"I think you would think that I might get a whole lot more outside reps now just because Maclin is gone, but I already had talked to coaches, and they were already going to implement me more on the outside as opposed to just the inside regardless," Matthews said. "I don't think that's a crazy, huge deal."
HC Chip Kelly said last week that he can envision Matthews playing "a lot of different spots." Kelly kept Matthews in the slot because they wanted him to learn only one position as a rookie. Now that Matthews is more comfortable entering his second season, that role can expand.
If Matthews moves outside, he'll surely see his snaps played increase from his rookie season (65%) and he should be able to improve on his #25 finish in PPR formats. The team signed Miles Austin, who played mostly in the slot while with the Cowboys. Josh Huff and Zach Ertz could also see snaps in the slot.
Austin finished with 47 catches for 568 yards and two touchdowns, but missed four games due to a kidney injury. Over a full season his stats extrapolate to 63-757-2.7, which equate to fringe WR4-type numbers in PPR formats. This is certainly a system upgrade in Philadelphia. It's not clear what Austin's role will be, but he has plenty of experience playing in the slot from his days in Dallas, so the Eagles could elect to move Jordan Matthews outside. Austin figures to be fantasy relevant, though his days as a starter are probably over.
Austin was hurt in Sunday's loss to Buffalo. Browns coach Mike Pettine said Austin remains in the Erie County Medical Center.
Monday, December 1, 2014, 8:14pm
Shortly after posting a game-high seven receptions for 86 yards in Buffalo, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Miles Austin notified team officials he was feeling discomfort in his abdomen. After further evaluation, it was determined Austin had sustained an injury to his kidney.
“Miles is a concern,” Pettine said during his press conference on Monday.
Austin spent the night at Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo and will remain there Monday evening for precautionary reasons. Coach Mike Pettine said it wasn’t clear which play Austin was injured on. In 12 games this season, the 30-year-old veteran has 47 catches, 568 yards and two touchdowns. His status is in some doubt heading into Week 14.
Sunday, November 30, 2014, 7:32pm
Wednesday, November 5, 2014, 6:08pm
Browns WR Andrew Hawkins (thigh, knee, questionable) took limited practice reps Wednesday. If Hawkins can’t play, Taylor Gabriel and Miles Austin would get a bump. The Browns are really hurting for healthy pass-catchers with Jordan Cameron out and Hawkins iffy.
Friday, September 5, 2014, 10:58am
Browns OC Kyle Shanahan said Taylor Gabriel would be the team’s third receiver, behind Andrew Hawkins and Miles Austin. He said Hawkins played only in the slot when he was in Cincinnati, but has been used inside and out since he joined the Browns in March. Gabriel is an undrafted rookie free agent.
Burleson also visited the Miami Dolphins during free agency and they could be a logical landing spot.
Miles Austin and Andrew Hawkins look to be the top WRs for the Browns. Burleson only recently came back after missing time in camp and was in a tough spot. With the loss of Josh Gordon and issues at QB with Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel, no Cleveland WR is looking like a solid play at this point.
Thursday, August 28, 2014, 1:07pm
Browns WRs Miles Austin, Andrew Hawkins, and Travis Benjamin are locks, while Nate Burleson is too valuable to release after Josh Gordon was suspended for the season by the NFL. Charles Johnson is attempting to hang onto his job under heavy pushes from undrafted rookies Taylor Gabriel and Willie Snead, with Marlon Moore a longshot.
Johnson has gotten a bit of hype as a potential sleeper with Josh Gordon out, but he's still fighting for a roster spot.
Per a league source, hearing officer Harold Henderson has upheld the one-year suspension.
It means that Gordon will be banished from the team and the league for a full calendar year. He’ll be eligible for reinstatement as of August 27, 2015, only days before the start of the 2015 regular season.
There were unsourced reports (from the Browns blog Dawg Pound Nation) that Gordon’s camp was planning to sue the NFL if his suspension was upheld, so we would wait for the dust to settle before dropping him. There is a big movement to cut Gordon at this point, but we don’t see the benefit of rushing to do so. We recommend playing the waiting game a while longer and see what Gordon’s camp does next (if anything). A potential injunction may allow Gordon to play in 2014. If he’s out, the entire Browns offense takes a hit, save for Jordan Cameron, who should see a ton of targets, and possibly Ben Tate, if the team elects to go run-heavy. Miles Austin and Andrew Hawkins likely see the bulk of the targets at wide receiver.
Monday, August 25, 2014, 6:57pm
Browns receiver Nate Burleson returned to practice Monday for the first time since straining a hamstring on Aug. 6, but coach Mike Pettine cautioned that the 12th-year pro isn't a lock to make the final roster Saturday.
"It does hurt your chances not being out there, but it's something where we'll consider his entire body of work,'' said Pettine.
Pettine first let on during a conference call on Saturday that the 33-year-old could be in trouble when asked about him and Miles Austin, who missed the entire offseason with a hamstring injury but has made it through camp healthy.
"It's a little more concerning with Nate just because he's missed so much time,'' Pettine said. "It's tough with guys you think are going to be out there and you're not getting quality reps with them, which as I've said a bunch of times, there's just no substitute for that work."
Browns receiver Josh Gordon is not a starter for tonight’s third preseason game.
That suggests that the Browns do not expect Gordon to be successful in his ongoing fight against a looming yearlong suspension for violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy. Although no official word has been handed down about Gordon’s discipline, if the Browns expected to have him on the field in Week One of the regular season, he’d probably be in the starting lineup for Week Three of the preseason.
This is Pro Football Talk connecting the dots, but the logic makes sense. If the Browns thought that there was a decent chance that Gordon could be successful, then they would likely have him in the starting lineup. This does not rule out the possibility of a reduction of his suspension but to this point there have been no known negotiations between Gordon's camp and the league.
WR Miles Austin has stood out in his first camp with the Browns. Austin is a perfectionist and a hard worker who arrived with the reputation of being a talented guy who has trouble keeping his hamstrings healthy. So far so good on the hamstrings, and very much so far so good on the field. He's a big target who could help greatly whether Gordon is suspended or not.
With or without Josh Gordon in the lineup, there is a starting job waiting for Austin if he can stay healthy. He is an intriguing late-round pick if his hamstring problems aren't an issue at the start of the season.
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 8:38am
Browns WR Nate Burleson, who's played with the likes of Randy Moss and Calvin Johnson, knows there are no superstars in the bunch without Gordon, but says that coach Mike Pettine's "receiver-by-committee" plan is sound. It features 12th-year pro Burleson; two-time Pro Bowler Miles Austin; Anthony Armstrong, who played for offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in Washington; and Andrew Hawkins, who's itching to break out of the shadows of A.J Green and Co. in Cincinnati, where he played last season.
"I think we've got some pieces to the puzzle that can be really powerful,'' said Burleson. "We've got some guys that can go up and get it. Miles is a beast, man. He looks like a linebacker and he's fast, he's strong, he snatches everything. You've got guys at one point were top five. Miles was, man! He's come out here these last couple of days and shown why he was so good here in Dallas, and he wants to prove that he can stay healthy and make plays."
Browns receivers are confident they'll be ok without Gordon if it comes to that. But from a fantasy perspective, owners are just going to have to wait and see. They aren't seeing a lot of action in typical drafts so these guys will likely end up as waiver wire targets. The QB situation could also play a role. Brian Hoyer looked pretty good in limited action last year and Johnny Manziel is a wild card. In terms of receivers, TE Jordan Cameron looks to have the most value at this point.
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