Earlier this week, Browns coach Hue Jackson said he wanted to see his starting running back, Isaiah Crowell, “turned loose.”
Friday, Jackson said that starts with opportunity.
“We just have to hand it to him enough times,” Jackson said, per the team’s official transcript. “If you have a runner you believe in, you have to give him the ball. He has to get a feel for the game and be able to play within the structure of what you are trying to accomplish with the offensive line. That’s why I said I take responsibility for that. I think he is off to a good start. We just have to give him opportunities to go show his ability.”
Crowell ran 12 times for 62 yards last week, but got 40 of those yards on his last three carries after the game had been decided. Part of last week’s struggles could be attributed to circumstance. The Browns trailed throughout the game and only 52 offensive plays. The Eagles ran 77.
The Browns will be different offensively this week with Josh McCown at quarterback in place of the injured Robert Griffin III, and though Jackson makes it sound like they’ll run the ball early, it won’t be easy. The Ravens held the Bills to 65 rushing yards on 24 carries last week.
Still, Jackson believes in Crowell and is counting on him to get the Browns going.
“If you have a guy who can wear the defense down a little bit and a guy who knows how to carry the ball, be physical and make those tough yards, there is no substitute for those guys,” Jackson said. “You have to have them. We have not kind of turned our guy loose yet, but he has some special ability that way. We are going to find out here pretty soon.”