April 21, 2014

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Browns commentary: Expect Josh Gordon to stay

In a week we’ll know.

The NFL trading deadline is Tuesday at 4 p.m. The persistent rumors regarding a trade of receiver Josh Gordon will be forced to stop. He’ll either be with the Browns or be elsewhere for the final eight games.

The Gordon rumors have been hot and cold since running back Trent Richardson was traded out of the blue in Week 3. ESPN’s Adam Schefter turned up the heat again Monday when he reported at least three teams have contacted the Browns about Gordon and two have standing offers of a high pick and a player, citing league sources.

Schefter reported the teams said the Browns are asking for more and hesitant to make a deal unless they get what they’re seeking in return.

The Browns have maintained they’re not shopping Gordon. They have received calls, but a trade is highly unlikely.

Even after the loss to Green Bay on Sunday.

Gordon was limited to two catches for 21 yards and some observers questioned his effort and interest in the game. The Browns needed huge heroics and got little impact.

On three plays in particular Gordon didn’t win like a No. 1 receiver should.

Quarterback Brandon Weeden was going to hit him on a quick hook for an easy completion in a rocky first quarter, but Gordon fell down.

In the third quarter, Gordon was one-on-one on a go route down the left sideline. Weeden threw a catchable ball, but Sam Shields pinned Gordon to the sideline and prevented him from making a legitimate try at the ball.

In the fourth quarter of a 17-6 game, Weeden tried his most talented target on fourth-and-15. Gordon had separation at the 5-yard line but waited for the ball to come to him, allowing Davon House to break it up. The Browns never threatened again.

Coach Rob Chudzinski didn’t like Gordon’s technique on the last example, saying he should’ve reached to grab the ball at its high point. But Chudzinski and Weeden defended Gordon’s effort.

“I’ve seen him make some great catches before and he’s going to make more from here on out,” Chudzinski said.

The trade talk has occupied the thoughts of Gordon and Browns fans. Gordon has admitted as much for weeks and said it again Sunday after the loss.

“It’s been weeks now I’ve been hearing about it,” he said. “If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. That’s just how I’m looking at it.”

Many fans cringe at the idea of moving Gordon. He’s a playmaker on a team in dire need of more. He has the talent of a Pro Bowl receiver.

Those are the reasons the Browns are holding out for their asking price. Which better be a first-round pick.

I don’t think Gordon will be traded. I think he stays, plays well and establishes himself as a legitimate No. 1 wideout.

We will have resolution in a week.

One more shot

If you believe the depth chart released Tuesday, Weeden will start Sunday against the 7-0 Chiefs. I don’t always believe depth charts, but I do think Weeden should and will start Sunday.

Chudzinski said Monday he was considering benching Weeden for Jason Campbell. Chudzinski couldn’t be blamed for making a switch after Weeden’s pitiful performance over the last six quarters. The coach is trying to win games and may have reached the conclusion he can’t do it with Weeden.

But I would give Weeden another week to see if he can get out of his funk. This season was supposed to be about determining whether Weeden could be a long-term starter. That ship has all but sailed, but he should get more than four starts in two stints before a death certificate is written for his career.

It may seem crazy, but I don’t think it is for the coaches to have faith — perhaps the blind kind — that Weeden will improve the more he practices and plays. He has shown spurts and played only five games in coordinator Norv Turner’s system. I know the clock runs fast in today’s NFL, but that’s not a lot of time to make a fully informed decision.

So I expect Chudzinski to start Weeden. But if he is a disaster again, Chudzinski will turn over the season to Campbell.

It would mark the end of an era for yet another starting quarterback in Cleveland.

Roster move

The Browns are trying it again.

They signed receiver Brian Tyms off the practice squad of the Dolphins. To make room on the active roster, they waived receiver Tori Gurley.

Tyms is 6-foot-3, 204 pounds. He was undrafted out of Florida A&M, where he had 45 catches for 661 yards and four touchdowns in two seasons. He spent all of last year and the first seven weeks this year on Miami’s practice squad.

The Browns signed receiver Charles Johnson off Green Bay’s practice squad Oct. 12, only to discover a torn anterior cruciate ligament that required season-ending surgery. Because Johnson was signed off another team’s practice squad, he must count against Cleveland’s 53-man roster for three games.

Contact Scott Petrak at (440) 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @scottpetrak.