drill Wednesday, Gordon snared a ball with one hand right in front of coach Pat Shurmur who was watching behind the end line.
The circus-like catch would’ve landed on highlight reels on every network instantaneously.
“It’s something I’ve had a lot of practice on,” Gordon said. “Growing up, just since middle school the fade route — I was the tallest wide receiver all the time. So [I] just go and get it, pretty much.”
Gordon isn’t all “flash” either.
He is fundamentally sound in using his hands, footwork, speed and agility to put himself in position to catch the football.
But he’s still adjusting to the NFL.
“[I'm] getting used to the physicality of the DBs in the league,” Gordon said. “A lot of them, they’re bigger, muscle bound guys. It’s not like college. So actually, having to use my size and my advantage to try to get them off me is what you have to work on most to beat the press.”
During 11-on-11, he caught several passes in the red zone which caught Shurmur’s attention.
“He did a good job in the red zone and again, he is a big target,” Shurmur said. “Physically, he is like a tight end running around in there and obviously, athletically, he fits the wide receiver mold.”
All About The Benjamin: Gordon isn’t the only rookie receiver to turn heads.
Fourth round pick Travis Benjamin has shown his blazing speed and good hands consistently on the field as well.
Benjamin knows that in this league he needs more than just speed to be a quality receiver.
“It’s physical,” Benjamin said. “You’ve got to know a release move. You might release outside, release inside, and with my speed they know that they’ve got to be quick on their feet because I can run by them at any time.”
Should he continue to progress, Shurmur doesn’t think it’s out of the question to think that he’ll be a significant contributor in 2012.
“Absolutely,” Shurmur said. “I think both of those guys [Benjamin and Gordon], if they progress like they’re doing at the pace they’re going now, then I think they’ll be major contributors. Both those guys.”
Beat Up D-Line: 75 percent of the Browns starting defensive line is hurt. Defensive end Frostee Rucker joined the Berea bike brigade with an undisclosed injury Wednesday.
“He won’t be out long,” Shurmur said. “He missed today. He’s OK. We’ll evaluate him. He’ll be back soon.”
Rucker’s injury opened the door for Marcus Benard who replaced Rucker at right end with the first-team defense.
Bernard, who’s season ended following a motorcycle accident in early October last year, is fighting for a reserve role.
“He’s doing a good job,” Shurmur said. “He’s way further ahead this year than he was last year. Remember, he tried to put on a bunch of weight. In my opinion, it was not good weight based on his frame. He was in much better shape when he reported [to camp this year] and I think he’s doing a good job.
“Again, preseason games will be important for him as well.”
Defensive tackle Kiante Tripp replaced Brian Schaefering in Rubin’s spot with the first-team defense as well.
Shurmur was asked why Tripp got the bump up to the ones.
“He maybe bought somebody lunch,” Shurmur joked. “I don’t know.”
No Comment: Current Browns Owner Randy Lerner took in the first portion of Wednesday’s practice.
Lerner once again visited with president Mike Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert. He politely declined comment on the impending sale of the Browns to Tennessee businessman Jimmy Haslam III as he shook reporters hands while walking off of the field.
The sale of at least 70 percent of the controlling interest in the team is expected to be finalized and approved by October at the latest.
Lerner is assuming all personnel debts with the club including payments still being made to former coaches and executives as part of the sale.
With former Eagles president Joe Banner’s involvement in the group, it’s assumed that Mike Holmgren would be out as team president immediately. Lerner will also compensate Holmgren for the remainder of his contract which runs through 2014.
Drawing A Crowd: The Browns are quite the attraction through the first four open practices to the public.
Another 2,774 descended on the training complex in Berea Wednesday afternoon bringing the 4-day total to 12,254 fans.
It’s the highest total through the first 4 sessions since the club began tracking figures in 2005. A record crowd of 4,200 showed up Sunday morning for the first full padded practice of camp.
Injuries: Tight end Evan Moore, defensive tackles Ahtyba Rubin and Phil Taylor, fullback Eddie Williams and receiver Carlton Mitchell continued to be out.
Shurmur said Moore will be back soon. while Williams “probably won’t be out there for a while.”
Up Next: The Browns will practice in full pads Thursday morning at 8:45. Gates open at 7:45.