After listening to Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur on Wednesday, I got the impression that a couple of changes might be coming at the wide receiver position in terms of who sees playing time. From Shurmur:
(On sorting out the receiver position)- "I made the comment that we were going to play all the receivers that were active and we did that. I think we’re learning about the receivers and even though you see them operate in practice and in preseason games, I’m getting a better feel for those guys now that we’ve seen one real full game. We’ll change the groupings around a little bit. I wouldn’t say we’re going to play one guy more than the other, but guys that need to touch the football, Josh (Cribbs) needs to touch the football, Greg Little needs to touch the ball, there’s a place for Brian Robiskie to touch it and I think Mo (Mohamed Massaquoi) showed up. I went into the game not knowing how much Mo could handle in terms of the workload and he had quite a few snaps. I’m forgetting exactly off hand how many, but it was a little bit of a challenge for him just because he hadn’t had a bunch of practice. We’ll get him more and more as well."
Five wide receivers played against the Cincinnati Bengals this past Sunday. The receiver who saw the most snaps was Greg Little. He was followed by Brian Robiskie, Mohamed Massaquoi, Joshua Cribbs, and Jordan Norwood, in that order. The top two receivers (in terms of snaps), Little and Robiskie, combined for just one catch. Besides Massaquoi, none of the other receivers were really able to get into a groove either.
Is there anyone here that things the snap totals should be somewhat reversed in the future? I think Cribbs is our best wide receiver right now, and he showed against the Bengals that his quickness and side-to-side movement is much-improved from a year ago. Norwood is probably the only receiver who can make a move in the open field to get yards after the catch. Massaquoi seems consistently average, which isn't a bad thing.
Shurmur's comment about Robiskie seemed somewhat telling, although maybe I'm just reading too much into things. "There's a place for Brian Robiskie to touch the ball." I agree with that statement, because there is a place for him against some of the lesser cornerbacks in the league on pass plays. This is his third season, and for all of the assets that Robiskie seems to have (i.e. good hands, good chemistry with Colt McCoy, etc), the fact is that his production is not translating to gameday. One reader over at the OBR did make an interesting case to say that Robiskie was doing well as a blocker. Shurmur later responded to questions about Robiskie:
(On what Brian Robiskie brings to the offense)- "I think he’s a very steady guy. It’s very rare you see him make a mistake and I appreciate that. He has good hands. He will catch the football and in the preseason you saw he found a way to separate. That’s what he gives us."
(On Brian Robiskie having no catches in first game)- "Catches tend to come in bunches and this might be a game this week where he catches five."
When it comes to Little, there's nothing wrong with playing the guy, but it's still a bit surprising to see him get the most snaps. Is there any chance we'll see a sign of Carlton Mitchell this week to mix up the personnel groupings?
Despite what Shurmur said, my guess is that we'll end up seeing more of the same groupings of what we saw against Cincinnati, and that Shurmur will just rely on better execution being the difference maker this week.