The Cleveland Browns carried the baggage of being a team “in need of wide receivers” through the first half of the 2018 season.
But once the calendar turned to November, the group of Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Antonio Callaway and Breshad Perriman took their game to another level.
According to Pro Football Focus, the wide receivers went from one of the weakest units in the league to one of the best over the course of the season’s final seven games:
Through the first nine weeks, the Browns as a team never had a receiving grade higher than 66.3, but the final seven weeks produced five games with a receiving grade of 70.0 or more.
After stumbling out of the gate for a measly 6.03 yards per reception (30th) in the first nine games, the unit broke out for 8.72 yards per reception (first) in its final seven games.
The site praised Landry in particular for closing out the season on a high note:
Landry in particular turned it on, as the Browns pushed for a chance to play in the postseason. After seeing a ridiculous 92 targets (second among wide receivers) through nine weeks that resulted in just 55 completions and 24 first downs, Landry chose quality over quantity in the second half of the season. He hauled in 26 receptions from 45 targets after Week 9 — 20 of which went for first downs, and he silently became a menace on deep balls alongside his aforementioned teammates.
General manager John Dorsey seems interested in keeping the gang together - he is talking with representatives for both Perriman and Higgins about new contracts before they hit free agency in March - and at least a couple of mock drafts have the Browns selecting a wide receiver, most notably Mississippi’s D.K. Metcalf.
But given the way the wide receivers on the roster closed out the season, the position may not need as much attention as some believe.