One of the fun things we have done here at FoS is looking at national media articles that are connected to our Cleveland teams and reviewed them from the hometown perspective, this one, this one, this one and this one. Jamison Hensley is the AFC North blogger for ESPN.com. Hensley joined the team a couple years back when James Walker transitioned to the AFC East blog. Hensley, after the Browns Trent Richardson was rated #84 in ESPNs top 100 rankings, has high hopes for TRich.
Richardson has the vision, power and speed to become an elite back in this league. More than that, he is driven to deliver this season. He’s heard the rumblings about being injury prone. He’s aware Alfred Morris and Doug Martin had better rookie seasons.
- Its great that Richardson is motivated by those things but many motivated people fail in the NFL, see Tebow, Tim. His vision, power and speed are well recognized but health and the talent and play of the offense around him is vital.
If Richardson can stay healthy, he will become one of the top workhorses in the league. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner indicated that Richardson could carry the ball 300 times this season. All five players who cracked 300 carries last season ranked in the top six in the NFL in rushing.
- Turner’s goal of 300 carries could be a blessing or a curse. Many running backs say its between carries 11 and 20 that they feel like they are the best, after wearing down the defense and getting into a rhythm. If he is able to stay healthy Richardson could do great damage with 300 carries, but 300 carries could do great damage to a oft hurt running back.
Richardson won’t be getting much rest during games. The Browns had limited depth behind him when training camp began, and third-down back Dion Lewis could be lost for the season after breaking his leg last week.
Turner is targeting 60 receptions for Richardson, which shouldn’t be a problem because he caught 51 passes last year.
- The injury to Lewis and the reception goal for Richardson go hand and hand. Lewis was providing a Darren Sproles like scat back role for the Browns before the injury. Expect many of the screens and 3rd dump off passes to now go to Richardson. With 60 receptions and 300 carries Richardson will be close to 400 touches. If he gets that many it means the offense is clicking, sticking with the run and TRich is healthy.
One of Richardson’s biggest fans is Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk, who believes Richardson has special qualities.
“You saw it in college. It’s the reason that in a league that they’re starting to kind of devalue the position, he gets drafted so early,” Faulk told reporters in training camp. “He has it in him. It’s in him to be great. He wants it. He’s never shied away from asking questions or letting you know what he don’t know because he understands that the things that you don’t know when you find them out, it makes it easier to become great.”
- Having such a well qualified player like Faulk endorse you, it means fans can continue to ramp up their excitement. Faulk is a prototype of what Richardson can hope to be in the passing game and outside runs, while Richardson should display more power in between the tackles.
The reason the Browns took Richardson so high in the draft is because he’s the identity of the Browns’ offense. He brings a meanness and a toughness to the Cleveland ground game. He’ll run in between the tackles and he’ll run over tacklers.
If he attacks this season the same way, he’ll end up being mentioned among the best running backs in the league by the end of the year.
- This is the one thing that is most exciting about Trent, that he could be the identity of the Browns, now and to the future. The Browns will continue to need to build around him, but Richardson is the perfect identity for a blue collar Browns town. His attacking nature fits with the new regimes goal of attacking at all times and will be a noticeable and exciting change from the read and react nature of the Browns over the past few years (decades).
Browns Articles of Interest