Cleveland Browns: Could Rashard Higgins return spark offense?

Cleveland Browns, NFL Free Agency (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns, NFL Free Agency (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Rashard Higgins appears ready to return for the Cleveland Browns in Week 6, which could spark the offense that needs something to ignite it.

The Cleveland Browns made a huge addition at wide receiver this offseason. Trading for Odell Beckham Jr. gave quarterback Baker Mayfield an impressive host of weapons, including Jarvis Landry, David Njoku and Nick Chubb. However, the secret weapon of the group may well have been Rashard Higgins.

Unfortunately, Higgins has not been able to get on the field much in the 2019 season. The fourth-year wide receiver was injured in Week 1 against the Titans after hauling in two receptions for 46 yards. He’s been out of action due to a knee ailment since but is now healthy and ready to return to action as the Browns prepare to play Seattle in Week 6.

In Higgins’ absence, Mayfield and the Browns offense have sputtered. That’s not to say that Higgins not being on the field is the root cause. The offensive line has been bad, Mayfield has regressed and Beckham has underperformed. Having said that, Higgins could very well help as he gets back on the field.

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Last season, the Colorado State product became a favorite target of Mayfield. He notched a career-high 39 receptions for 572 yards and four touchdowns. It was clear in the 2018 campaign that the then-rookie quarterback had his highest level of comfort when targeting Higgins.

That’s incredibly important considering what Mayfield has looked like so far this season. There has been nothing comfortable about it. He’s holding onto the ball too long, hearing footsteps and rolling out when there isn’t pressure and making downright poor decisions. Anything that’s going to make him feel at ease is much-needed right now.

Higgins can be that for Mayfield. While the pass-catcher is competing with Antonio Callaway for the No. 3 wide receiver role in the Browns offense, Higgins has a leg up because of his natural rapport with the quarterback. It would not be shocking to see him take control of that spot as soon as he gets on the field.

Getting Mayfield comfortable and out of the bad habits that he’s currently forming is critical to Cleveland turning things around in the 2019 season. Higgins showed last year that he’s the type of player capable of doing that for his quarterback.

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Though he’s not the caliber of player that Beckham and Landry are, Higgins may be the spark that the Browns need. Not only can he provide another reliable weapon but he could be the stabilizing force for Mayfield that the quarterback desperately needs right now. If that is indeed the case, Cleveland’s saving grace may be getting back on the field in Week 6.