April 23, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
36°F

Little see Cavs in playoffs

Brian Dulik

The Gazette

BEREA — Browns wide receiver Greg Little has never lacked confidence in himself or his team. Not surprisingly, he also sees good things ahead for Cleveland’s NBA franchise.

“I was peeping them out, and I definitely think the Cavaliers are going to the playoffs,” Little said Friday following practice. “I also could see Kyrie (Irving) being the seventh or eighth man on the All-Star team, but for sure, I see them in the playoffs.”

Unfortunately, Little won’t be making his postseason debut this season as the Browns own the worst record in the NFL at 1-6. Cleveland hosts the San Diego Chargers on Sunday afternoon.

Through seven games, Little ranks second on the Browns with 20 receptions, 221 receiving yards and two touchdown catches, but is well off his pace as a rookie, when he made 81 catches for 709 yards and two scores.

The North Carolina product is coming off his best performance of the year — tying his career high with six catches for 52 yards and a gorgeous leaping touchdown catch at Indianapolis — but would love to see additional throws come his way.

“The more balls I see, I feel the more plays I’ll make,” the second-year pro said. “Brandon (Weeden) is becoming more confident with the progressions and check-downs, and I think he’s comfortable going to me, so I’m optimistic about what’s ahead for us.”

As Little should be. He is one of only 12 players to start Cleveland’s first seven games and caught six of the seven passes that Weeden sent in his direction against the Colts.

For comparison’s sake at his position, Josh Gordon went 2-for-10, Josh Cooper went 4-for-8 and Travis Benjamin went 3-for-5.

“I’m a man on a mission and I want to help the team be a success,” Little said. “A win is a win and a loss isn’t a win. We need to find a way to get more wins, and I believe we’re on our way to doing that.”

There is one subject, however, that turns the 23-year-old’s mood sour.

Little received countless negative tweets earlier this season from Browns fans, prompting him to stop posting to his Twitter account.

“Twitter is so negative. I don’t want to read it and I don’t want to see it,” Little said. “If you’re my fan, then you’re with me through the good and the bad. You don’t turn on me when I drop a pass or make a mistake.

“It’s a great way to communicate — and I get that — but it’s not for me anymore, at least not during the season.”

That’s a negative

Weeden was surprised to learn that he was credited with minus-9 receiving yards on the final play of Cleveland’s 17-13 loss in Indianapolis.

Weeden completed an 8-yard pass to Joshua Cribbs, then got the ball back five laterals later at the Browns’ 46-yard line. The rookie wildly flung the football backward to keep the sequence alive, where it was touched by a Colts player at the 37 — earning him zero receptions for minus-9 yards and one fumble, according to NFL rules.

“Aw, man, I thought it was just a fumble,” Weeden said, laughing. “That stinks. I’m going to have to catch a bat-back later this season and run a ways with it, so I can get out of negative yardage.”

Also awarded receiving yards without the benefit of a catch were fellow lateral recipients Little (6), Josh Cooper (4) and Josh Gordon (8), while Weeden was credited with a completed pass for 17 yards. Cribbs recovered the loose ball and gained 2 fumble yards, which do not count toward any offensive category.

Extra points

New Browns president Joe Banner’s father, Ralph, died Thursday night at the age of 89 in metropolitan Boston. It is uncertain whether Banner will fly into Cleveland for the Browns/Chargers game.

l Cleveland defensive tackle Billy Winn showed off his remote-controlled helicopter following practice, making many of his teammates jealous.

l San Diego offensive line coach Mike Sullivan is married to former WKYC-TV 3 morning show anchor Carole Chandler. He previously served as an assistant with the Browns from 2001-04 and 2007-08.

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.