With â€˜Pineapple Expressâ€™ in forecast, running game looms large
NOV 29, 2012 2:48p ET
BEREA—They call it the ‘Pineapple Express.’
No, not the movie by that name--the weather condition.
According to Wikipedia, the term ‘Pineapple Express’ is a non-technical term for a meteorological phenomenon characterized by strong and persistent rains and winds started in the Hawaiian Islands and extending to the Pacific Coast.
The weather forecast for Sunday’s game is calling for winds up to 26 mph and an 80 percent chance of rain with potential for flooding.
The Raiders play where the Oakland A’s play at Oakland Alameda Stadium where half the field is dirt. Although the field is expected to be covered with a tarp, the conditions could be slippery and muddy resulting in a possibility the passing game could be limited.
“They’re calling it a ‘Pineapple Express’,” Pat Shurmur said. “I’m not a meteorologist but the reports it is to rain throughout the week, but the challenge will be for both teams. We’ll just have to see.”
The Browns played the Chargers in very windy conditions and came away with a 7-6 win in a passing-challenged game.
“We played in the Chargers game with rain and wind,” he said. “It changes some of the things you do.”
Shurmur said he doesn’t change his game plan in anticipation of the weather being bad.
“You put together a game plan on how you’re going to attack their defense.,” he said. “We might have to lean more on shorter throws or the running game.”
On the other side of the ball, defensive coordinator Dick Jauron said many times on the defensive side, it’s more of adjusting on the go.
“It doesn’t really affect our game plan,” Jauron said. “We’ll have to see what it is on game day. They show you things in previous weeks, but you have to react to what they’re doing.”
It was expected that rookie running back Trent Richardson would be good in poor field conditions, hence one of the reasons he was drafted third overall, by the Browns.
Offensive coordinator Brad Childress doesn’t know if Richardson will be a ‘mudder’ but thinks he would be.
“I don’t know,” he said. “We might find out. I would suspect he would be pretty good (in bad weather conditions).”
Shurmur thinks the Browns running game can be effective against the Raiders.
“That’s your first assumption when you have a back who has come up with some 100 yard games,” Shurmur said. “Each game is different and hopefully we can come up with a way to score some points and have Trent involved.”
Richardson has accounted for 1,171 all-purpose yards. He has 755 yards on 209 carries (3.6 avg.) with six touchdowns. He also leads the team with 41 receptions for 316 yards (7.7 avg.) with a touchdown. He has rushed for 100-yards in two games.
If the field conditions are bad, it is assumed that the rushing game can be productive because they know where they’re going.
“I think he’s a decisive runner,” Shurmur said. “His style sometimes makes it look like he’s working his way into the hole. That can be deceiving at times. I though he ran with a very physical style on Sunday. He had a very productive day. I think each game he plays, each on field situation, he’ll get better and better. I think he’ll look forward to having an even better game.”
Richardson is looking forward to playing the Raiders, who are currently ranked 28th in the NFL against the run.
The Raiders will be without one of their key defensive players in Rolando McClain, who was expected to be released Thursday according to ESPN’s John Clayton. McClain was a first-round draft choice in 2010 (8th overall) and has started 38 of 41 games. He was just 10 tackles shy of breaking his career high in tackles of 99 from 2011 and was currently the team’s fourth-leading tackler. McClain didn’t practice Wednesday and Thursday and was listed on the injury report as ‘not injury related’. McClain is expected to be replaced by Omar Gaither. The Raiders are also expected to be without defensive tackle Richard Seymour who is out nursing a knee and hamstring injury.
Richardson spoke Wednesday after practice about looking forward to playing against McClain.
“Oh yeah,” he said. “I look forward to taking on every defense that we play against. This team here has one of my idols as far as being a leader and that I know, Rolando McClain. He played with me at Alabama and he was an idol for me because he was a big leader and a big voice at Alabama.”
Childress said when Richardson gets the ball as much as he did against the Steelers, it takes its toll on the defense.
“Just the fact he had that (28) carries, he can beat on the defense,” he said. “Even though he didn’t have any breakout runs.”
Richardson is looking for the offense to come together.
“I think it’s a day coming when we’re winning games,” he said. “That’s how I define everything as being perfect. There are no perfect days in this world as far as being on the offensive side or just playing football. You never know, someone might be injured, something might happen. We might catch two passes and score three touchdowns, but we don’t make one on the last drive that we need it on. When it comes to stuff like that, you really can’t predict the future that you hope would be a perfect day. It’s really not a perfect day unless you win the game.”
Weeden on Target to Start: Even though the injury report said Weeden was limited in practice, Shurmur said that he took all the necessary reps in practice.
“Weeden looked good, he handled all the snaps,” Shurmur said.
He was asked if backup QB Colt McCoy got any more work than usual with the first team.
“Colt handled the scout duties.”
Super Joe: OT Joe Thomas has made the Pro Bowl in each of his first five seasons and Shurmur said he’s having a good season. Shurmur said there’s a reason for that.
“He’s a very efficient pass blocker and he’s consistent and he’s done it for a long, long time,” he said. “That’s what makes him a very good player.”
Offensive coordinator Brad Childress listed some of the things that make Thomas good.
“He’s got great feet,” Childress said. “He’s got great reach and can keep defenders away. He’s got good balance and the ability to sit down on a bull rush. He’s very smart and takes great notes and prepares well.”
Childress was asked about rookie RT Mitchell Schwartz and the similarities between he and Thomas and it was very favorable.
“I’d say very, very, very similar,” Childress said. “He’s pretty good. He’s a quick study and he’s got a lot of similar attributes to Thomas.”
Injury Update: WR Josh Cribbs (shoulder, chest) and DB Usama Young (head) did not practice on Thursday and were all listed as doubtful on the first injury report Wednesday. However, DB Ray Ventrone (calf) returned to practice.
DB Dimitri Patterson(ankle)and TE Alex Smith (chest/ribs) were limited. This is the first time that Patterson has been upgraded to questionable since injuring his ankle against the Giants.
“He’s valuable when he’s healthy and he’s out there (practicing),” Shurmur said. “But he hasn’t been out there for six weeks or so. The challenge is to get healthy and get out there.”
With the field conditions expected to be slippery, it is unknown if Patterson will play.
“(Patterson) did some things, but it’s too early to tell.”
Shurmur wasn’t sure if Cribbs will be available.
“I don’t know, we’ll see.”
DL Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring) is doubtful, but RB Darren McFadden (ankle), RB Mike Goodson (ankle) and RB Taiwan Jones (ankle) practiced in a limited basis. McFadden hasn’t played in three weeks.
On Defense: Defensive coordinator Dick Jauron was pleased with the effort on defense holding the Steelers to 49 yards and creating eight turnovers.
“It’s rare,” Jauron said. “Obviously, they were playing without some key people. They played hard and tackled hard and knocked the ball out.”
The last time there were eight turnovers in an NFL game was in 2001 and for the Browns it dates back to 1989.
Facing DMC: The Browns are preparing to face RB Darren McFadden, who’s missed the last three games with an ankle injury.
“He’s a very talented player,” defensive coordinator Dick Jauron said. “They use him all over. They flank him out and get him the ball. He was a top five (draft) pick.”
McFadden caught 13 passes in a game early this season against the Chargers.
“He’s a huge talent,” Jauron said. “He’s extremely fast and you can see why he was a top five pick.”
+ SHOW COMMENTS +