Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Browns Notes: Todd Haley has high hopes for Tyrod Taylor, Josh Gordon

Denzel Ward not bothered by Gregg Williams’ criticism

September 7, 2018

by Daryl Ruiter, 92.3 The Fan

Berea, OH - Browns offensive coordinator Todd Haley knows the offense will go only as far as quarterback Tyrod Taylor will take it.

The same can be said for receiver Josh Gordon.

From Haley’s point of view, he believes that the sky is the limit for Taylor, who becomes the 16th different opening day starting QB for the Browns and 29th overall since 1999 when he takes the field Sunday.

“My expectations are high,” Haley said Thursday. “This guy has come in and gone in head first with no hesitation. He is all in. He works his butt off off the field. He works his butt off on the field. He is a very good communicator, which is very critical at that position obviously. He has the ability to throw the ball and run the ball. He is very smart, which helps us in the run game. He has to make a lot of decisions there, getting us out of good runs.

“My expectations are high. I think that my hope is we have not seen the best of Tyrod Taylor.”

Gordon, who led the NFL in receiving yardage in 2013, is expected to quickly become one of Taylor’s favorite targets this season, but he will not start against the Steelers and the size of his workload Sunday is unclear.

“I hope he is involved a lot. He obviously is a big-time talent,” Haley said. “As I told him, ‘We have been waiting on you.’ It is time. He worked very hard when he was not here. He is very clear from a mental standpoint. He has worked hard to get himself physically ready to go. He definitely can help us. This is one of those five-star matchups. Our best players have to play better than their best players for us to have a chance to come out on top, and he is one of our best players.”

Shake it off – Denzel Ward let defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ harsh criticism roll off his back. Williams ripped Ward after the rookie corner from Ohio State was injured while tackling Eagles tight end Zach Ertz in the first quarter of the third preseason game on Aug. 23.

“That really didn’t faze me,” Ward said. “That’s who he is. That’s the type of person he is. Growing up my parents always told me people aren’t always going to talk nice to you or be your friend, so I really don’t let that stuff faze me.”

Williams called Ward’s tackle “stupid tackling” and criticized Ward for missing practice time due to various nagging injuries.

“He said the same thing to me he said to the media,” Ward said.

Ward doesn’t mind Williams’ direct, yet sometimes abrasive personality.

“I can take any coaching style,” Ward said. “Screaming at me really doesn’t faze me. I just try to look to see what the main point is of what they’re trying to say.”

Weather-proof – Sunday’s opener is expected to be a wet one with heavy rain in the forecast, but head coach Hue Jackson isn’t worried about Mother Nature affecting their game plan.

“We feel like we are a weather-proof offense,” Jackson said. “Whether it is rain, sun, mud or whatever, you have to be able to line up and play. I think Todd understands that. I think that our offensive players understand that. We are going to do what we do. Are there certain situations where you have to be aware of in weather? Yes. For the most part, we feel like our offense is weather-proof.”

Bless’m – Browns receiver Jarvis Landry summed up the Le’Veon Bell situation in Pittsburgh succinctly when asked about it Thursday.

“Just pay the man, man” Landry said. “That’s all I gotta say about that. Honestly, I’m focused on us and I’ll leave it at that.”

Landry cashed in the offseason following a trade from Miami that saw him get a 5-year, $75 million extension from the Browns.

Odds are – With the NFL season officially kicking off Thursday night, here are the final Browns related odds according to Bovada: To win Super Bowl LIII: 75/1, to win the AFC: 28/1 and to win AFC North: 10/1. The win total over/under remains at 5.5.

The line for the Browns to make the playoffs has moved significantly since it opened from +650 (13/2) to +350 (1/5) and not making the playoffs from -1200 (1/12) to -500 (1/5).

Myles Garrett is listed at 14/1 odds to win defensive player of the year, Nick Chubb 25/1 and Antonio Callaway 100/1 to win offensive rookie of the year while Denzel Ward is 14/1 to win defensive rookie of the year.

Hue Jackson is 50/1 to win coach of the year.

Gaines progress – Cornerback E.J. Gaines participated in individual drills for the first time in nearly 3 weeks Thursday, but it’s not likely that he’ll be available Sunday.

“He did some individual today. He probably still will not make it this week, but obviously, it was good to have him back out there,” Jackson said. “We will see where he is after today’s practice, but I do not feel as good about that one as I do the others.”

Injury report – Did not practice: LB James Burgess (concussion).

Limited: CB E.J. Gaines (knee), TE Seth DeValve (quad), WR Josh Gordon (hamstring), LT Desmond Harrison (knee).

Full: LB Christian Kirksey (shoulder), DT Trevon Coley (ankle), LB Genard Avery (glute), S Damarious Randall (knee).