By Tony Grossi
Extra Points …
Pack your galoshes: What’s waiting for the Browns in Oakland besides a 3-8 Raiders team giving up points in historical numbers?
“I heard they have a little weather event out there. Hopefully it’s passed (when we get out there),” said offensive coordinator Brad Childress.
Actually, the event, which is called the Pineapple Express because of its origin in the jet streams above the Hawaiian Islands, may have a big impact on Sunday’s game in Oakland. The entire West Coast will be hit, but the hardest concentration of rain is expected in Northern California – just as the Browns are arriving on Friday.
Forecasts for the Bay Area are calling for torrential rains and flooding throughout the weekend, with wind speeds on Sunday up to 25 mph.
Neither coach Pat Shurmur nor Childress said they would prepare a gameplan specific to the weather conditions.
“Really, you factor into it the type of defense you think you’re going to see. I don’t think they have a Typhoon defense,” said the ever witty Childress.
“We have enough run plays and pass plays to do what we have to do,” Shurmur said. “You might have to lean more on shorter throws, more on the running game. Sometimes the conditions dictate that, but you go into like it’s going to be sunny and 70.”
In the wettest and windiest game this year in Cleveland Browns Stadium on Oct. 28, the Browns beat the Chargers, 7-6. Trent Richardson’s 26-yard scoring run in the first quarter stood up as the game’s only touchdown. Richardson had 122 rushing yards on 24 carries.
Asked if Richardson is a good ‘mudder,’ Childress said, “I don’t know. We may find out. I don’t recollect seeing him in college in a monsoon situation. I suspect he’d be pretty good.”
Oakland’s O.co Coliseum has a natural grass field. The dirt infield of the Oakland Athletics baseball field is sodded over this time of year.
Coming together: While most teams are losing players to injuries in December, the Browns are getting more back.
Cornerback Dimitri Patterson, who has missed six games over seven weeks with a high ankle sprain, had his second day of “limited” practice on Thursday. He said he is hoping to be back to his position covering the slot receiver Sunday – if all goes well.
Patterson’s return comes after the second game tackles Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin played together. In those two games, against Dallas’ and Pittsburgh’s injury-depleted offensive lines, the Browns yielded their lowest rushing total over consecutive games (112 yards) since 1993.
“Up front, we’re pretty good,” coordinator Dick Jauron said. “We thought we would be going in. Losing Phil and losing Rube for a good amount of time set us back. As we move forward, it’s a good group up front. They’ll just get better.
Taylor has averaged only about 30 snaps in his first two games after missing seven months because of pectoral muscle surgery. Rookies John Hughes and Billy Winn have maintained a higher percentage of snap counts in those games.
“He’s still coming back,” Jauron said of Taylor. “We’re trying to just rotate all those guys and keep them fresh as we can. I think it’ll pay dividends over time.”
High praise: Childress had high praise for rookie right tackle Mitch Schwartz, who hasn’t missed a snap in his first season as a starter. Childress was asked to compare the rookie to five-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas, who is known as an excellent technician.
“I’d say they’re very, very, very similar,” Childress said. “I think Joe’s probably ahead of him in terms of hand fighting and using his arms and length. But Mitchell’s a very quick study and he rarely makes the same mistake twice. I think he’s the chief note-taker of that group. Everybody gets the Cliff notes from him. He’s the scribe. He’s pretty good.”
|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 44 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
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