Pat McManamon of ESPN.com published some interesting quotes from Browns pro bowl tackle Joe Thomas in his post on Friday.
The post centered around Thomas’ comments in response to being asked about Cleveland’s struggles to run the ball thus far this season. The Browns have only averaged 81 yards on the ground through nine games this season and are getting just 2.6 yards per carry out starting running back Willis McGahee.
“I’m looking at today’s NFL, and I’m just not sure there’s a place for a running back anymore.” Thomas said.
“If you’re a defensive coordinator and you give up a 100-yard rusher, you don’t really care, it really doesn’t translate into winning many games.”
Whether it was his intent or not, Thomas’ remarks seemed to echo the beliefs of a front office who traded running back Trent Richardson but held on to play making receiver Josh Gordon whose name was at the center of trade rumors.
“You have to have somebody who’s a once-in-a-generation talent like Adrian Peterson to really be a difference maker in the game,” Thomas said. “But you get one Josh Gordon, you throw him a jump ball in triple coverage and he goes up and catches a touchdown, you win the game. That’s one guy, one play. He can do that three times in a game. Calvin Johnson. You can go down the list of guys like that who are game-changers. A.J. Green.
You have to change the entire defense to try to take somebody like that out of the game. And the running game is so hard. Because first of all you have to have six, sometimes seven guys blocking perfectly up front. One mistake and it’s a tackle for a loss. So you have to have seven victories. And then you have to have a running back beat a safety. Today’s safeties are pretty good.”
[Related: Cleveland Browns Film Room: Blitzing the Ravens]