Browns beat writer Pat McManamon on the struggles of Josh Gordon:
I was convinced Gordon would come off his suspension eager and determined to prove to his teammates and fans that he had dedicated himself to coming back ready to contribute. It looked that way against Atlanta, but it didn’t in the past six quarters against Buffalo and Indianapolis.
Some could put this on the quarterback. I don’t. Gordon has seemed confused and lackadaisical. By the coach’s admission, Gordon has not gone all-out on some balls. He missed some key catches that great receivers make. The fact that it didn’t happen in the first three games is more than disappointing. His pride and, perhaps, the presence of Johnny Manziel are the only intangibles to grab onto to trust he improves.
Gordon has a tough matchup with the Bengals, who are #2 in WR aFPA, but both Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant went over the 100-yard mark against Cincinnati last week. It's tough to bench Gordon given his considerable talent, but the facts remain -- he hasn't looked very good in the last two games and he's undergoing a change at quarterback. Manziel may very well turn out to be a good thing for Gordon, but there's no guarantee that he's going to be any better at delivering the ball than Brian Hoyer. (In fairness, it would be tough for Manziel to play worse than Hoyer has the past few games.)