The Cleveland Browns seem to only hurt themselves these days. After a 23-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 1, the outlook looks bleak if some trends from Week 1 continue. The Browns haven’t won a season opener since 2004. Quarterback Brandon Weeden threw three interceptions in the loss, while the Browns haven’t been able to fully incorporate their only glimmer of hope: running back Trent Richardson.
While the NFL is slowly becoming a quarterback league, the old-school run game still deserves some credit. We saw it clearly with how far running back Adrian Peterson was able to carry the Minnesota Vikings even with a less-than-average quarterback, Christian Ponder.
The Browns should look to the Vikings as an example. No, Richardson isn’t the next Peterson, but he does have some fight in him.
The Browns only gave him 13 carries Week 1, while Weeden attempted 53 passes. That seems a little ridiculous. Although Weeden was able to hit Richardson on two receptions for 30 yards, Richardson is capable of so much more than that. Richardson is averaging 3.6 yards per carry, similar to last year’s stats.
The Browns should rely more on him than a quarterback who is so up-and-down. Weeden had a dismal quarterback rating of 48.4 Week 1. At this rate, don’t expect the Browns to win many games.
The Browns face the division rival Baltimore Ravens in Week 2. It is well known that the Ravens have a strong pass rush, so Weeden will be way more under pressure than with the Dolphins in Week 1. All offseason, offensive coordinator Norv Turner stressed the fact that Richardson would be relied on more and more. 13 carries doesn’t do that justice. The Ravens will heavily target Weeden.
This should be a wake-up call to the Browns. Play Richardson, and give him the ball.