BEREA, Ohio (CBSNewYork/AP) — While breaking down game tape this week, Trent Richardson noticed some gaping holes in New York’s defense. He plans to run through them — and the Giants — on Sunday.
The Browns’ rookie running back is aware that the Philadelphia Eagles piled up 191 yards — 123 by LeSean McCoy, who got 121 in the second half — last week in a 19-17 win over the Giants. On a conference call with New York reporters, Richardson was asked if he thinks he can rack up some yards against the defending Super Bowl champions.
“Oh yeah,” he said.
Richardson doesn’t lack confidence. Now he just needs a few more blocks.
“If we put our hat on a number (block), just cover them up, I think we can get good yardage on them,” Richardson said. “But at the same time, I know they’re going to throw everything they can at us. I’m pretty sure they’re going to game plan around our running game, so we need to make sure we open up the passing game so we can get some good runs in.”
Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora took exception to the rookie’s comments, and decided to issue a challenge to the third-overall draft pick.
“If (Trent) looks on tape and he thinks he sees some candy, come try and get it,” Umenyiora said.
The winless Browns (0-4) will likely need a big game from the talented Richardson if they hope to snap a 10-game losing streak dating back to last season.
Richardson has rushed for 222 yards on 64 carries this season, and he seems to be getting stronger after missing the entire exhibition season after undergoing knee surgery. The Giants seem susceptible to the run, and Richardson hopes that Cleveland’s offensive line can create some cracks in New York’s front seven.
“We have to run some outside zone and really need to cover number 90 (Jason Pierre-Paul) as much as we can, and big (Justin) Tuck,” Richardson said. “Both of those guys can bull rush and use their power and their quickness, because those guys are two big guys that are very fast. I think that if we cover the edges and run hard, not doing all this juking and that, one move and go, I think we can have some success in the running game.”
Richardson missed practice on Friday to be with his girlfriend as she gave birth to his third child. Browns coach Pat Shurmur expects Richardson to travel with the team and play. Shurmur doesn’t think Richardson’s personal issues will have a negative impact on him giving a good performance.
“I’ve seen guys go through family situations and personal situations and come out and play outstanding games,” he said. “What’s important is that he tidies up on the preparation that he missed, which I know he will.”
Richardson should be well rested. The Browns haven’t played since Sept. 27, and the 10-day break has given him extra time to recover and prepare for the Giants’ defense, which is ranked just 23rd against the run.
But linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka is far from intimidated by the 21-year-old.
“If he proves it, I’ll shake his hand and tap him on the butt,” Kiwanuka told the Newark Star-Ledger. “If he doesn’t, I expect never to hear from him again. The thing that he’s got to learn is that, in this game, talking doesn’t mean anything.”
Richardson had only 14 carries against the Ravens, and the Browns would like to get him as many touches as possible. To optimize Richardson, however, the Browns have to avoid falling behind and needing to throw to get back into the game. Richardson has only played four games, but he’s already noticed that teams are designing their game plan around stopping him.
“Most definitely,” the former Alabama star said. “That’s one thing they always have done. They’ve seen me play a little bit now, so they’re going to try to stop me more than anything now. If (quarterback) Brandon (Weeden) has 300-some passing yards and we win the game, that’s good with me. If they key on me and we lose, I feel it’s my fault.”
Weeden knows that it’s vital for Cleveland’s passing game to open up the field for Richardson. Without the threat of a passing attack, New York will just overload the line of scrimmage and make it hard to move.
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