As the Cleveland Browns prepare to take on their divisional rival Baltimore Ravens in week two, they know that this game is incredibly important. Though it is only the second game of the season, neither team wants to start the year off 0-2, let alone with a divisional loss as well.
In week one, the Ravens lost in a big way to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. If you haven’t heard what happened in that matchup yet, you are probably either from another planet or have been in the hospital for a week and a half.
The Browns, on the other hand, lost in embarrassing fashion to the Miami Dolphins. Though Miami was only allowed a total of 20 rushing yards on the day, the Browns turned the ball over three times — all at the expense of quarterback Brandon Weeden. While not every pick can be attributed to the quarterback due to catchable balls by the wideout, three turnovers nonetheless is worrisome.
Browns running back Trent Richardson spoke about this week’s game and how he hopes to have a larger role in the offense.
“I just don’t think they stopped the running game,” said Richardson referring to Miami. “I think we stopped it ourselves as far as we were behind and stuff like that. We’ve just got to keep fighting and know that no matter what, we’ve got to stick to our game plan. I guess Coach had another game plan and it went that way.”
Richardson seemed a bit frustrated that he didn’t touch the ball more than 13 carries on Sunday. ”I just thought that we were gonna run the ball,” he said, “and I thought it could be a real good day. I just knew that we could run the ball on any team. I feel like it’s going to be a fight down to the finish and we were going to win.”
The second-year pro has a point. In the five games Richardson was given 20-plus attempts last year, the Browns went 3-2 and he averaged nearly 96 yards per game. In the rest of the games which Richardson was given less than 20 attempts, the team went just 2-8 and Richardson averaged about 45 yards per game.
In short, Richardson deserves to be frustrated. The Browns offense starts and ends with him. If Rob Chudzinski does not give him the ball at least 20 times against the Ravens, chances are they will lose. It has to happen — 20 carries. Richardson has the ability to be one of the best backs in the NFL and should be given that chance.