The Browns' wide receiver situation needs a lot of work, although not
necessarily the way you might think. I believe the current group has enough
ability to be productive NFL receivers. There definitely is talent on the
roster, but these guys need to spend the off-season in Cleveland
themselves physically stronger which, in turn, will make them mentally
Long and arduous days in the weight room are necessary for football players
to be successful, even at the wide receiver position. Speed at the wide receiver
position is important, but stamina, which comes from strengthening your upper
and lower body, is equally important.
By improving their physical strength, they will be able to perform at the top
of their game, be it the fast quarter of the first game of the season, or the
fourth quarter or overtime in Week 15 or 16.
When your body becomes stronger, you don't lose your concentration due to
fatigue. You don't allow balls to be stripped away from you. And you don't allow
defensive backs to tackle you in the open field. How many times have we seen
these things happening this year?
As much as football is a physical game, the mental part of it is what separates the great players from the
average ones. It is hard
to be mentally tough if your stamina is not there, especially late in the game
when you need to be focused. It is like any job, the more tired you are, the
harder it is to do your job effectively.
All players who reach this level are very comparable in terms of physical
talent. The difference comes from those athletes who fine-tune them selves to make themselves better.
That happens by going that extra mile, by running those extra 10 sprints when
you are alone in the off-season. It comes when you refuse to allow yourself to
take the easy way out when there aren't 70,000 people in the stands watching
your every move. It starts the fast day after the end of the season, not in July
when training camp is in swing.
The off-season is not all about wind sprints and weight training. It is also
about film study. You become a better player by watching guys like Jerry Rice
and Cris Carter, veterans who have been around the NFL for many years. Those are
the guys whose films you should be watching. You analyze them and catch the
small things they do which, in turn, make your game better. Right now, Kevin
Johnson is the veteran receiver on this team, even though he is just finishing his
third year in the league. Kevin has shown a lot of strength in terms of
catching and securing the ball while taking a lot of hits. He's playing like a
This team would be in a world of trouble without him, but he needs a better
supporting cast. The wide receivers around him have enough talent, but this
off-season will prove who is really ready to step up and make the commitment to
be a better football player by staying around Cleveland in the off-season and
working hard in the weight and film rooms.
Come next summer, we'll know just how hard people like Quincy Morgan and
JaJuan Dawson have done these things. I like both of those players.
Morgan needs to catch the ball and do a better job of securing it because
he's had his problems. I'm not sure if it's because he's been thrown into a key
role due to injuries suffered by other players, but I think his being in
critical situations early on his career has affected him. Maybe his confidence
has dropped a bit. I do know he has made some bad mistakes in big games and that's something you simply cannot do in the NFL.
As for Dawson, he's a guy I've always liked. Why he's not playing more is
something 1 cannot answer All I know is that in the limited situations in which
I've seen him, he's proven himself capable of making big plays.
Obviously, someone in the organization wants Morgan to be in the game, but
right now the rookie out of Kansas State is not holding up his end of the
I hate to point fingers in any one direction, but right now the receiving
corps is allowing games to be decided in the wrong manner, in the replay booth. They are a main reason this team has ended
up on the wrong end of the scoreboard so many times this year They need to make
more big catches. They need to break more tackles. They need to do the things
which prevent problems rather than cause them. They need to hit the weight room
to make themselves stronger physically and mentally. And finally, they need to
be a positive rather than a negative. Right now, aside from KJ, they are not
getting it done.
Reggie Langhorne takes a look at the issues with the Browns receiving corps, with an emphasis on the importance of off-season conditioning programs.