The Cleveland Browns wide receiver corps has been the subject of almost as much attention as their huge quarterback and running back competitions here in training camp, but the patched-up, Josh Gordon-less (though Gordon is participating in camp and did roast rookie CB Justin Gilbert) unit received some nice praise from head coach Mike Pettine. Most of that praise went towards veteran wideout Miles Austin, who could make a big impact if he can stay healthy.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot, Pettine stated that the Browns wide receivers are a “solid group from top to bottom” (Cabot’s words), and he said Austin, “really showed up today. Made some nice catches.”
Austin appeared in 11 games last season, missing five due to a nagging hamstring injury that wouldn’t heal and was much more severe than once thought. When he did return, he looked woefully slow and ineffective, and the Dallas Cowboys simply could not trust their former No. 1 wideout anymore. Once a great possession receiver, Austin did still haul-in 66 passes in 2012, but he couldn’t stay on the field last year and was released after his salary clearly outweighed his production and future prospects.
Set to make just $1.7 million this upcoming season, the 30-year-old Monmouth product still has the ability to make a big impact in this league if he can stay healthy. Pettine stated a few days ago that the Browns have no concerns with his health going forward, and it was great to hear that he played at a high level at camp today. If he can keep it up and stay healthy, then he, Jordan Cameron, and Andrew Hawkins can form a quality trio for either Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel, who also earned praised for his work today.