Richardson offers speed with power

Posted by Vic Carucci on December 17, 2012 – 11:51 pm

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

You’ve got questions and comments that you submit to the Browns’ official Facebook and Twitter pages. Here’s what I have to say about what you have to say:

Nick – Trent Richardson seems like a power back! But we drafted him because he’s got speed. And we really haven’t seen that. Hopefully, power isn’t all we get with him.

The fact is that Trent is both a power and a speed back, Nick.

His fairly compact frame, but extremely thick, frame is conducive to his maintaining a lower pad level when he runs and being more physical in his contact with would-be tacklers. But he also has a great deal of speed that allows him to be highly effective on the perimeter.

It’s true we have only, or mostly, seen the power part of his game. The majority of his runs are into a crowd of defenders, and he does a decent job of pushing piles.

The problem is that Richardson is seemingly always seeing plenty of defensive players at the line of scrimmage, because Browns opponents have consistently loaded up to stop him and make the offense one-dimensional.

I do think he sometimes hesitates to hit the hole, and I suspect some of that is the result of lingering aftereffects from the rib injury he suffered earlier in the season. Some of that also is from the running style he developed during his time at Alabama. But at the collegiate level, Richardson consistently dealt with much larger holes than he generally sees at the NFL. And holes close much, much faster in the NFL. Missing all of the preseason as he recovered from arthroscopic surgery didn’t do Richardson any favors as far his transition from college to the professional level.

The healthier he gets and the more acclimated he becomes with what it takes to be a successful runner in this league, the more explosive he will become. In the meantime, I’m good with his consistent ability to get into the end zone when the Browns are close to the goal line.

Courtney – Let’s give Travis Benjamin some more opportunities to run that ball!!

I agree that Benjamin should have the ball in his hands more often, Courtney.

The Browns do have reverse plays that utilize his incredible speed, which serves him so well as a returner and a receiver. But you have don’t want to use those too frequently because they tend to be more effective when they hit defenses by surprise.

I would like to see him involved with more pass plays as he was against the Redskins, streaking past a defender in one-on-one coverage for that 69-yard touchdown catch. His speed is something opponents must honor, and if they don’t, he will burn them for a big play.

I also would like to see more of him in the return game. Josh Cribbs did a nice job against Washington, but Benjamin is the fastest player on the Browns’ roster and their most dynamic game-breaking threat.

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