Scouting the Browns: Another tight end test

Scouting the Browns: Another tight end test
September 11, 2013, 10:00 pm
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'We're not gonna overreact, but we are gonna react'

The Ravens had a lot of trouble handling Denver tight end Julius Thomas, and now they can expect a similar challenge from Cleveland' s Jordan Cameron.

Thomas had five catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns against the Ravens, finding soft spots in the middle of the Ravens defense.  And you can bet new Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner has watched that film.

Cameron (6-5, 254), a fourth-round draft pick out of USC in 2011, set career highs with nine catches for 108 yards in the Browns' season-opening, 23-10 loss to Miami. He also scored the Browns' only touchdown on a 7-yard catch.

" He’s really looked good," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said on Wednesday. "He’s emerging as a real threat, and I would expect based on how the tight end played against us last week, that’s going to be something that they think they can attack and use.”

Like Thomas, Cameron is an athletic target with a basketball background; he spent his first year in college as a redshirt basketball player at BYU, later transferring to Ventura (Calif.) Junior College and then USC. He briefly played as a walk-on basketball player at USC.

And like Thomas, who had one career catch before facing the Ravens last week, Cameron appears poised for a breakthrough season. Cameron started six games last year and had 20 catches for 226 yards and one touchdown. He had nearly half as many catches and receiving yards in Week 1 alone this season.

With Browns receiver Josh Gordon suspended for the first two games for a violation of the league's substance-abuse policy, Cameron figures to be one of quarterback Brandon Weeden's top passing targets again.

Linebackers such as Daryl Smith and Josh Bynes, as well as rookie Arthur Brown, could be called on to account for Cameron in pass coverage. Ditto for safeties James Ihedigbo and Michael Huff, who had their hands full at Denver.

"He can get open," Ihedigbo said. "He's a downfield threat. He has great hands, runs great routes. He's a big-time target for the quarterback, so our job is to kind of limit that."

The key, Ihedigbo said, is "to be physical. ... Our mentality this week to be the more physical team."


OTHER BROWNS NOTES: Linebacker Barkevious Mingo, the Browns'  first-round draft pick this year (No.6  overall) has returned to practice this week and has been cleared to play against the Ravens. Mingo has been out with a bruised lung sustained in a preseason game against Detroit. If Mingo plays, it is likely to be as a situational pass rusher. ... The Browns offense was marred by dropped passes last season, and dropped four passes against Miami. Two of those bounced off a receiver's hands and were intercepted. ... Former Raven Bobby Rainey had four kick returns for a 25.8-yard average last week and is expected to have that job against the Ravens this week.