AFC North Blog
The Browns are playing it safe with two of their more important offensive weapons. Running back Trent Richardson and tight end Jordan Cameron are injured, and both might be held out until June minicamp or later, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Richardson has a pulled shin muscle, and head coach Rob Chudzinski said he will sit out the rest of this month's practices and "may miss" that minicamp. Cameron has a groin injury, and Chudzinski said the team will be just as cautious with him.
It didn't work for the Raiders last year. The Jaguars will see if it works for them this year. And the Steelers are also going to test it out. It's a zone-blocking run scheme, and while the Steelers won't make a full change from their years as power run offense, they want to mix it up in an effort to confuse defenses and keep their offensive line fresh. Now they have to figure out which of their running backs -- Isaac Redman, rookie Le'Veon Bell and Jonathan Dwyer -- works best in that type of system.
Steelers tight end Heath Miller spoke to the media on Wednesday for the first time since tearing three ligaments in his right knee in Week 16 last season. During the press conference, Miller said he is running but not at full speed. Miller also said "there's a chance" that he can play by Week 1, but it's a little too early to draw conclusions.
"It's a long time before training camp, so that's a long time to make gains positively or maybe even for something to happen negatively," Miller said. "So, I'm just taking one day at a time, and I hope to get better every day."
Many people inside and outside of the Browns' organization think a big year is coming from wide receiver Josh Gordon. Count in the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Terry Pluto.
"The game comes outrageously easy for Josh Gordon as he glides down the field," Pluto wrote Saturday. "If Gordon keeps his concentration and work ethic at NFL caliber, he could have a breakout season in the new 'throw it downfield' offense."
Gordon caught 50 passes in his 2012 rookie season. He led the Browns with 805 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns. He also had the league's fourth-highest yards-per-catch average (16.1) among wideouts with at least 50 receptions.
The Jordan Cameron hype machine keeps charging forward, this time with the help of the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot. Here's what she wrote in her latest mailbag column on Saturday:
"The Browns really like tight end Jordan Cameron as their starting tight end and plan to throw to him a lot. Cameron was targeted on plenty of deep balls in OTAs."
Many expected the Browns would add another quarterback to join Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell. That addition came on Thursday as Cleveland reportedly inked former Cardinals and Patriots backup Brian Hoyer to a two-year contract. Hoyer made his only NFL start in Week 17 for the Cardinals last season, but Arizona waived the 27-year-old earlier this week.
No matter that Ray Rice has the most receptions among running backs since the start of the 2008 season and that he had the most receptions of any AFC back last year. He wants more.
"Now that guys know that I'm a threat out of the backfield, I got to use my hands a little more," Rice said Sunday, via the Baltimore Sun. "I get pushed a lot coming out of the backfield, and that's a sign of respect, but if I can get my hands and get out on pass routes and continue to get open for Joe Flacco."
Rice's 61 catches last season were his least since his rookie year.