August 1, 2014

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Browns WR Greg Little could be dropped from starting lineup

BEREA – Browns coach Pat Shurmur is contemplating replacing receiver Greg Little in the starting lineup.

Little dropped a third-down pass before halftime Sunday in a 24-14 loss to Buffalo. The play would’ve gone for a first down near midfield and extended the drive with the Browns trailing 14-7.

Little was among the league leaders in drops last year and turned a catch into an interception by having the ball go off his hands in the opener.

“We can’t play a guy who’s going to drop the football,” Shurmur said this afternoon. “But we have a young roster.”

The issues with Little go beyond the drops. He’s offended a lot of people with his after-catch antics the last two weeks.

After a touchdown catch in Cincinnati last week, he did an elaborate dance with the Browns down by seven in the fourth quarter. He then tweeted a picture after the game of his striking a pose like Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt. Fans ripped him on Twitter and he responded by saying he didn’t care what the fans thought.

Little caught two passes for 17 yards against the Bills. His first catch came in the third quarter and went for 5 yards and a first down. He celebrated with the same Bolt pose, which seemed like a message to the crowd.

Shurmur said he’s had discussions with Little about his celebrations, then was asked what’s the next step if Little isn’t listening.

“We’ll see,” Shurmur said, adding the coaching staff has worked extensively with Little.

“Greg works extremely hard, he’s extremely tough,” Shurmur said. “He needs to be more consistent catching the football.”

Benching Little, or moving him down the depth chart, comes with a couple of obstacles.

No. 1 receiver Mohamed Massaquoi injured a hamstring Sunday, left the game and Shurmur said he’s day-to-day. The Browns also have a short week – they play Thursday night in Baltimore — which makes changing the rotation more difficult without a full practice week.

Jordan Norwood, who’s been inactive the first three games, could see more action, along with Joshua Cribbs, whose only catch Sunday went for 24 yards.

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