Around the NFL  

 

Haley: This is a make-or-break year for Corey Coleman

Print

Laquon Treadwell isn't the only receiver from his draft class feeling the heat this offseason.

One day after new teammate Jarvis Landry said Cleveland could have an "unstoppable" receiving corps, Browns wideout Corey Coleman is under pressure imposed by his offensive coordinator.

Todd Haley is also new to the Browns, but isn't new to success at the position, hopping the Ohio-Pennsylvania border via Interstate 76 with more than a half-decade of experience gained in Pittsburgh. He goes from coaching Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster and (the since traded) Martavis Bryant to calling plays for Landry, Coleman and Josh Gordon. And he knows Coleman's time is running out unless things change.

"He's been out here working," Haley said when asked to assess Coleman's play, via The Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot. "I've seen him every day. He understands this is a big, big year in his career. Year three is usually the make-or-break year of what kind of you're going to be. I've made that clear to him. He understands it, and he's working hard accordingly to try to be the best that he can be."

Since Coleman arrived in 2016 via Baylor, Cleveland has been considered a place where expectations eroded to exceptionally low levels. Sure, he was a first-round pick, but that first-rounder isn't going to turn around a franchise by himself, so there wasn't as much pressure. He also wasn't getting any favors from the quarterback situation.

That has all changed in the John Dorsey era. The general manager revamped nearly every position on the roster, bringing in talent around Coleman, so much that he's considered Cleveland's No. 3 receiver and could seriously be challenged for even that spot by rookie Antonio Callaway. Much like how Treadwell descended into irrelevance in Minnesota with the rise of Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, Coleman could quickly be overtaken.

It's not that he hasn't shined in small spaces of time. The receiver's best game of his career came in 2016 against Baltimore, when he caught five passes for 104 yards and a career-high two touchdowns. For his career, he's caught 56 passes for 718 yards and five touchdowns in 19 games played.

Fittingly, Coleman suffered a broken hand in that game against the Ravens, missing the next six contests. The closest he's come since then was a five-catch, 62-yard, one-touchdown game against Green Bay in 2017, well after he missed nine weeks due to another broken hand. And above all, his most memorable play has been one for ultimate failure: A dropped pass on fourth down late in Cleveland's final game of the season, which ended their final drive and hopes of completing a comeback, capping their 0-16 season. When folks think of the Browns' 2017 season, a wide-open Coleman dropping a seemingly guaranteed first-down reception in frigid Pittsburgh flashes across their minds.

This tale doesn't have to have an unhappy ending, though. With Tyrod Taylor taking the reigns, Landry arriving and Gordon returning for his first (expected) full season in this half of the decade, as well as numerous additional offensive improvements, Coleman has never been in a better situation than he is now. What he'll do with it -- and how his career will ultimately pan out -- is up to him.

"He's just got to keep working at it and that's the biggest thing that he does," said new receivers coach Adam Henry. "He comes in early, he works hard, he's taking notes. He's doing the little things, learning the route techniques, things of that nature, just doing the things that he does well and expound on that and tweaking some things. But mentally just being in there. He's champing at the bit. He wants more, so it's just progression each and every day."

Print

Fan Discussion