BEREA, Ohio -- It seems pretty obvious what the Browns formula for success this season would be.
Get the ball to Trent Richardson.
The coaching staff handled him very delicately during the OTAs, mini camps and training camp to make sure he was fresh and ready for the 2013 regular season. Norv Turner had intimated he expected Richardson to tote the ball over 300 times over the course of the season. That is why it was so puzzling to everyone that Richardson carried the ball just 13 times from scrimmage and caught two passes during last Sunday's loss to the Dolphins.
In 2012, over a five game stretch, Richardson carried the ball at least 20 times during those games and the Browns won three of the five, while Richardson averaged just under 100 yards per game. He had 24 rushes for 122 yards and a score in a win over the Chargers, followed by a 25 for 105 yards in a loss to the Ravens.
In Week 10, Richardson had 28 carries for 95 yards in a loss to the Cowboys, followed by 29 rushes for 85 yards and a touchdown in a win over the Steelers. He had 20 carries for 72 yards and a score in a win over the Raiders in Week 12. The next week, the Browns beat the Chiefs 30-7 and Richardson had 18 rushes for just 42 yards and two touchdowns.
In the other 10 games of the season, Richardson had less than 20 carries, averaged 47 yards a game and the Browns were 2-8. He didn't play in the season finale against the Steelers.
Richardson indicated he wants to carry the load.
"I know we had a game plan and when you get behind, it's hard to run the ball," he said. "When you get behind a team like that who’s got a dual-threat quarterback, some good receivers, it’s hard to fight back.''
Richardson had four carries for 26 yards on the first drive and had just nine carries for 21 yards the rest of the game. He had no carries in the fourth quarter.
"I just don't think (Miami) stopped the running game,'' Richardson said. "I think we stopped it ourselves as far as just we were behind and stuff like that, and we've just got to keep fighting and know that no matter what, we've got to stick to our game plan. I guess coach had another game plan and it went that way.''
Rob Chudzinski was asked Friday if he liked when players said they wanted the ball more.
"Absolutely," he said. "I love hearing that from any player that they want the ball. Trent is a big part of what we want to do (in this offense)."
Norv Turner said he expects Richardson to shoulder the burden.
"We came out and we executed four or five plays awfully well,'' Turner said. "And then they hit us with a couple run blitzes, which teams are going to do. They came at us when we started getting a little bit of run and then we didn’t execute as well. They’re a good run defense, so we got some things early. I think if we’d gotten him his -- what I’d like to see him in that 20 or a little over 20 carries -- I think he would’ve had more production.”
Richardson said he didn't play as much as he thought he would on third down, but Turner said the plan is to get him more involved in that role.
"There’s some things he’s ready to handle in our third-down stuff, in our nickel package and there’s some things (Chris Ogbonnaya) going to handle that stuff for a while. Trent missed some time obviously in camp and there’s some things that we want to use him in there, and we’re going to do it when we can.”
Richardson said he's confident he will get his touches.
"I know Coach (Turner) felt like he let me down and it's not that,'' Richardson said. "I'm behind coach 100 percent. And I know we were behind (in the game) so he had to do what he had to do to put points on the board.''
Richardson had just 47 yards and a score in his first game against the Ravens last year, but came back with 105 yards in the second game.
"I just plan to do what Coach tells me to do," he said. "Whatever he's got planned, I'm with it. Hopefully it's more touches. If it is or not, I just want to come out with a W.''
Richardson rushed for 950 yards in his rookie season in 15 games and had 47 in his 16th NFL game to give him 997 or just short of 1,000 in his first 16 NFL games.
"It makes me want to work harder and it makes me want to be that guy that's always rushing for 100 yards or 90 plus, or is going to be like, 'Man, I don't want to play against him," he said. "I want to be that guy that they always remember when it comes to playing them."
Richardson doesn't shy away from being the focal point of the offense.
"It's something you practice for, that you prepare for, and all of my life I've been that guy,'' he said. "At the end of the day, I control what I can control, but if it's going to help the team out that I get less carries, if it's going to help the team out that I get more carries, I'm all for it. (But) I can't wait for that time to come when I'm going to get 25-plus reps."
Richardson said he doesn't care if he's the target of opposing defenses.
"I look at every team as if they have a bulls eye on me," he said. "No matter who it is. I reckon they will have a bulls eye on me. That's how I look at every team. From my standpoint, I feel if this team has a bulls eye on me the next team will have a bulls eye on me. If every team is going to bring it 100 percent on me, I'm just going to give it that much more.If they give me their 'A' game, I just want to know that I gave it my best."
Lauvao Out, Rubin Doubtful: DL Ahtyba Rubin (calf) and OL Shawn Lauvao (ankle) were on the stationary bikes during the portion of practice open to the media. Lauvao was ruled out and Rubin is listed as doubtful.
OL Oniel Cousins will make his second-straight start at right guard and will try and bounce back from a poor performance in the first game.
"He's worked extremely hard this week," Chudzinski said. "I think he was the last player off of the field every day. I expect him to do much better."
Chudzinski said he expected DL Billy Winn to start if Rubin doesn't play.
LB Barkevious Mingo (lung), WR Travis Benjamin (thigh) and DB T.J. Ward (shoulder) practiced and are expected to play. Benjamin and Ward are listed as questionable, while Mingo is listed as probable.
For Mingo, it would be his NFL debut after suffering a bruised lung in the second preseason game against the Lions.
"He's practiced all week, so we listed him as probable," Chudzinski said. "I'm really looking forward to seeing him on the field."
Chudzinski said there is no set plan, but rather to "see how he progresses".
Super Bowl Foes: The Browns have faced the defending Super Bowl Champions five times in the past six seasons, winning three times.
Former Ravens: The Browns have six players who previously played for the Ravens, including LB Paul Kruger, K Billy Cundiff, OL Oniel Cousins, DL Ishmaa'ily Kitchen, RB Bobby Rainey and WR Tori Gurley.