Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

We’ve heard this one before

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Brian Robiskie is ready to take on a bigger role in the West Coast offense and is finally going to produce like an NFL wide receiver.

“It’s completely different than (the offense) we had last year,” Robiskie said in published reports about the offense under first-year coach Pat Shurmur. “The receivers are a lot more involved. For me, it’s been a matter of learning it and making sure I’m exact in what I’m doing.”

“I would say Robiskie has been very steady,” Shurmur said. “You can say that a lot about what he is. He’s just a steady guy in terms of his personality, his performance, being on time and doing the right thing. He’s had a steady camp, and I think that speaks well to him.”

Yeah, but …

We get that Robiskie is a good kid who doesn’t cause trouble in the locker room or off the field. And that’s always a good thing, especially as we’ve had our share of hoople heads in recent seasons.

But eventually the team needs to see some production on the field – 36 total catches in two seasons just isn’t going to cut it.

The switch to the West Coast offense should help. The offense wants wide receivers who can run precise, sharp routes, which should play to one of Robiskie’s strengths.

Of course, it also wants receivers who can gain separation from defenders and Robiskie just doesn’t have NFL-caliber speed.

Quarterback Colt McCoy is going to spread the ball around a lot, so while it would be nice to have a stud wide receiver, the Browns may not need that to be successful on offense. With Greg Little, Mohamed Massaquoi (if he ever gets healthy), Ben Watson, Evan Moore, Peyton Hillis and Brandon Jackson, the Browns don’t need Robiskie to put up huge numbers.

Maybe this is the year that Robiskie pulls it together. It could turn out that the West Coast offense and Robiskie being in his third year – which is when receivers generally make a jump in production – will be the right combination.

***

The news that Browns guard Eric Steinbach may not play Friday night against Detroit because of back problems has us more than a little bit worried.

While its nice that rookie guard Jason Pinkston could gain some experience with the first-team offense if Steinbach can’t go, having that come against Detroit may not be the best thing for Colt McCoy’s continued good health.

Luckily for the Browns, defensive tackle Nick Fairley, the Lions’ top draft pick this year, is out with an ankle sprain, which means that old friend Corey Williams will line up opposite Pinkston. The Browns also have to worry about defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

At the very least, Pinkston should be able to take up some space, as he is 6-foot-4 and 305 pounds.

“He’s working through training camp,” Shurmur said of the team’s fifth-round draft pick. “He’s done some things that you need to see in an offensive lineman as far as coming off the ball (and) finishing blocks. He’s a real heavy-body, lower-body guy. He’s got an anchor. He knows how to play the game. We’re pleased with his progress. We’d like to see it keep going.”

So at least he has that going for him, which is nice.

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