Robiskie starting to fit in as Browns’ wide receiver
Published 3:27 am Wednesday, August 26, 2009
BEREA — Brian Robiskie still has to carry other players’ equipment off the Browns practice field, only now the pay is much better.
Robiskie is back with the Cleveland Browns. Sometimes it feels like he never left. Drafted in the second round with the 36th overall pick in April’s draft, he grew up cheering for the Browns as the son of an assistant coach.
Terry Robiskie worked on the Browns’ staff from 2001-06, even serving as interim head coach for the final five games of the 2004 season following Butch Davis’ resignation. While his father was on staff, Brian Robiskie sometimes served as the team ballboy — while also setting records at Chagrin Falls High School and then Ohio State.
‘‘It was strange walking into the building and not being a coach’s son, not being a ballboy, not being an assistant equipment guy,’’ Robiskie said. ‘‘Being a player was definitely a different feeling. But that’s been over for a while. I’ve gotten pretty used to what I’m doing now.’’
Robiskie hasn’t given up all his old duties, since by tradition rookies carry veterans’ shoulder pads and helmets off the field. Robiskie doesn’t mind. He’s focused on more important duties, such as battling fellow rookie receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, selected 14 picks after him in the second round.
Based on practice snaps, Massaquoi seems to hold a slight edge over Robiskie, although both rookies are behind veterans Braylon Edwards, Josh Cribbs and Mike Furrey.
Massaquoi started at receiver against the Detroit Lions on Saturday in Cleveland’s second preseason game, but was back working with the second team during practice on Tuesday. Robiskie and Massaquoi each had a 24-yard reception against the Lions.
With Donte’ Stallworth suspended for the season by the NFL, Cleveland is searching for a receiver to start opposite Edwards. So far, neither rookie has been able to supplant Cribbs, a special teams star who is getting his first real shot on offense this summer.
Browns coach Eric Mangini concedes Robiskie may have hit a wall during training camp, similar to how most rookies deal with their first tour of the NFL.
‘‘I think with rookies, they don’t hit the wall, the wall hits them,’’ Mangini said. ‘‘It’s a tough transition.’’
Mangini recalled his first year as a quality control coach with the New York Jets in 1997, when he was in charge of film breakdowns and complaining to his wife, Julie, that nothing was making sense.
‘‘It’s a gigantic playbook and you’re studying every night,’’ Mangini said. ‘‘You think you’re relatively intelligent until you can’t pick it up as quickly as you hoped you would. I remember talking to Julie at night sometimes going, ’I must be slow. I can’t pick this up as quickly as I thought I would.’ Then the clouds start to move away, the sun comes out and things make sense.’’
Intelligence is a strength for both of the Browns’ rookie receivers. Robiskie was a two-time Academic All-American at Ohio State and a finalist for the Draddy Trophy, otherwise known as the academic Heisman. Massaquoi was an Academic All-SEC member at Georgia.
Mangini looked at the rookies’ notebooks last week and was particularly impressed with Massaquoi’s intricate notes.
‘‘I like to go back and review and retain and put things in my own words so I can better understand how it relates to me,’’ Massaquoi said. ‘‘I like to put a more vivid description of what is being said. If somebody quotes something, I might not write it verbatim. I’ll write it how I understand it and how it relates to me. If they say, ’Go to the stop sign and turn right,’ I’ll say, ’Go to the stop sign this way and turn this way,’ so I can better conceptualize it.’’
Robiskie left Ohio State in the top 10 in career receptions and receiving yards. Massaquoi’s 2,282 career receiving yards rank fourth all-time at Georgia, where he was catching passes from quarterback Matthew Stafford, the No. 1 overall pick in April.
‘‘We’re both real competitive and we both push each other,’’ Robiskie said. ‘‘When you have two guys like that coming in together and playing the same position, it can only help one another. We don’t feel like we’re competing for one spot and trying to push each other out of the way. We know the better we both are, the better this team can be.’’
NOTES: DT Shaun Rogers was held out of practice Tuesday, but was hitting the sled and working on individual drills before returning to the stationary bike. Rogers has been held out of both preseason games. … The Browns signed DE Brian Schaefering on Tuesday and released WR Paul Raymond.