Dawson had been noticeably frustrated by his slide down the depth chart in recent weeks. After opening training camp as the No. 3 receiver, he has since dipped below Dennis Northcutt and rookie Andre Davis. With Andre King's value as a special teams player, that left Dawson to compete with Jackson, the rookie free-agent surprise of camp, for what is believed to be the last receiver spot.
Dawson has grumbled quietly that the Browns place too much emphasis on speed. While Dawson may not have the blazing speed of Northcutt, Davis and Jackson, he has shown the ability to consistently get open and make plays, a he did in a four catch, 87-yard night against the Lions.
Butch Davis hinted that Dawson helped himself with his play Saturday night.
"You make plays, you help yourself," said Davis. "I talk to these players on a regular basis and I tell them there are four or five things I really care about. I care about guys who are competitors, who give great effort, don't make mental mistakes, when they are called on they make a play. When you do those kinds of things you probably have a great chance of making the team. If you pout around, you make mental mistakes, you run the wrong routes and miss assignments, you probably don't make the team."
According to a source close to the organization, Dawson may still end up being the odd man out. The Browns like Jackson's size (6-foot-3) and speed, and his ability to do more than just catch the ball. In the last week, the Browns have had Jackson take several reps throwing the ball with the quarterbacks. The former college quarterback has demonstrated an extremely strong arm in individual drills, and has been effective throwing the ball on the reverse during team drills.