Suggs, Green focus of rushing renewal

Nfl Preview 2004

The Division Rivals

Cleveland Browns

September 09, 2004|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

In a division where the running game is king and the passing game is a complementary chess piece, the Cleveland Browns are finally gearing up to join the rush revolution.

Coach Butch Davis says the team's base offense will attempt to be 60 percent run this season, which means a major workload increase for running backs Lee Suggs and William Green.

Last year, the Browns ran 412 times, fewest in the AFC North and 69 behind pace-setting Cincinnati. They threw nearly 100 more passes, not counting 40 sacks.

Unlike previous years, the Browns want to use the run to set up the pass.

Suggs and Green have shown a flair for the job. Suggs rushed for 186 yards in the season finale last year after missing 11 games with a shoulder injury. Green had a 178-yard rushing game in the 2002 finale.

"I think it will be a rotation," Suggs said of the job he shares with Green. "I think both of us will be in the game."

Suggs, a fourth-round pick in 2003, believes a rotation can work. "In college [at Virginia Tech] my senior year, me and Kevin Jones rotated every series," he said. "It was kind of hard to get a rhythm like that, but I managed to get 1,000 yards, so I guess it wasn't too bad."

Green, a first-round pick in 2002, is more of a power runner, while Suggs offers more nimble footwork.

"Will kind of makes a cut and pounds it," said center Jeff Faine. "And Lee can make the cutback, so I think there's big-play possibilities out of both."

When Davis committed to the run last offseason, he signed free-agent fullback Terrelle Smith as his lead blocker. After meeting with Davis and coordinator Terry Robiskie, Smith said he knew the team would run more.

"A lot of teams say they want to run and don't," Smith said. "This is for real. They wanted my style of player - a violent, physical, old-school throwback."

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