Willis McGahee not going far, vows Browns can

Willis McGahee milks mileage out of his comments, if not his carries.

The old rent-a-runner was asked Thursday if — based on his learning in 11 NFL seasons — his latest team has the chemistry to remain in the AFC North hunt.
“Not only do we have the chemistry to stay in the race,” he said. “We have the chemistry to lead the race.”

Spoken like a Hurricane.

The Browns must beat Cincinnati Sunday to improve to 5-5, but that would sink the division-leading Bengals to 6-5.

Old Willis spoke on.

“It’s us against the world,” said the last man standing in the locker room — everyone else had headed for practice. “Nobody thinks the Browns can do it.”
He says they can. So what if he is the face behind the most glaring thing the Browns “can’t do.”

Historically speaking, the Browns could practically be nicknamed “Run One.”

Super backs Marion Motley, Jim Brown and Leroy Kelly all have gotten bronze busted in Canton.

Mike Pruitt launched a car dealership off his popularity as a Browns runner. Greg Pruitt. Mack and Byner. Ben Gay in his dreams. Jamal Lewis in the only 10-win season of the expansion era.

Running backs are big in the good old days of the franchise’s fabric.

On the surface — and maybe below — these are the worst of times for the position. McGahee is averaging 2.6 yards per carry.

In the most recent game, his carries, in yards, went for 4, 3, 1, 2, 4, 2, 2, 4, 0, 2, 2, 0, 7, 0, 3, minus-3, 0, 0 and 0.

Yet, the Browns won. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner thought the running game was one of the reasons.

“I’m not caught up in numbers,” Turner said, saying the running game is serving a purpose. “When we run play-action passes, guys are open down field.”

In other words, enough defenders commit to stop McGahee — when the quarterback fakes a handoff — to skim them away from receivers even though he doesn’t actually have the ball.

“We want to be efficient enough with the run to help with play-action passes,” Turner said. “That’s a lot of what we’re trying to do.”

Turner is being an optimist. He knows full well these aren’t his Dallas days when Emmitt Smith was racking up big numbers on Super Bowl contenders.

But then, these aren’t the 1990s. In Turner’s last year as coordinator of the Cowboys, only two quarterbacks passed for more than 3,500 yards. In 2012, 17 QBs topped 3,500.

Even in the passing storm that has been Turner’s outpost in 2013 — with three different starters at quarterback — the Browns are on pace to pass for 4,158 yards.

Bookmark and Share
blog comments powered by Disqus