COMMENTARY | The offense of the Cleveland Browns has, during the team's first two games of the 2013 NFL regular season, been shockingly bad, worse than even the most pessimistic fan could have imagined back at the beginning of September. Cleveland is thus far averaging eight points and 56 rushing yards per game. It's almost hard to believe that the Browns are 0-2.
Anybody who watched the Browns during their August preseason games could see that tight end Jordan Cameron was going to play a bigger role in the team's offense this year. What has been surprising is that the 25-year-old has been Cleveland's single reliable option. An offense that was supposed to first go through advertised workhorse running back Trent Richardson has floundered, and there is no reason to believe that trend won't continue unless Cameron sees more looks as the season goes on.
Cameron's athleticism, put on display in this (somewhat) comedic video, was never a question. At 6'5'' and 245 pounds, Cameron has no trouble going over defensive backs, and his speed and leaping ability cannot be matched by any linebacker in the NFL. That he didn't put up monster numbers had everything to do with Cleveland having lousy offenses in 2011 and 2012.
There were glimpses last season of what Cameron could one day mean to the Browns. He only reeled in 20 of 39 targets, but 12 of those were for first downs. Cameron also had a single touchdown in 2012.
Barring an injury or the complete collapse of the Cleveland offense, Cameron appears set to have a career season. He is averaging ten targets per game, and he already has 14 receptions, a team high, and the lone touchdown the Browns scored in the team's first two games. Only running back Trent Richardson has been a more reliable WR option (seven catches on 11 receiving targets for 51 yards).
Cameron should remain an integral part of the Cleveland offense even with play-maker Josh Gordon set to make his season debut following a two-game suspension. WR Greg Little had no fewer than four drops in the team's most recent loss to the Baltimore Ravens, and he followed that performance by getting himself ticketed for driving violations for the second time in two months and the third time in 2013. His playing time could be drastically cut, if even for a week. Cameron is a better big-play option than is Davone Bess, and Travis Benjamin has been good for only two catches per game this season.
Cameron isn't turning into the next Antonio Gates or Tony Gonzalez, at least not overnight. Being a player capable of grabbing one touchdown every couple of games or so could be good enough to make the 2011 fourth round pick the star of what has been an underwhelming offense. Cleveland is going to need Cameron to produce, because, quite frankly, nobody else is at the moment.
What is already a short NFL season is only going to get shorter with every weekend for a winless side.
Zac has been following Cleveland sports since a little before his birth, and thus his heart breaks a little more with every year. He has been covering the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants and the NFL for Yahoo Sports since 2010
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Cleveland Browns
- Jordan Cameron
- the Browns