BEREA — The opener was a disaster for Oniel Cousins. The journeyman right tackle started at right guard for the second time in his six-year career and was exposed by a powerful Dolphins front four.
Cousins was penalized for illegal hands to the face, two holds and a false start. One flag negated an 18-yard completion in the second quarter and another wiped out a touchdown in the fourth.
The misery didn’t end there. According to profootballfocus.com, he gave up two sacks, three hurries and graded poorly as a run blocker.
Despite the brutal day and harsh criticism that followed, Cousins was one of a handful of players who entered the locker room Monday during the 45 minutes open to the media.
“No excuses,” he said. “I think it’s a great opportunity. I’m a physical guy. At the guard position, you’ve got to be physical, and I like it.
“I’m getting more comfortable every day and I love it. At the end of the day, you just want to be on the field, participate, be a part of a great victory and show the team that you can be out there and help them win games.”
Touches for Trent
Running back Trent Richardson carried four times for 26 yards on Cleveland’s first possession of the season. He finished with 13 carries for 47 yards (3.6 average) and two catches for 30 yards in six targets.
The effectiveness of the running game diminished after the first series and coordinator Norv Turner went away from it, though the Browns didn’t trail by more than six points until 6:48 remained in the game.
“Trent’s a critical part of our offense. We want to give him the ball as much as we can,” coach Rob Chudzinski said. “The real key is we have to convert on third down and we’ll get plenty more opportunities to get him the ball.”
One of the biggest bright spots in the ugly loss was defensive end Desmond Bryant, who signed a five-year, $34 million contract as a free agent in March. Bryant had two sacks, two quarterback hits, three tackles and a pass defensed.
“I thought he really had a strong game,” Chudzinski said. “He had two sacks. He did a great job on the run. I really, really was pleased with what he did.”
Take a knee
Bobby Rainey was claimed off waivers Sept. 1 and a week later he was the primary kick returner. He’s got some work to do. Rainey returned four kicks for 103 yards (25.8 average) with a long of 33.
The coaches felt he should’ve settled for a touchback when he returned one 21 yards to the 14-yard.
“I thought I had a good feel for it,” he said. “But we still had an opportunity to make a play out of it, but we didn’t. It’s something I’ve got to adjust to. Coming from Baltimore, we were bringing the ball out. That’s fine. It’s no big issue.”
Chudzinski said strong safety T.J. Ward will get treatment on his shoulder. He missed a series Sunday but returned. Travis Benjamin, who started at receiver, had his leg heavily wrapped in the trainer’s room after the game, but Chudzinski said there were “nicks, nothing major” when describing other injuries besides Ward’s.
Contact Scott Petrak at (440) 329-7253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.