BEREA - It appears that rookie receiver Josh Gordon is ready for Sunday's game against the New York Giants.
According to offensive coordinator Brad Childress, Gordon took a big step forward in his development during Wednesday's practice. That's important when considering that Gordon will likely play more minutes than in any of the previous four games.
"I thought he had his best practice as a professional yesterday," Childress said. "I didn't see any hesitation. I didn't see him thinking about anything. I saw him playing fast and catching the football. Just doing all the things you expect to see from a professional receiver."
The Browns are expected to be thin at receiver. Mohamed Massaquoi missed last week's game and probably won't play Sunday against the New York Giants because of a hamstring injury. Travis Benjamin hasn't practiced due to a hamstring injury. Joshua Cribbs suffered a concussion eight days ago against the Baltimore Ravens, but he's been able to practice.
"Many hands make light work," Childress said. "We'd love to have all the tools available to us. You prepare with the guys that are practicing today and tomorrow and the next day. At the end you have a plan. I know the game is going to be played with the guys that we have."
WELCOME BACK: Rookie linebacker James-Michael Johnson is practicing for the first time since suffering a rib injury in the final preseason game. Johnson could be available for special teams duty and possibly a limited role on defense.
"It's really good to get somebody back," defensive coordinator Dick Jauron said. "We were counting on him to contribute throughout the whole year. He's moving around well. If he has soreness, it's very minimal. He'll have to work his way back in. It will be a lot of special teams and then we'll see what happens defensively as we move along."
READY FOR DUTY: Second-year safety Eric Hagg wasn't active in the last two games, but that should change because of an injury to safety T.J. Ward (broken thumb). Hagg admittedly struggled against the Eagles and Bengals at the start of the season.
"The first week I didn't think I did too hot," Hagg said. "The second week I gave up some big plays. Of course, as this is my job I can't let that happen. Overall, I have to produce and play hard."
Hagg was placed ahead of Usama Young on the depth chart at the start of training camp. He started all four preseason games, but he lost his starting role after giving up a touchdown against the Bengals.
POSSIBLE ROSTER MOVES: The injuries to Massaquoi and Benjamin could mean a move to the active roster from the practice squad for rookie receiver Josh Cooper. Cooper played with quarterback Brandon Weeden at Oklahoma State last season.
"Anything is possible," Shurmur said. "I would say that he's practiced well."
INJURY REPORT: Ward was limited after missing Wednesday's practice. Missing the session were Benjamin, safety Tashaun Gipson (knee), Massaquoi and tight end Alex Smith (concussion). Safety Ray Ventrone (hand/calf) and Johnson were limited. Young (knee), Cribbs (head) and defensive end Frostee Rucker (shoulder) were full participants.