Richardson still merits the hype

Posted by Vic Carucci on December 21, 2012 – 12:02 am

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:

Iaabo – I just don’t see how Trent Richardson is getting all the hype, unless the injuries are more than reported and he just can’t do things yet. He doesn’t hit the hole quickly and rarely kicks it out and goes around end. He tries to run over guys weighing almost twice as much and the decisions are not always the best. Granted, good hands, likes to stick his nose in there, and talks a good game. But what is his longest run? This isn’t college anymore, and if our line is as good as a lot of folks say, he should have many more yards.

Although I’ll concede that the total yards aren’t as much as one would expect for someone as highly touted as Richardson, Iabbo, I don’t agree that the hype is unwarranted.

Richardson has an abundance of talent, and has only scratched the surface so far. The fact he has broken Jim Brown’s rookie record with 11 touchdown runs, alone, makes him worthy of all of the praise he can get. Producing those scores takes a high level of skill that many Browns backs who preceded Richardson didn’t have when they were near the goal line.

No, he does not always hit the hole as hard as you would like, and that has played role in his not having a more impressive yards total. His sore ribs could be a factor in that, but I also think it is his not yet making the full transition from consistently running through gaping holes at Alabama to getting narrower openings in the NFL.

Yes, the Browns’ offensive line is doing a very nice job of providing daylight for the run, but even the biggest openings in the NFL are generally smaller than those at the collegiate level. So it is incumbent upon Richardson to develop that understanding and adjust to it. That will come with time.

You mentioned that he rarely bounces to the outside, but I would point out, first, that his most effective running comes between the tackles, and, second, on his second touchdown run against Washington last week, he did an amazing job of bouncing the run outside on his way to the end zone.

Geoffrey – Why don’t the Browns use Travis Benjamin more often to stretch other teams’ defenses?

I think you’re going to see more of Benjamin’s game-breaking speed incorporated into the offense through the final two games, Geoffrey.

He had been slowed for a while by a sore hamstring, and that greatly limited his involvement in the passing game. Now that he has recovered, he is better able to do the sort of thing he did against the Redskins: streaking free on a go route for a 69-yard touchdown catch.

With a strong-armed quarterback such as Brandon Weeden, Browns coach Pat Shurmur and offensive coordinator Brad Childress are eager to design and call pass plays that maximize Benjamin’s remarkable speed.

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