Browns’ Bess to face former teammates
CLEVELAND – It’s not easy reading the body language of Browns receiver Davone Bess when the topic is the Miami Dolphins.
Either he really means it when he says he doesn’t have some level of revenge on his mind about facing his ex-teammates, or he’s waiting to celebrate like it’s Mardi Gras if the Browns are victorious when the teams meet Sunday at First Energy Stadium.
“It would be easy getting emotional knowing I spent the first part of my career there, but I’m going to treat this game as if it was every other game,” Bess said. “I’m going to stay poised and execute and try to win the game.”
Bess, who returned to practice Monday after missing time with knee tendinitis, spent the first five years of his career with the Dolphins, catching 321 passes for 3,447 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was traded to the Browns along with fourth-and seventh-round choices in exchange for the Browns fourth- and fifth-round selections.
Bess developed into a dependable slot receiver in Miami, averaging 64 receptions and 10.7 yards per catch. For a team that needed receiving help to the point they spent $60 million on former Steeler Mike Wallace, trading Bess seemed like an odd move.
“Things happen,” Bess said. “We all know how this business is. When I got traded it was in the best interest of the Miami Dolphins. I’m a Cleveland Brown now. No grudges at all. I’m happy to be here.”
Bess is now being asked to supply the type of consistency for second-year quarterback Brandon Weeden. The two worked well together early in training camp, but they didn’t have many opportunities to fine tune their chemistry late in camp because of Bess’ minor injury.
Bess refers to the rest he was given because of the tendinitis as routine maintenance. He said all along that he would be ready for the opener, which will be the case barring another setback.
There isn’t any concern on the part of Bess that the time he missed with Weeden in camp will hinder his play.
“For the reps we didn’t get from a physical standpoint out on the field we get them in walk-throughs and we got them in the meeting room,” Bess said. “Those mental reps are just as important as the physical ones, so from that aspect as long as we’re on the same page and we understand each other from a chemistry standpoint, I don’t think it will throw off the timing at all.”
The Browns’ offense needs a shot of adrenaline at the receiver spots, mainly due to the two-game suspension Josh Gordon is serving for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Coach Rob Chudzinski might have been expecting David Nelson to return to good health after suffering a serious knee injury last season while playing for the Bills, but he was waived last week.
Despite the problems, Bess believes the receiving corps can be much better than average.
“The sky is the limit,” he said. “We have a great offensive coordinator in Norv (Turner), who’s very detailed. We have players who add dynamics to the game. It’s a matter of us honing in to the offense and wanting to be great.”
It comes down to that every year.