“Miscommunication” to blame for Josh Gordon starting against Steelers

Hue Jackson doesn’t want to dwell on mistake

Daryl Ruiter
September 10, 2018 - 5:36 pm
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) catches a touchdown as Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton (20) defends during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – For 3 weeks Hue Jackson talked about how Josh Gordon would not start Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Then Gordon took the field for the first offensive snap of the afternoon in the 21-21 tie Sunday afternoon at FirstEnergy Stadium.

“Just miscommunication,” Jackson said Monday. “Move on from it. It is what it is. We worked through it. It’s done with.”

Gordon didn’t report to the Browns until Aug. 18 after writing July 23 he would take a leave of absence from the team to deal with his mental health and well-being. The NFL and team cleared Gordon on Aug. 25 to return to “all activities” including games but a hamstring injury during conditioning with the team delayed it.

Jackson brushed off a question about it following the game Sunday to which he blamed on the personnel for the play that was called.

“As I said [Sunday] night and I do not want to keep elaborating on it – but the personnel,” Jackson reiterated Monday. “Obviously as you guys seen, Josh was not in quite a few plays after that. The personnel we were using, obviously offered him to be in the game. We could have switched that up. That is all. That is all it was.” 

Gordon came off the field for the second play and he didn’t return until the third offensive series.

Jackson was asked Monday to clarify how Gordon starting could happen if he didn’t want him to.

“The game’s over with now, so to talk about it,” Jackson said, “what’s it going to do? Nothing, so I’ve dealt with it. We move on.”

Offensive coordinator Todd Haley oversees calling plays and the personnel that accompanies them, so didn’t Haley know Gordon shouldn’t have been on the field?

“That game’s over with,” Jackson said. “I think to keep talking about that does nothing, nobody any good.

“He played the first play, didn’t play for however many plays after that, there was a mistake in that and we’ve moved on from it. That’s it.”

Last week Jackson said that Gordon would be “on a pitch count” yet Gordon ended up playing 69 snaps – or 78 percent of offensive plays.

“Yeah, I wasn’t surprised by that,” Jackson said.

Gordon, who was targeted 3 times, caught the tying touchdown – a 17-yard throw from Tyrod Taylor – with 1:58 remaining in regulation. He was also flagged for unnecessary roughness and did not get the benefit of the call on a deep ball from Taylor in the end zone that Steelers cornerback Joe Haden broke up but appeared to interfere on. The other misfire to Gordon was the result of an underthrown deep ball from Taylor.

“Got to throw it further,” Jacksn said. “Got to throw it out there. Got to throw it out there further. Got to give him a chance to get the ball.”

While a minor detail that in the grand scheme of things doesn’t amount to much, it’s a bad look for a head coach, who has reminded everyone that he’s in charge, trying to reshape his image coming off a 1-31 start in his first 2 seasons in Cleveland.