Every now and then, Cleveland Browns general manager Tom Heckert is available to speak to groups such as the Worldwide Browns Backers, and every time he does, it seems like Steve Doerschuk of the Canton Repository is prepared to relay all of the "juicy" information that he took away from the interview. Doerschuk highlighted nine key points he took away from what Heckert had to say, but the ones about the receivers and our running back situation interested me the most.
Side note: send me mailbag questions to email@example.com overnight.
Ever since the team drafted Trent Richardson with the third overall pick, one of the things we have heard about him is that he is a workhorse. Maybe people have different opinions on what a "workhorse" running back is, but I think of him as a guy who gets almost every carry, with the backups perhaps playing a factor in special situations (i.e. 3rd-and-long). Heckert was asked about the workload they envision for Richardson as a rookie:
"We’ll wait and see how much we want to give him. We’re talking 20 to 25 touches at the most. That’s touches, not carries."
While the number seems reasonable for your traditional rookie back, I was thinking more along the lines of 30 touches at most. That doesn't mean I thought he'd average 30 as a rookie, but when I see Heckert mention the possibility of 20 touches being a max number, it makes me believe we'll see more of Montario Hardesty and Brandon Jackson on gameday than I originally thought.
Heckert also talked about the wide receiver situation, and Doerschuk relayed that the general manager confirmed the team is heading in the direction of using Josh Gordon and Mohamed Massaquoi on the outside, with Greg Little in the slot, in three-receiver sets. When Heckert was asked about Joshua Cribbs' role at the position, rather than dancing around the issue like Pat Shurmur did a week or so ago, Heckert was blunt:
"Right now, [Cribbs] just is not in our top four guys (on the wide receiving corps). We’ll get him the ball, but ... a lot depends on what the other guys do in the preseason."
Not only is that a telling sign for Cribbs, but it seems to confirm that the top four guys are Little, Massaquoi, Gordon, and Travis Benjamin. It's one thing to see it in practice, but it's another thing to hear one of the front office guys talk openly about it. With Cribbs included, that leaves one receiver spot for one of the following guys: Jordan Norwood, Josh Cooper, Carlton Mitchell, Bert Reed, Rod Windsor, Jermaine Saffold, and Owen Spencer. Call me crazy, but I think there is a chance Mitchell could still end up being the sixth receiver given the way things have unfolded in camp. Norwood has become an afterthought with the addition of Benjamin. Cooper could be on the practice squad. Mitchell vs. Windsor could be in the making. Maybe I'll elaborate more on my thinking in The Sunday Five this week.