Baker gives Browns a boost

CLEVELAND – It wasn’t much, but for the Browns’ poor running game it was a promising sign.

Edwin Baker, who was signed off the Houston Texans’ practice squad last Tuesday, added more jump to the ground game than any runner has this season. Baker had 38 yards on eight carries, including a 2-yard run for his first NFL touchdown, in a 38-31 loss to the Chicago Bears. He added 46 yards on four receptions.

The 84 combined total yards might seem meager compared some of the big numbers put up by running backs each week. Considering how bad the ground attack has been, those yards suddenly become more significant.

Baker showed more quickness and straightahead burst than either Chris Ogbonnaya or Willis McGahee have exhibited. He runs from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ quickly and with little wasted motion.

“Get upfield. More cut and go. That’s it,” Baker said.

Baker was selected in the seventh round of the 2012 draft by the San Diego Chargers out of Michigan State. He was with the Denver Broncos and Texans this season before he signed with the Browns.

Baker shared carries with Ogbonnaya and Fozzy Whittaker Sunday at First Energy Stadium. Ogbonnaya had 7 yards on five carries, and Whittaker had 1 yard on one carry.

Baker was ecstatic to get his first-ever NFL action in a regular-season game.

“It meant everything in the world,” Baker said. “As a kid you dream about playing in a game. It’s a different feeling than in the preseason.”

Baker made a fast initial impression when he went 10 yards on his first carry. He went through a hole on the right side of the line and quickly reached the first-down marker.

“You always want to start out a game with some kind of explosive play,” Baker said. “Fortunately I was able to do that, and I thank God I was able to have a decent game. I’m going to come back next weekend. I have things I need to get better.”

Baker is built similar to Dion Lewis, who was being counted on to spark the offense as a chance-of-pace back to Trent Richardson. Baker is low to the ground at 5-8, and he weighs 210 pounds.

Lewis suffered a broken league in a preseason game, which ended his season. Richardson was traded to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a first-round draft choice.

It’s been a steady diet of McGahee and Ogbonnaya since the trade. Baker may have something to say about that in the final two games.