Browns rushing game stalls in Indianapolis
BEREA —The Browns headed to Indianapolis thinking they would be able to successfully run the ball against the banged up Colts. Just a week earlier, the Jets ran rough shod over Indianapolis.
However, the Browns rushed for just 55 yards on 17 carries for a dismal 3.2 average.
Pat Shurmur was asked what the problem is with the running game. Is it that Trent Richardson isn’t healthy? Is it that the blocking up front isn’t effective?
“We’ve had points during the season where we’ve run efficiently,” Shurmur said.
Shurmur said the Colts made an effort to stop the run and forced the Browns to beat them in the air.
“They made a commitment to stopping the run and so we needed to do other things.”
The Browns threw 41 passes to just the 17 rushing attempts.
“We need to be better,” Shurmur said. “Rushing offense is a team thing. There’s a combination things that need to be better.”
Shurmur was asked in what areas, but he did say he thinks the Browns can be effective in the running game.
“I think we can be an effective team running the ball,” he said. “We can call the plays better, run the ball better and block better.”
One of the biggest concerns is Richardson, who had just eight yards on eight carries, with a long run of five yards. He didn’t play the second half, but Shurmur said it wasn’t for Richardson not pleading to play.
“Trent’s a warrior and he wants to be in there,” Shurmur said. “I’m watching the game and I’m watching the player and he wanted to be in the game. When I see him, I want to consider his health. He’s going to be a great player for a long time.”
Shurmur said he will evaluate him each week and wants to make sure he’s 100 percent ready to play. Richardson played against the Colts with a flak jacket on.
“We’re going to get him ready every week,” he said. “We’re going to watch him practice, but if we see (the rib) is bothering him to the point he can’t perform, we’ll consider (holding him out).”
Shurmur said that Richardson will want to continue to try and play, even if he’s not 100 percent.
“We’re going to have to trust the player and trust what we’re seeing on the field based on the communication we’re having.”
The only game the Browns were really effective running the ball was in the second game of the season against the Bengals, when Richardson rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown. Richardson has 348 yards on 103 carries (3.4 avg.) with four touchdowns.
As a team, the Browns are 30th in the NFL rushing the ball, averaging 3.8 yards a carry. They have 554 yards on the ground and have given up 936 yards.
Montario Hardesty has filled in for Richardson the last two weeks and has averaged a little better with a 3.8 average per carry.
Decisions,Decisions: Shurmur wouldn’t second-guess himself for not going for it on fourth-and-one at the Colt’s 41 with about six minutes to play.
“I’d do that again,” he said. “It worked out. We had two timeouts with six minutes to go.
“There was a lot of game left,” he said. “There was over six minutes to play. We were doing a good job on defense. It worked out and we got the ball back.”
The play was right after Gordon dropped the touchdown pass that would’ve given the Browns the lead. Originally, the Browns lined up to go for it, but ended up calling a timeout and decided to punt.
P Reggie Hodges only punted the ball 20 yards to the 21.
He also was asked about going for the two-point conversion after making it 14-12 in the third quarter.
“It was too early (to go for two).”
Shurmur said he makes a decision and moves on.
“You make choices based on what you think is right,” he said. “You make them and you move on. Each decision plays off the other.”
Taylor Back: Shurmur said that DL Phil Taylor will return to practice this week, presumably Wednesday. Taylor tore his pectoral muscle during the off-season program and has been on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list thus far.
“He will be out there practicing this week, I’ll give you that,” Shurmur said.
Once Taylor starts practicing, the Browns have 21 days to activate him. Shurmur has maintained all along that Taylor was on schedule to return in late October.
Pinkston Out of Hospital: OL Jason Pinkston is out of the hospital according to Shurmur.
“He’s out of the hospital and that’s all I can give you.”
Shurmur was asked if Pinkston will miss the rest of the season by being placed on injured reserve.
“There’s a chance.”
Little Growth: WR Greg Little had one of his best games with six receptions for 52 yards, including a 14-yard leaping catch for a touchdown.
Shurmur was asked if it was Little’s best game.
“He made a couple plays,” Shurmur said. “I’ve seen him work extremely hard.”
Little missed time last week with the flu and Shurmur said Little battled the illness until the night before the game.
“He was less than 100 percent up until the night before the game fighting the flu,” he said. “I think he’s one year further ahead (than Josh Gordon) and there’s still a lot to learn.”
Little didn’t do a celebration dance after his touchdown.
“I’ve asked him not to do that,” Shurmur said.
Meanwhile, Gordon had a 33-yard touchdown, but will be remembered for his drop in the end zone.
Shurmur was glad that Gordon stood up for the mistake.
“I talked to him,” Shurmur said. “He’s a full grown man and he’s hard on himself. That tells me he has a chance to improve.
“It pleases me to know they are men enough to say ‘Listen I screwed up. To me that’s the first part of the learning process in not willing to deflect things and make excuses.”
Fujita to IR?: Shurmur was asked if LB Scott Fujita has decided to retire or if he will be placed on injured reserve. Fujita has not played the past two games with a neck/shoulder injury. However, Shurmur hinted that some type of announcement might be forthcoming.
“I think it’s too early to say anything, but we might do something.”
Jimmy Time: The CBS television broadcast caught Jimmy Haslam showing emotions during some of the key plays in the game and Shurmur was asked if he had talked with Haslam about them.
Shurmur said he hadn’t seen the broadcast version of the game.
“It wouldn’t be right for me to comment on it,” he said.