A weakness is only noticed if exploited, and that will be the goal of Josh Gordon and the Cleveland Browns on Sunday as they look to stretch the field and take advantage of the Jets inconsistent secondary.
A key matchup to look out for is the battle that will go on between Gordon and Antonio Cromartie. The veteran cornerback has looked better of late, which would do wonders to limiting the effectiveness of the Browns passing game.
"Coach still wants to run the ball on them," Gordon said. "But exploiting their secondary is something we're pretty good at doing, I believe, and at getting down the field and stretching the field on teams. I think that's exactly how we're going to try and convert most of our big plays and get down field."
Gordon just finished one of the most impressive five game stretches for a wide receiver, ever. The second year star out of Baylor caught 40 passes for 841 yards and six touchdowns during the five game stretch, which was 20 yards short of Calvin Johnson's record this year.
The height of Gordon's ascent can be contrasted with Cromartie's sinking play this season. Cromartie, 29, has been burned on countless occasions this season, becoming the target of quarterbacks who see him a step behind their wide receiver. His propensity to be out of position may be centered on a change in philosophy rather than an injury.
"I guess he's kind of hanging off a lot of players this year," Gordon said. "He's not really giving too much in the press, like he used to be."
That has been a major criticism of Cromartie during his Jets' tenure. Most analysts see his press coverage being his greatest advantage because of his size and physicality. Allowing the receivers to get an open release gives them the unimpeded momentum they need to beat Cromartie downfield, which could become problematic on Sunday against one of the fastest wide receivers in the NFL.
"It's a challenge just from the standpoint of the way they try to use him," Cromartie said. "They try to get him off the ball where guys can't get their hands on him or try to get him underneath routes where you can't really get your hands on him at all, too. It's a point of just understanding what they're trying to do, how they try to use him."
The dilemma lies within the dual threat of Gordon. He is not only one of the fastest wide receivers in the NFL but he is 6-foot-3, 225 pounds. That type of size will pose a quandary to Cromartie who will have to decide whether press coverage is worth the gamble.