By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
Extra Points …
T-rich watch is on: One game in and the Browns already are trying to explain underusing Trent Richardson.
The running back ran for 26 yards on four carries within the first six plays of the game Sunday against Miami. At halftime, he had eight carries for 33 yards. In the third quarter, Richardson rushed five times for 14 yards. He didn’t see the ball in the fourth quarter.
After all that managing Richardson through training camp, keeping him out of practice and using him lightly in only two preseason games to introduce him to the new season in the best possible health, the second-year back carried all of 14 times for 47 yards in the opener, a 23-10 loss to Miami.
“I just don’t think they ever stopped the running game,” Richardson said Thursday. “I think we stopped ourselves. Just being behind, and all that. You just gotta keep fighting and know no matter what, we have to stick to our gameplan. I guess coach had another gameplan, and it went that way.”
Promises, promises: Offensive coordinator Norv Turner affirmed that there was a big emphasis on Richardson in the practice week.
“What happens is you get into the game and you get caught up in wanting to try to win the game,” he said.
The Browns were ahead at halftime, 7-6. In the second half, they fell behind, 13-7 and 20-10.
Turner and Richardson both liked what they saw early.
“I thought it was going to be a real good day,” Richardson said.
Turner said, “We executed 4-5 plays awfully well. They hit us with a couple run blitzes, which teams will do, and we didn’t execute as well. We got some things early. Had we gotten him, what I’d like to see, is over 20 carries, I think he would have gotten more production.”
Where’s T-rich?: Then there was the problem on third down. The Browns converted only 1 of 14 third downs. Richardson was seldom on the field on third down. In fact, he never touched the ball on any one of the “money” situations.
“It was kind of a shocker that I wasn’t playing as much as I thought on third down,” Richardson said.
Turner indicated that Richardson’s missed time in camp – which was sold at the time as a precaution to keep him fresh and healthy – left him unprepared or unready to execute everything he needs to do on third downs.
“A lot of it is where we’re at as a group,” Turner said. “We want Trent on the field. There’s some things he’s ready to handle in that third down stuff and our nickel package and some things (Chris Ogbonnaya’s) going to handle that stuff for a while. Trent missed some time obviously in camp and there’s some things we want to use him in there and we’re going to use him when we can.”
Richardson constantly interjects that he would do anything for a win. But he also wants the ball in his hands more.
This was a recurring theme in his rookie year. He had 20 more carries only five games last season. The first one came against Turner himself, who was the visiting coach with San Diego in a 7-6 Browns win in which Richardson scored the only touchdown on a 26-yard run. He had 122 yards on 24 carries against the Chargers.
“All my life I’ve been that guy,” Richardson said. “If it’s going to help the team that I get less carries, or more carries, then I’m all for it. I can’t way for that day to come when I’m getting 25 reps plus. I know coach felt like he let me down. It’s not like that. I’m behind coach 100 percent.
“I told him, fine, I know you had a gameplan and when you get behind, it’s hard to run the ball.”
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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