The Browns senior citizen smiled, then said he was impressed with the way Baker ran against Chicago.
“He had an opportunity,” McGahee said. “He made the most of it.”
Sometimes that’s all it takes.
Then again, it’s a measure of the Browns run offense that a team and city celebrate when a guy runs for 38 yards on eight carries, which Baker did against Chicago. Baker actually led the Browns in rushing.
But the Browns run game this season has been nearly nonexistent. McGahee leads the team with 377 yards, no back has topped 100 yards in a game and Trent Richardson still ranks third on the team with 105 yards. The Browns rank 27th in the league in overall rushing and 28th in rushing first downs.
Baker brought fresh legs and a little quickness -- and looked pretty good doing it. Baker showed the ability to hit a hole quickly and with authority.
“Since I started playing when I was five years old, my dad always told me be decisive,” Baker said. “Don’t dance through the hole, get through the hole as fast as you can.”
He did that, and when he scored on a 2-yard touchdown run he ran with authority, burrowing through several defenders to score.
Baker said he ran a 4.3-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day at Michigan State, but his number at the 2012 Scouting Combine was a 4.53. The Browns signed him off Houston’s practice squad and gave him the chance he didn’t get in Texas -- even if it was nearly by default.
Baker’s running might not change much of the season’s big picture, but it might provide the offense a bit of life in the final two games.
“That’s something that we’ll talk about as a staff certainly,” coach Rob Chudzinski said. “From what he did in the game, I think he earned a lot of respect and earned my respect.”
In this long Browns season that is getting longer by the week, that is at least something.