Little to start for Browns

Posted Oct 10, 2011

Greg Little has impressed the Browns coaches enough to be inserted into the starting lineup.

Through the first four games of his Browns career, wide receiver Greg Little has continued to develop and improve his skills.

He has registered 14 receptions -- which is tied for the most of any Browns wide receiver -- gained 131 yards and earned the start as the team opened the game against the Miami Dolphins with three receivers on the field.

Those numbers figure to increase over the coming weeks as Browns coach Pat Shurmur announced Monday that Little will move into the starting lineup as the team prepares for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders.

“Greg Little’s played over 200 snaps, but as we move forward, we’ll put him at the ‘X,’” Shurmur said. “We’ll get him in there and get him starting at the ‘X’ and typically, he’ll play from the slot when we go to three-receiver sets.”

Following the announcement after Monday’s practice, Little addressed his potential increase in playing time.

“Whatever Coach Shurmur calls, that’s what I’m going to do -- whether it be an intermediate route or a deep ball or a little, short crossing route,” Little said. “Whatever he calls, I have to execute it to the best of my ability. It’s good to have confidence and the support of Coach Shurmur and (quarterback) Colt (McCoy). I just have to come out and prepare well, as I’ve been doing previously. Executing on Sunday is what matters the most.”

Although he appreciates the support and the promotion, Little knows there is more work to be done before the team plays the Raiders.

“Just looking back on things, I think we’re all capable of playing well and starting because that was the case previously,” Little said of his fellow receivers. “Whatever plays that we had up in the first 15, that’s where guys were going to be. I started some games, have been in on the second play, third play, so I don’t really think that starting title is going to be any big change.”

Little has learned very early in his career that production on Sunday counts, but preparation during the rest of the week is what separates players in the NFL.

Little has worked with McCoy on the sidelines during defensive drills and has also learned to read defensive backs. When breaking down game film, Little is watching how a defensive back lines up, whether he is in a sprinter stance or standing flat-footed and if the defender is leaning one way or another.

He also knows that running “with some assertiveness” will help build up his yards after the catch.

“When you get the ball and you’re strong to the catch and you’re strong with the ball in your hands, guys will be hesitant to run up and try to smash you,” Little said. “Any playmaker in this league is going to have to be good run-after-the-catch. Wes Welker, Andre Johnson and all of those guys are great run-after-the-catch. You have to break at least one tackle in this league.”

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