Turner defends Gordon’s work ethic to critics

CLEVELAND – Don’t get Norv Turner going on perceptions about receiver Josh Gordon.

In particular, the Browns offensive coordinator doesn’t take kind to opinions of Gordon that question his work ethic. Turner used Gordon’s 10-reception, 261-yard performance against Jacksonville last Sunday as evidence of his dedication.

“We sit here in August and everyone complained that the guy doesn’t work hard; he doesn’t run good routes; he doesn’t finish,” Turner said. “There were four minutes left in the game. He had already caught nine balls, and I didn’t see him not run a route full speed. Then he goes 95 yards and pulls away from some pretty fast guys.”

The play in reference was the catch Gordon made on a short hook route that he turned into a touchdown that gave the Browns a short-lived 28-25 lead late in the fourth quarter. Gordon impressed Turner one more time with his effort getting down field on a failed Hail Mary pass by Brandon Weeden.

“On the Hail Mary, if you had put a clock on him I’m sure his 40-yard dash time would have been incredible because he was running as hard as you can run hoping he had a chance to make a play,” Turner said. “All this August talk is just talk. He’s a young player that’s maturing and getting a lot better.”

Turner is obviously miffed by the perception among national writers that Gordon doesn’t give a 100 percent effort. The opinion of some was based on one trip to camp last summer.

Gordon has addressed the perception more than once. It’s hard to get a read on how he truly feels about the criticism because of his low-key attitude.

“It doesn’t have an affect on me at all,” Gordon said. “Apparently what I’m doing on the field is backing itself up, so apparently people say I’m loafing, but I feel I’m going 100 percent.”

No one can argue Gordon’s point. In 10 game appearances, he has 64 receptions for 1,249 yards and seven touchdowns. In the last two games he has a combined 24 receptions for 498 yards and three touchdowns, becoming the first receiver to ever have consecutive games with at least 200 yards.

Turner has seen many great receivers during his coaching career. What Gordon has done of late has caught his attention.

“I wouldn’t do that (make comparisons) to anybody,” Turner said. “Obviously he’s proven he can be an elite receiver in this league in terms of production because he’s already doing that.

“I’ve been around a lot of guys who have had a great game or a great year. The great ones do it week to week. Then you do it two years in a row, three years in a row and four years in a row.”

The challenge this week is to keep the production rolling against the New England Patriots. Patriots coach Bill Belichick is known for his ability to identify one of the opponent’s best offensive players and negate his production.

A case in point is New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, who’s among the best at his position in the NFL. Graham was held without a reception in a loss to New England.

“I hold this team in high regard,” Gordon said. “They might double team me or they might not. If they do give me that look, we’re prepared for it. If they don’t and they single me up, we plan to exploit it.”