Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Patriots' eyes on familiar foe Bess this week


From Josh Gordon to Brandon Weeden, much of the Cleveland Browns' offense is only familiar to Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots through film.

Davone Bess is not one of those players.

The 28-year-old wideout has faced New England nine times in his career with the Miami Dolphins, with solid numbers to show for it. Solid enough that he'll be on Belichick's radar this weekend, particularly when he's playing out of the slot.

"We know Bess does a good job for them too," Belichick said Tuesday, via "He's kind of a go-to guy for them on third-down, critical situations. He's been productive.

"He's a hard guy to handle there in the slot, as we know from his days there in Miami."

In those nine games, Bess tallied 539 yards on 42 receptions. In fact, of his 14 career touchdowns, four of them have come against the Patriots -- more than any other team he's faced.

Bess has been the No. 2 option for Cleveland's rotating quarterback corps, hauling in the second-most receptions among the team's wideouts (40) for 343 yards and two touchdowns. He's struggled with consistency since heading north though, currently tops in the league in dropped passes (12), according to ProFootballFocus.

If he takes on the slot role against New England Sunday, he'll likely match up against Kyle Arrington, who's been fairly stout this season in the role but was burned a couple times in perimeter coverage last weekend.

Belichick also mentioned Bess's contributions on special teams, saying the Pats has "always had trouble with him" in the return game. Bess has tallied nearly 100 punt return yards against New England in his career, though he's been passed over mainly for sophomore Travis Benjamin this season, who's averaged nearly 12 yards a return on punts and has been explosive in his opportunities on kickoffs.

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