BEREA – Kicker Phil Dawson started worrying Monday morning about the weather for Sunday’s game in Oakland.
“Everyone around here, they turn me off because I’m the weatherman, but I’ve been telling ’em this is going to be a pretty extreme challenge,” he said Thursday.
They’re listening now.
The Bay Area was dumped on Wednesday, and the rain isn’t going anywhere. The National Weather Service said as much as 10 to 12 inches of rain could fall through the weekend, and the forecast for Sunday is heavy rain and wind.
“What are they calling it? Pineapple Express?” coach Pat Shurmur said. “I guess there’s a fancy name for the storm.”
It describes a weather system that originates near the pineapple-growing territory of the Hawaiian islands. For the Browns and Raiders, it means a sloppy field, slippery balls and unpredictability.
“We’ll prepare for it,” Shurmur said. “Our guys do a pretty good job of holding onto the football. The challenge will be the same for both teams and then we’ll just see what the field conditions are like.”
He said the conditions could affect the play selection, pointing to the 7-6 win over the Chargers on Oct. 28 in cold, wind and rain as an example.
“I’m not saying that’s what’s going to happen, but when you add rain and wind, it changes some of what teams do naturally,” Shurmur said. “You put together a game plan to attack how they play defense. The wind and rain don’t change that much. We have enough run plays and pass plays to do what we want to do.”
“I don’t think they’ve got a typhoon defense or something like that they’re going to play in certain situations,” offensive coordinator Brad Childress said of the Raiders.
Dawson obsesses about the weather every week, a necessity when you spend half your Sundays in tricky Cleveland Browns Stadium. He’s kicked in Oakland multiple times and said the field doesn’t drain because it’s built for baseball and isn’t crowned.
“I expect it to be pretty sloppy,” he said. “There’s going to be water standing on the field. Not wet or soft, but actually standing on the field. There comes a point where there’s not a lot you can do. We’ll just have to see if it’s one of those situations or not.
“Ultimately it’s going to be not only getting out there in pregame and trying to figure it out, but those 10 seconds I’m actually out there kicking, figuring it out right then and executing.”
The Browns are scheduled to fly out this afternoon after practice.
Rookie running back Trent Richardson has rushed for 755 yards in 11 games. He needs 245 in the last five weeks (49 a game) to reach the 1,000-yard plateau that is a target for all running backs.
“For a personal goal and from the team aspect, it’s very important to me, especially me being in my first year and wanting to conquer a lot in my whole career,” Richardson said. “It’s gonna mean a lot to me. But it’s not nothing I look at every day.”
Richardson carried 29 times for 85 yards against the Steelers, averaging 2.9 a carry. The sheer volume against the fourth-ranked Pittsburgh run defense proved something to Childress.
“That he can do that, he can take that beating and beat on them some and give it back,” he said. “That’s the way football is sometimes and just the fact that he had that many carries, that’s hard work. We didn’t have a lot of breakouts, but that’s a pretty good defense.”
Richardson said his injured rib cartilage won’t be 100 percent the rest of the season.
“Coming back next year, I know I will be 100 percent,” he said. “And whatever happens, I can’t wait just to get on the scene and explode.”
Quarterback Brandon Weeden (concussion) was listed as a full participant in practice. Shurmur said he also took all his normal repetitions Wednesday even though he was listed as limited on the official injury report.
“There are rules regarding it and we want to make sure we follow them,” Shurmur said. “We tend to overdo it sometimes, but we need to make note of the fact that he’s been injured.”
Shurmur said backup Colt McCoy didn’t receive any extra snaps and handled the scout team as usual.
** Receiver Joshua Cribbs (chest/ribs) didn’t practice for the second straight day. He declined to discuss the injury with reporters.
** Safety/special teamer Ray “Bubba” Ventrone (calf) returned to practice after missing the last two games. He planned to practice again today with the hopes of playing Sunday.
** Cornerback Dimitri Patterson (ankle) was limited for the second straight day. He said he’s ready to play after missing six straight games, but isn’t sure Shurmur will activate him.
** For the Raiders, quarterback Carson Palmer (right thumb) was limited after a full practice Wednesday. He expects to play.
Defensive tackle Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring) didn’t practice again.
A RAVE REVIEW
Childress was asked what makes Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas one of the best in the league.
“He’s got great feet, he’s got a good reach, he can use his hands, he can separate and get people to stay away from,” he said. “He’s doesn’t have soft hands, like a concert pianist, he has hard hands. Some guys have those and they pull away from you when you get hit. He’s got a good reach and he’s got good balance because you can get out of balance in a heck of a hurry.
“He’s got the ability to be able to sit down on a rush when somebody wants to bull-rush him. He’s able to drop his weight and be able to sit down which all those big guys, those big aircraft carriers can’t do. They can’t all sit down and hold up when somebody just wants to drive them down the middle. Those are a few of the factors, plus he’s very smart, takes great notes, prepares great, so he’s got all those things going for him.”
A REF REVIEW
Nineteen penalties were assessed Sunday, and Childress was asked about the several holding calls on both teams.
“I don’t know. You’d have to ask Carl Paganelli,” he said. “He’s the umpire, by the way.”
Childress said different officiating crews call the game differently, and the players are briefed on the tendencies.
“We know if we feel like the crew are over-officious jerks, to quote Marv Levy,” he said. “We have opinions about all those crews, and some fall more into that category than others. Yeah, we have pretty strong opinions.
“The numbers are matters of record, so you can just look and see who’s ringing up who, for how much.”
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or email@example.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.