After going 0-for-2 in passes during a Week 1 matchup versus the Philadelphia Eagles, Gary Barnidge might be looking for redemption as the Cleveland Browns take on the Baltimore Ravens.
That might be possible after Robert Griffin III’s long-term shoulder injury incidentally made room for backup Josh McCown to take over.
Last season, Barnidge broke out as one of the NFL’s best tight ends at the unexpected age of 30. Barnidge’s success was largely due to McCown feeding him the ball as the Browns had no other options outside of lead receiver Travis Benjamin.
Out of the seventy-nine passes for 1043 yards and nine touchdowns completed to Barnidge, McCown completed forty-six for 641 yards and six touchdowns, and with far more than 50 percent of his production coming from McCown, Barnidge’s production is likelier to get better than his 0-stat Week 1 game.
I understand that I lost credibility with a Zach Miller recommendation, but when the starting quarterback, Griffin, completes fewer than 50 percent of his twenty-six passes, the weapons will not improve. The starting wide receivers had problems as rookie Corey Coleman and Terrelle Pryor caught just five passes on 12 targets despite combining for 137 receiving yards, and it is not fair to judge one tight end badly with two targets.
Familiar faces seemed to be a theme for the Browns off-season and preseason as the hope was that Griffin would air long strikes to fellow former Baylor Bears, Coleman and Josh Gordon. But with Griffin’s injury, McCown will have to use his with Barnidge to the fullest as the Browns head to Baltimore to take on a Ravens team that allowed just 7 points from a slightly better Buffalo Bills offense featuring LeSean McCoy, Sammy Watkins, and Tyrod Taylor.