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Benjamin is the Epitome of Why You Invest Time in a Player.


Flugel

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Folks,

We have a pretty good story unfolding here. Travis Benjamin was once just a Special Teams return guy we could occasionally put on the field for a deep post, flag or straight ahead route. Last year, he returned from a brutal knee injury and temporarily lost the mental part of his return game. The reason I can't say he lost the physical part is because of what transpired with his massive improvement as a WR. He would run precise routes underneath and run some pretty damn good out-routes off a sharp cut.

 

We've had plenty of discussions about who makes the active roster at WR, which got tougher with every week new guys like Lenz, Wynn and Jennings raised eyebrows. Not that we're complaining about that. Anyway, I think Benjamin's actions without any words - have shown us he's definitely a keeper. Today, he's 2 years post surgery and the elite return game skills are back to coincide with his big improvement as a WR. McCown actually had a sloppy slant pass that Benjamin made a nice adjustment to.

 

Mike Pettine's staff has done an outstanding job of tapping Benjamin's upside. He's got one of the best acceleration gears in the league as we've seen. If our running game can promote the ideal playaction it projects, that speed is either going to prevent Safeties from loading the box or make them pay for doing so. Before he showed me this progress, he could beat people deep with just straight ahead speed. I've only seen 1 deep route from him this preseason and it drew a flag explaining how the guy stayed with him.

 

When we're looking at who stays and who sprays, I like to see examples of guys that have committed themselves to progress (and becoming exactly what we need). While Benjamin won't be our #1 or #2 or maybe even #3 - as we saw vrs TN last year - he's a very important situational rotation guy that makes the most of his pt. It's not difficult to remember his clutch catches when our margin of error is down to zero late in a rally to overcome a deficit. Even in the preseason, this guy continues to get open and consistently catch the ball. He even catches the ball the rare times he doesn't get open. I'd be stunned if Mike Pettine thinks he needs to cut this type of work ethic and reliability. Any thoughts?

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Folks,

We have a pretty good story unfolding here. Travis Benjamin was once just a Special Teams return guy we could occasionally put on the field for a deep post, flag or straight ahead route. Last year, he returned from a brutal knee injury and temporarily lost the mental part of his return game. The reason I can't say he lost the physical part is because of what transpired with his massive improvement as a WR. He would run precise routes underneath and run some pretty damn good out-routes off a sharp cut.

 

We've had plenty of discussions about who makes the active roster at WR, which got tougher with every week new guys like Lenz, Wynn and Jennings raised eyebrows. Not that we're complaining about that. Anyway, I think Benjamin's actions without any words - have shown us he's definitely a keeper. Today, he's 2 years post surgery and the elite return game skills are back to coincide with his big improvement as a WR. McCown actually had a sloppy slant pass that Benjamin made a nice adjustment to.

 

Mike Pettine's staff has done an outstanding job of tapping Benjamin's upside. He's got one of the best acceleration gears in the league as we've seen. If our running game can promote the ideal playaction it projects, that speed is either going to prevent Safeties from loading the box or make them pay for doing so. Before he showed me this progress, he could beat people deep with just straight ahead speed. I've only seen 1 deep route from him this preseason and it drew a flag explaining how the guy stayed with him.

 

When we're looking at who stays and who sprays, I like to see examples of guys that have committed themselves to progress (and becoming exactly what we need). While Benjamin won't be our #1 or #2 or maybe even #3 - as we saw vrs TN last year - he's a very important situational rotation guy that makes the most of his pt. It's not difficult to remember his clutch catches when our margin of error is down to zero late in a rally to overcome a deficit. Even in the preseason, this guy continues to get open and consistently catch the ball. He even catches the ball the rare times he doesn't get open. I'd be stunned if Mike Pettine thinks he needs to cut this type of work ethic and reliability. Any thoughts?

 

Yep, guys were screaming all offseason how Benji would be gone. Didn't matter the board or the source, this was conventional wisdom. Those that saw a guy who was going to be two seasons removed from his ACL who actually played well last year painted a different picture.

 

The Browns may list guys on the depth chart a certain way, but the rotations mean that Benji is kind of a hybrid starter along with Gabby. Hartline is the money guy on every play, but Bowe may see his PT diminished as guys like Benji and Gabby keep making plays and acting like they want to be here.

 

It is also great that we have the old weapon back at returning punts. That can win a couple of games a year. His return last night was a thing of beauty and NO FAGS I mean FLAGS.

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Yup...

 

When we drafted Benji I called him a track guy in a football costume. If I was right then (and that's not a given) I was in the company of Shurmur, who seemingly only sent Benji deep... seldom to good effect.

 

Two-years ago Chud + Norv showed us, or me anyway, a glimpse of the promise that there was more player there. Suddenly his speed as a threat was producing wide open curls, square ins and the occasional out. Then came the knee...

 

Last year the route tree was full, but the player wasn't the same.

 

This year all may have come together. We'll see. Have to get the target percentage well to the plus side of 50, but I like the odds.

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Interesting to note - Darius Jennings is 5'-10", like Benjamin, and

has been listed about 5 lbs lighter, and can also run a 4.37

 

Jennings to the practice squad. He's impressed the Browns, and is a

Benjamin type player to develop. He also kicks ass for his size - has

no fear.

 

I just hope he doesn't get nabbed off of it

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Yup...

 

When we drafted Benji I called him a track guy in a football costume. If I was right then (and that's not a given) I was in the company of Shurmur, who seemingly only sent Benji deep... seldom to good effect.

 

Two-years ago Chud + Norv showed us, or me anyway, a glimpse of the promise that there was more player there. Suddenly his speed as a threat was producing wide open curls, square ins and the occasional out. Then came the knee...

 

Last year the route tree was full, but the player wasn't the same.

 

This year all may have come together. We'll see. Have to get the target percentage well to the plus side of 50, but I like the odds.

 

Well said. Thanks for reminding me about Turner deserving some credit for Benjamin's progress. Benjamin always portrayed an impressive ypc in spite of some of the QBing we've had during 3 consecutive years of changing OCs. 2013 didn't give us many opportunities (only 13 targets) to see Benjamin's improvements. That said, his ypc spiked at 21.0 and his YAC elevated to a career best 12.2 that year Turner was the OC. He carried the momentum of that into some of the catches and routes he ran in clutch situations in 2014. Here's a look at his numbers while I have very few memories of disappointing drops from him in 2014 and throughout this preseason:

 

Year Team G Rec Tgt Yds Y/G Avg Long YAC TD

2012 Cleve 14 18 37 298 21.3 16.6 69 3.7 2

2013 Cleve 08 05 13 105 13.1 21.0 39 12.2 0

2014 Cleve 16 18 46 314 19.6 17.4 43 2.9 3

Totals 38 41 96 717 18.9 17.5 69 4.4 5

 

When 3 of Benjamin's receptions are in the end zone in 2014, it's going negatively impact his YAC as 3 zeros averaged in as well as the out route he caught past the first down marker vrs TN and got knocked out of bounds simultaneously as another 0 for the yac. The other times he was experienced enough to sit down in a vacated zone - he usually didn't get much yac on those either for whatever that's all worth inside the numbers.

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Benjamin looked great last night. To me, his best play of the night was catching that ball over the middle that appeared to be tipped. The kid has great concentration & doesn't hear footsteps.

 

Mike

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