Cleveland Browns running back Carlos Hyde (34) celebrates with wide receiver Antonio Callaway (11) after scoring a touchdown in the second half against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome

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Browns notes: With Josh Gordon gone, “It is time” for rookie Antonio Callaway

Greg Joseph needed 7 kicks to win job in Cleveland

September 19, 2018
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Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – In the span of mere seconds Sunday afternoon in the Superdome, rookie receiver Antonio Callaway may have put the Browns at ease for deciding to part ways with Josh Gordon.

Callaway flew effortlessly by the Saints secondary to haul in what was a game-tying 47-yard touchdown bomb from quarterback Tyrod Taylor with 1:16 to play in the foirth quarter.

With Gordon gone, all eyes are on Callaway. 

“Obviously, the catch to tie the game last week is a confidence booster for any young player,” head coach Hue Jackson said. “I think that he was always coming on. We were not trying got push him to fast, not give him too much too fast. Now, he has to take it all. It is time.

“I think that he will do well. He has always competed hard, and he always works at it. It is another step for him. This Thursday night will be good for him.”

Jackson watched the play “about five times” marveling at Callaway's speed.

“The burst to go get the ball was phenomenal,” Jackson said. “Obviously, it was a heck of a play. Hell of a throw and a heck of a catch.”

So, what could Callaway do for this offense now that Gordon is gone?

“He is an incredible talent,” Taylor said. “And the opportunity is here for him to grow and for us to grow as a team, and we are going to need his playmaking ability to definitely step up for us to be successful as an offense, as well as everyone else. He can definitely run, and we are going to need him to do that well.”

The Browns took a chance of the fourth-round pick out of Florida, who had multiple off-the-field problems in college, this past April, and the gamble is already paying off.

Callaway finished the game with 3 catches on 4 targets for 81 yards and a touchdown.

Receiver Jarvis Landry believes in the rookie’s ability to step up and fill the void.

“He ain’t got no choice,” Landry said. “But he’s definitely a guy that we’re going to count on, we’re going to lean on. We know he can make plays and Sunday was a prime example of that and given more opportunities I’m sure he’ll make more plays.”

Off the beach – It took 7 kicks for Greg Joseph to win the Browns kicking job following the decision to waive Zane Gonzalez after Gonzalez missed 2 PATs and 2 field goals in the second half of Sunday’s 21-18 loss at New Orleans.

“It’s a small kicking family, so you never want to see some…I don’t pray for anyone to fail, any kicker, period,” Joseph said, “but when the opportunity comes, you’ve got to make it work and do the best that you can.”

Joseph, who was “just living the South Florida life” over the weekend, said that he made his first 6 tries before hitting a 56-yarder wide right during Monday’s tryout. He made it on the re-kick.

As for his range, Joseph said, “Wherever coach needs me to. That’s gonna be my answer every time and I believe I have a big leg and have been working on accuracy big time but wherever coach needs me to I’m sure he has a number in his head and wherever tells me I’m going for it.”

Joseph becomes the sixth kicker since the Browns opted not to keep Phil Dawson, who is still going strong at the age of 43 in Arizona, following the 2012 Pro Bowl season.

Top intel – The Browns will likely use their pre-draft intel gathered on Jets rookie Sam Darnold in preparation for Thursday night’s game.

“We are going to use every piece of information we can. You can believe it,” Jackson said. “We have an idea of who we are playing, there is no doubt. He is a tough, competitive young man. He is not going to shy away from anything. He is going to stand there and try to make plays if need be. He doesn’t get rattled much. We will use all of the information we have to our advantage.”

The Browns passed on Darnold, allowing him to fall to the Jets and No. 3 after selecting Baker Mayfield No. 1 overall. While Mayfied remains entrenched behind Taylor, Darnold “earned” the Jets starting job according to head coach Todd Bowles.

“I can’t speak on what they are doing, but from our standpoint, Sam had a good spring and he had a good summer,” Bowles said. “He worked his way toward that and did a lot of things for us to earn his trust. Then he earned the team’s trust, as well. He kept his head down and worked. He earned the spot, and we gave him the start.”

With Darnold on the field against the Browns, the game will likely be viewed as the first referendum on the top of the 2018 draft much like Carson Wentz’s NFL debut against the Browns was in 2016.

“He has thrown for a lot of yards in two weeks. He has turned the ball over a little bit, like most young guys will, but he is playing well for them,” Jackson said.

“I am sure that they feel very comfortable with him being their quarterback. He is 1-1 right now. He has an opportunity to come in here Thursday night and make it a tough night for us.”

A big night from Darnold would be a nightmare scenario for Jackson and the Browns.

Ogbah out – Emmanuel Ogbah’s sprained left ankle will force the defensive end to miss his second straight game Thursday night.

Jackson ruled Ogbah out on Tuesday.

Injury report – Did not practice: DE Emmanuel Ogbah (ankle-out), LB Christian Kirksey (shoulder/ankle), S Damarious Randall (heel), TE Seth DeValve (hamstring)

Limited: CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun (hamstring), LT Desmond Harrison (shoulder), WR Jarvis Landry (knee), CB Denzel Ward (hamstring), LB James Burgess (wrist)