Look for more balance vs. Ravens

Posted Sep 10, 2013

Browns Senior Editor Vic Carucci says you can expect the Browns to show more offensive balance against Baltimore Sunday.

The offensive balance that you didn’t see in the Browns’ season-opener will show up in Sunday’s game at Baltimore.

You heard it here first.

No more asking Brandon Weeden to throw 53 passes.

No more limiting Trent Richardson to a mere 13 rushing attempts. 

Ultimately, that overwhelming imbalance worked heavily against the Browns in their 23-10 loss to the Dolphins.

Coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner realize that they can’t afford to have Weeden dropping back as often as they did, because, for one thing, it isn’t conducive to success with an offensive line that has clear shortcomings – especially on the right side – and, for another, it isn’t good for his health. Weeden took a serious beating from Miami’s defense, which sacked him six times and hit him on multiple other occasions. 

It also is less advisable when the passing game is missing one of its most crucial components, wide receiver Josh Gordon, for another game because of his suspension. Gordon’s absence eliminates, or at least greatly reduces, big-play chances that the much smaller Travis Benjamin and slower Greg Little simply can’t create in his place.

Given that the Browns intend to stick with Oneil Cousins at right guard, despite the fact he drew four penalties and struggled throughout the game, they realize it is incumbent upon them to give him more help.

Some of that will come from designing plays to include a tight end or back to provide additional blocking. Some of that will come from the guidance Cousins receives from offensive line coaches George Warhop and Mike Sullivan. And some of it will simply come from not requiring him to do as much pass protection as he did last Sunday.

The same will be true for right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, who had an extremely difficult time against standout defensive end Cameron Wake. Schwartz is still finding his way in a scheme that asks him to hold his blocks a few extra beats to accommodate longer-developing pass plays.

You can also expect Chudzinski and Turner to stay more committed to the running game. And, as a result, Richardson should be able to have a much stronger performance than the 47 yards he gained against Miami.

The Ravens’ attack-oriented, 3-4 scheme offers some opportunities for the Browns to exploit through the air and on the ground because of over-pursuit by their linebackers. That wasn’t the case with a Miami defense that mainly relied on its talented four linemen to rush the quarterback and take away inside running lanes.

Look for Richardson to make some explosive runs, which, in turn, should greatly ease the burden on Weeden.

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