Brian Robiskie: Why the Cleveland Browns Should Excel in the West Coast Offense
Ever since Brian Robiskie was selected with the Browns' first pick of the second round during the 2009 NFL draft, big things have been expected from him. Not only was Robiskie, an Ohio State graduate, instantly a fan favorite, but he also had the pedigree too, with his dad being a receivers coach for several NFL teams, including the Browns at one point.
So it was only natural for Browns fans to expect that Robiskie, who had also grown up in the suburbs of Cleveland, would go on to do big things.
Yet two years later, Robiskie has somewhat underperformed in the eyes of many in Cleveland. In fact, it should be pointed out that starting running back Peyton Hillis, acquired in a trade with Denver last offseason, had more receptions and receiving yards in 2010 than Robiskie has in two seasons.
To be honest, all of the blame should not be put squarely upon Robiskie's shoulders. It is often said that receiver is the hardest position in football to make the transition from college to the pros, and Robiskie wasn't even the team's No. 3 receiver in 2009. In 2010, he would more than double his production, but injuries would cut into his playing time.
It didn't help that former head coach Eric Mangini had an ultraconservative game plan, either. Many people would like to blame the Browns offensive struggles on former OC Brian Daboll, but it wouldn't have mattered who was running the offense for the Browns last season. Mangini's coaching style lends itself to a more conservative game plan.
That was too bad for Robiskie, because while he started to develop somewhat of a rapport with quarterback Colt McCoy at the end of last season, the Browns did not really look his way all that much in the final two games.
Enter new head coach Pat Shurmur, who brings with him the west coast offense he ran as offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams. Robiskie, known more for running precise routes at OSU than being a burner, should benefit immediately. Robiskie almost seems like the prototypical slot receiver, and the short timing routes that are the bread and butter of the west coast offense are ideal for him.
Add to that that he should have an even better rapport with QB Colt McCoy after this offseason, and he could have a break out year. While McCoy doesn't have the strongest of arms, he has shown himself to be rather accurate, and that is the only thing that should matter to a receiver like Robiskie.
There are many fans who questioned the Browns' selection of Robiskie with the 36th pick in 2009 NFL Draft, especially when guys like USC's Rey Maualuga were still on the board. However, with Cleveland switching to a west coast offense next season, that number should decrease significantly.
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