Based on the comments below from general manager Ray Farmer, it doesn’t seem like trouble receiver Josh Gordon has the biggest fan base within the Cleveland Browns front office. Or at least superstar wide receivers in general.
“I would say ‘how important are those guys?”’ Farmer told radio partner 92.3 The Fan. “Name the last big-time receiver to win a Super Bowl. Name the last mega-guy. (Gordon) matters to me because I like the guy and I think he’s a really good player, but at the end of the day, when you look at the teams that have these mega-receivers, name the last guy that won a Super Bowl?… There are none. The last guy that really helped his team get there was T.O. (Terrell Owens).”
Farmer presents solid points. Let’s address two points here.
First, Terrell Owens isn’t the last wide receiver that helped his team get to the Super Bowl. Since the Philadelphia Eagles appearance in the Super Bowl in 2005, we’ve had a chance to see Larry Fitzgerald (AZ), Randy Moss (NE), Reggie Wayne (IND), Hines Ward (PIT) play key roles in their teams making the Super Bowl.
Second, Farmer is right: big-name receivers don’t make teams. Calvin Johnson and the Detroit Lions have had success since his arrival and Johnson is the consensus pick for best wide-receiver. A.J. Green, the consensus number two receiver, and the Bengals have yet to escape the first round of the NFL Playoffs.
You could go on and on about all the top-name receivers who’ve teams have had little to no success.
But this doesn’t depreciate the value of said receivers as Farmer’s point is a bit off the mark. Regardless of who a team has at the receiver position, cornerback position, lineman position, or any other spot in the NFL, the one that matters most is quarterback. The Cleveland Browns know all about the struggle of not having an above average quarterback in the modern-day NFL. And even then, sometimes just having a good quarterback isn’t enough (See Green Bay/Aaron Rodgers). Football is the ultimate team sport. The offense needs to be on par with the defense which needs to be on par with the special team and the cycle revolves and continues, falling apart when facets fail to produce.
When you combine the elite quarterback with the elite receiver the result is often that of what we saw with Tom Brady and Randy Moss in New England some odd years ago or Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne. And judging from Gordon’s talent, it’s fair to place him with the other elite receivers. Last year for the Cleveland Browns, Gordon had one of the best seasons by a wide out in league history. Since the merger in 1970, only 16 receivers have gained 1600 or more receiving yards. Of those 16 players, Gordon did it with the second least amount of receptions (87) for the ninth most yards (1646).
Ray Farmer will possibly get to see what he thinks is the truth. With a year-long suspension breathing down his neck, the Cleveland Browns will be without one of the five best receivers in the NFL. The defense is set to replicate a healthy 2013 season (9th in yards per game, 8th in rushing yards per game, 18th in rushing yards per game) and the quarterback position has been addressed. We’ll see how well the Browns fair without Gordon.