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Browns trade Josh Gordon to New England

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    The Cleveland Browns traded wide receiver Josh Gordon to the New England Patriots on Monday in exchange for a fifth-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Patriots will also receive a conditional seventh-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft.The Browns announced the move on the team website. Thus ends one of the strangest tenures of a Browns player in franchise history.Cleveland selected Gordon in the 2012 Supplemental Draft after a troubled collegiate career that saw him be asked to leave from both Baylor and Utah. After a respectable rookie year Cheap Jarvis Landry Jersey , Gordon was hit with a two-game suspension by the NFL to open the 2013 season. He came back to post his lone good season as a pro, but what a season it was as he led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards. It all went downhill from there, however, as Gordon continued to run afoul of the league’s substance-abuse policy as he was suspended for 11 games in 2014, all of the 2015 and 2016 seasons, and the first 11 games of last season.Along the way there were numerous exclamations that Gordon was “back,” only for fans and the Browns to see Gordon’s career repeatedly interrupted. Gordon took a leave of absence from the team this past summer during training camp and returned in time to start the season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he caught a touchdown pass on his only reception of the day.The Browns finally reached their breaking point with Gordon over the weekend when he showed up at team headquarters with a hamstring issue. The Browns made him inactive for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints, announced they planned to release him and then worked out the trade with the Patriots.There are some Browns fans who will lament that the Browns decided to finally move on from Gordon, but it is hard to miss a player who has only been eligible for 41 of a possible 96 games in his career and has posted just 43 receptions and two touchdowns since 2013.The Browns, more than anyone else in the NFL, know what is going on with Gordon’s personal life and finally decided that six years was more than enough to wait around for him to show that 2013 was not just a fluke season.The team also supported Gordon to an extent that the NFL has likely never seen, as head coach Hue Jackson commented on when the trade was announced:Truer words may never have been spoken in the history of the NFL.Breaking Down Saquon Barkley’s Big Run Against the Browns Many Browns fans were upset when GM John Dorsey passed on Saquon Barkley in order to select Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. While some might claim that no running back is ever worth such a high selection, Barkley’s combination of size, speed, and collegiate production was undoubtedly tantalizing.Browns fans got their first look at Barkley in the NFL on Thursday night, and Barkley wasted no time in an attempt to shove regret down Browns fans’ throats, ripping off a 39 yard run on his first NFL play. Thankfully, he did nearly all of his damage on the first play from scrimmage, as he was limited to 3 carries for 4 yards in the rest of his limited time on the field.How did Barkley break free? Let’s turn to the film.On their first play from scrimmage, the Giants came out in a 12 personnel (1 Back http://www.officialbrownsfootballstore.com/jarvis-landry-jersey-cheap , 2 TE) grouping, putting both TEs to the right of their formation with both WRs to the left:This brought SS Jabrill Peppers down to play over the slot receiver, leaving rookie CB Denzel Ward in a place where he could only conceivably cover the TEs or Barkley.From the endzone, we can see how the Browns’ 4-3 Over G defense should defend the run: in a 1 gap defense, every defender is responsible for one gap and must stop any runs coming through that gap. If every player does his job, the back will have nowhere to go.The Giants run inside zone to the Browns’ right, with a designed cutback option for Barkley toward the tight ends. The strength of the zone runs against a 1-gap defense is that if one defender is out of position, the back can theoretically find that empty gap and run through it.As the play begins, TE Evan Engram gets the inside track on DE Emmanuel Ogbah, sealing him off from his gap. You’d expect a player of Engram’s quickness to get the initial edge here, as Ogbah does not know what play is coming and is lined up head-up to the TE: as an offensive player Engram simply gets a head start.As the play evolves, Ogbah is able to reclaim his gap using his power. You’d expect a DE in a 4-3 system to be able to either cross the face of the TE into that D gap, or walk the TE back into it to seal it off, and Ogbah does.In the screenshot above, you can see that LB Christian Kirksey has also been cut off from his gap by TE Rhett Ellison. If he maintained gap discipline, he would pursue Barkley further to our right, either by pushing Ellison that way or by trying to run across his face. It is possible that this could have been a “scrape exchange” in the defense, where the DE dives down the line and the LB scrapes over the top to the backside of the play. But in that case, you want the LB much closer to the DE than Kirksey ends up playing this (you want them close enough that the LB could be touching the DE...i.e. “scraping” off of his back.)Also above, you can see an absence of CB Denzel Ward. While Ward had a reputation of being a big hitter in college (you got BBQ back there and you didn’t invite me?!), he will be tested against the run early and often in the NFL, where offensive coordinators constantly scheme to get their RBs 1 on 1 against a CB. Ward has contain responsibility here Baker Mayfield Jersey Elite , and had he reacted quicker to the play he could have hemmed Barkley up before he got going. Instead, Ward hesitated off the snap, fearing a play action pass:Note that the Giants are already 2-3 yards downfield run blocking and Ward is just now firing forward to stop the run from 6 yards deep. He isn’t extremely late, but he isn’t on time.Ward, the 2018 4th overall pick is also known for his speed. And once he comes forward to stop the run he gets there in a hurry:Barkley has shown good footwork to evade Ogbah and cut back a gap in the image above. As Ward enters the picture, Kirksey has probably lost the opportunity to cross Ellison’s face with his speed, but could still drive the TE to the right and contain Barkley along with Ward.Instead, Barkley gives a nod to the outside, luring Kirksey and Ward into stepping outside with him:Despite being a step late in diagnosing the run, Ward is actually in decent position here to do his job. However, Kirksey has taken one too many false steps on this play and is now essentially covering the same spot on the field as Ward. As Barkley completes his cut, Kirksey is left in a position you’d never like to see your linebackers in. I think Ward has a chance to make a tackle here if he isn’t late to the play.Further exacerbating the problem is that MLB Joe Shobert has gotten caught up in the wash and fallen down off-screen to the right. He had plugged his A gap initially, but there is a chance that he could have pursued the play and with all of Barkley’s cutbacks, he maybe could have stopped the play after just a few yards. Instead, Barkley is untouched up to the third level of the defense, and FS Damarious Randall is left to force him out after a big gain. You can see Schobert entering the play from the right here:That’s not what you want to see from the Browns’ perspective.TakeawaysIt is always tempting to overreact to our first look at football in what seems like decades after the offseason, but there shouldn’t be many real conclusions drawn here. Barkley showed that his speed is a weapon at the NFL level, and the Browns have shown that they weren’t game-ready against the run on the first play from scrimmage in their first preseason game. Neither of these things should be surprising.Other than that, it is hard to draw conclusions based on such a small sample size. The Browns will need to improve their discipline in all phases on defense, but the good news is that the talent and aggression appear to be there. Should the Browns have passed on Baker Mayfield, and did Saquon Barkley break the rule that NFL teams shouldn’t draft running backs high in the first round? It’s way too early to tell.

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