Robert Turbin to make Browns debut against Denver Broncos


Dec 28, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Robert Turbin (22) rushes against the St. Louis Rams during the first quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns caused a stir when they picked up former Seattle Seahawks running back Robert Turbin from waivers, leaving Terrelle Pryor, one day after making the Browns’ 53-man roster following a highly scrutinized position change to wide receiver, was the odd man out.

Not only that, but the transaction came on the first day of general manager Ray Farmer’s suspension, and Turbin was suffering from a high ankle sprain, making him unavailable for the first five games of the season.

Those five games are now up and Turbin is ready to take the field for his Browns debut on Sunday against the Denver Broncos.

“I think I will just be another added piece to an offense that has obviously been explosive this year and can make a lot of plays.” – Running back Robert Turbin

“I am excited. I can’t wait until Sunday,” Turbin said on Friday. “It has been a long five weeks. Battling from injuries, coming back from injuries is always tough. Being released is always tough, dealing with that mentally. I am excited to have another opportunity and looking forward to making the most of it, definitely.”

It seems that Turbin could have played in a limited fashion last week, but the Browns played it safe and he was inactive for the exciting 33-30 win on the road against the Baltimore Ravens. Both Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell had productive performances in the passing game, as Johnson caught six passes for 55 yards and Crowell caught a touchdown pass.

However, they continued to struggle running the ball and combined for only 71 yards on 22 carries, with neither back breaking four yards per carry.

The Browns have failed to emulate last season’s early year rushing success and are averaging only 88.4 rushing yards a game and have only two rushing touchdowns. Johnson has been an electric presence as a receiver, causing havoc in space, but he has not carried that productivity over to the ground game, and looks like he is still finding his feet as an NFL running back.

Crowell has had the bulk of the carries but is yet to fully impress. He has at times looked heavy-footed and impatient, and his vision between the tackles is lacking. Too often it seems that he is charging into a pile before a hole has developed.

A fourth-round pick by the Seahawks in 2012, Turbin won a Super Bowl ring backing up Marshawn Lynch. However, opportunities were rare behind one of the best running backs in the league. He comes to the Browns having never had more than 80 carries in a regular season, and is yet to score a rushing touchdown in the NFL.

Turbin’s sole 20-carry game was in his rookie season against the Arizona Cardinals, when he racked up 108 yards at an impressive 5.4 yards per carry. This year he lost out on a roster spot in Seattle to veteran Fred Jackson and undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls.

More similar to Crowell than Johnson, Turbin is likelier to overpower than outpace. Listed at 5-foot-10 and 222 pounds, he is a bowling ball, not a burner, and head coach Mike Pettine has a clear idea how he wants to use Turbin to begin with.

More from Dawg Pound Daily

“The way backs are in this league and how hard they run and how hard they get hit, you have to be able to roll guys in and out,” Pettine said last week. “I just like it, moving forward, to have a thicker guy in Robert that can maybe be more of a goal line, short-yardage back along with Crow. Not to say that Duke doesn’t do a good job but just from a physics standpoint.”

Turbin will be slowly worked in this week as he gets up to game fitness and familiarity in the offense, but there is opportunity in Cleveland for Turbin to take the lead back role if he proves capable. No running back on the roster has a firm grasp on the position right now, and Turbin will be given ample opportunity to prove himself as the season progresses.

The Browns want to run the ball and cannot sustain winning ways passing the ball 50-plus times like they did against the Ravens. They want to be a ground and pound team and the hope is that Turbin will help them get there.

Next: Recalling the Browns 5 wins over Denver