By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
Extra Points …
T-rich reax: Shock and disbelief. That’s the business. Not a white flag. They’re moving on.
That’s the company line from Browns players who reacted to the trade of Trent Richardson one year and two games after they made him their top draft pick and set him up to have “a breakout year.”
Thursday is not normally a heavily populated day in the locker room for players in the open media period of their work day. They’re talked out by Wedensday. But this was their first time to publicly react to the Richardson trade and some big-name players were conspicuous by their absence.
Offensive captain Joe Thomas, Joe Haden, Greg Little and Brandon Weeden were among the missing.
So was Brian Hoyer, whose first start as a Browns QB was made more challenging without the team’s top running back. Hoyer spoke on Wednesday, before the trade.
Also missing was Chris Ogbonnaya, who is almost always in the locker room. Ogbonnaya, who fills myriad roles, now has another – starting running back. At least until Willis McGahee is up to speed.
Reaction was fairly consistent:
Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson: “Everyone was shocked. In the locker room, guys will talk about it today, then we have work to do. Have a lot of studying to do, lot of film to watch. Yeah, it’s gonna be in the back of our minds, but we still got a job to do.”
As for the timing of the trade, coming after the second week, Jackson added, “The only thing I can compare it to is the year we went 10-6 and Charlie Frye started the season off and he was traded that Monday or Tuesday and we won 10 games. It happens. That’s the ugly side of this business.”
Receiver Josh Gordon: “I think it was a shock to everybody. Everybody was definitely shocked. We were in disbelief almost until we saw it on TV. This league is a business. At any given moment anybody can go. They thought it was a good business decision by the organization, so that’s what they went with.”
Safety T.J. Ward: “I was in shock, pretty much like everybody else. But when I really settled down, nothing in this business is surprising anymore.
“I can understand that. But I don’t think they bailed on the season. Every team is looking towards the future. That’s just the way of this business. I don’t think they bailed on us at all, or the season.”
Defensive end Desmond Bryant: “It’s not my decision to make. I respect the decision they made. I think they’re doing everything they can to win as many games as possible.”
More on T-rich: The general feeling is that Richardson’s downhill style of running can only be successful alongside a credible passing game that is respected by defenses. Indianapolis surely has that, so everybody expects Richardson to benefit from Andrew Luck & Co.
Offensive coordinator Norv Turner said, “I like Trent an awful lot. I think this for him will be a real positive thing. He’s going to get an opportunity, with where they are offensively (it’s going to) really going to showcase his abilities.”
Jackson said, “Trent, he had his own battles getting his rushing attempts and getting his yards, but he’s going to a great situation. He has a team that was a playoff caliber team.
“He’s still young. To be successful in this league, you’ve got to go through ups and downs. A lot of guys passed up don’t start up the way they’d like, but who’s to say things can’t change. Every player in this locker room has a lot of work to do. But that’s not to say the reason why he got traded.”
On Weeden and Hoyer: Turner talked about how close the offense has come in making the plays to win their first two games. One such play was the missed pass in Baltimore on the wheel route to Ogbonnaya.
“We’ve had plays,” Turner said. “We had Ogbonnaya free running down the sideline and you make that play and you go kick a field goal to go ahead or go score a touchdown. We have a lot of work to do but we’ve had plays there where we could’ve taken the lead.
“I thought Brandon did a lot of good things in the Baltimore game. I thought he stood in there and made plays on third down. He missed a big throw. He was the first one to say it, that he’d like to have that ball back to Obie.”
Turner was asked about Hoyer’s arm strength.
“Brian can make the throws we need to make,” he said. “Right now, we haven’t been able to get those kind of plays. It’s a combination of defenses we’ve been playing, and, obviously, we have to protect better. He’s actually a very good deep thrower.”
|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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