EARLY BIRD: Can Ravens contain Richardson?

EARLY BIRD: Can Ravens contain Richardson?
September 12, 2013, 5:00 pm
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Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson (33) against the Washington Redskins at Cleveland Browns Stadium. The Redskins won 38-21.

(Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports)

EARLY BIRD: Waking up Friday with the Ravens, two days before their home opener against the Browns.

Two-minute topic: Can the Ravens contain Browns RB Trent Richardson?

OWINGS MILLS - In his last game against the Ravens in 2012, Richardson rushed for 105 yards on 25 carries. The Ravens still won 25-15. However, if Richardson has another 100-yard game, the Browns’ chances of pulling off an upset increase.

“When you look at their offensive line, and you look at Trent Richardson, they want to beat you up, they want to run the football, they want to play a physical, aggressive, nasty style of football,” said Ravens defensive end Chris Canty. “Our focus is stopping Trent Richardson, stopping their running game, neutralizing the offensive line, their push, try to give the running back nowhere to go. He’s a load, he wasn’t the third pick in the draft for no reason. Very talented football player.”

The Dolphins contained Richardson in Week 1, holding him to 47 yards on just 13 carries during a 23-10 Miami victory. For some reason, the Browns strayed from giving Richardson the ball, even when the game was well within reach. Richardson didn’t have a carry during the fourth quarter.

No wonder Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner told reporters in Cleveland this week that he wants Richardson to have at least 20 carries against the Ravens. The Browns don’t have a lot else to offer offensively. They will be without top receiver Josh Gordon, serving the second game of a two-game suspension. Quarterback Brandon Weeden has struggled, throwing three interceptions last week.

The Ravens have vowed to be solid defending the run this season. Sunday will be their chance to prove it by containing Richardson.

“He’s a premier back,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh. “He’s a hard runner. Whether he’s running inside or outside, he runs downhill. He’s a very tough tackle, and it’s going to take the whole defense to contain him.”

Morning thought: “He has a very high tolerance for pain. He’s obviously committed to this team.”

Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, speaking about right tackle Michael Oher, who has never missed a start since being drafted in 2009. Oher is practicing with a sprained ankle and plans to play Sunday.

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