April 18, 2014

You Can’t Underestimate the Importance of Trent Richardson

I’ve said before that I think Browns fans have already taken Trent Richardson for granted. In a lot of ways, even without seeing anything from him other than some training camp time, Browns fans have just plugged him in for somewhere around Peyton Hillis numbers pre-Madden. Really, what else should fans do with a guy drafted number three overall? Even with all that Browns fans are counting on, it is a mistake to underestimate the importance of Richardson to the Browns franchise overall.

It’s possible that the Browns could end up O.K. even if Trent Richardson was a total bust, I guess. Maybe Brandon Weeden and the young receivers along with Jordan Cameron become an efficient touchdown-scoring unit along with an offensive line that learns to play together like blood brothers. Anything’s possible. Just ask Brandon Jackson who helped the 10-6 Packers get to a Super Bowl and beat the Steelers after Ryan Grant went down injured in the first game of the year. Of course if he was being honest Jackson might also point to Aaron Rodgers and his counterparts on that Green Pay Packers defense. The point in all this silliness, of course, is that it is much easier to see the Browns becoming a good team with Trent Richardson being the key piece on offense.

As an aside, this is why I really don’t care if Richardson plays this weekend. The Eagles game is just one of (hopefully) many, and the Browns are wild underdogs in it anyway. If there’s any doubt about Richardson being ready to go, it makes all the sense in the world to just wait.

It would stink to wait because of how much the Browns are counting on Richardson to be the glue for this offense. You know how you crush a pass rush? Run straight through it so the pass rushers can’t pin their ears back. You know how you protect a rookie QB from getting on a bad streak of passes and interceptions? Run the ball successfully to get that in a linebacker’s head and open up the field for the young receivers. Point being that you put all these pieces in place on offense and then hope your best player can help make them all work together better. Trent Richardson was drafted to be that guy. For so many people in the Browns organization and on the Browns roster, he needs to be that guy.

Whenever the Browns do get a healthy Richardson on the field, he should be by far the biggest year-over-year position player addition in the entire AFC North division. The Bengals have A.J. Green, the Ravens have Ray Rice and the Steelers have Mike Wallace and Browns fans thought they would be able to tout Peyton Hillis, once upon a time. That didn’t work out, but in an ideal world, by the end of this season, fans will be able to say the Browns have Trent Richardson.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Absolutely agree with you Craig for me he’s hands down the most important part of the offense which makes his health all that more important. If there is a shred of doubt or anything remotely hindering him either he shouldn’t play or he should be used in a limited manner because I can’t envision him making a difference against Philadelphia. Not coming off an offseason surgery that caused him to miss every game and nearly 90% of the practices.

  • mgbode

    I’m not sure if the collective fans are taking him for granted or holding their breath on the injury status.

  • http://twitter.com/bbo13 B-bo

    Sit him as long as he needs to be 100%, mentally and physically. Fact is, this opening matchup is going in the “L” column, with or without him. Let him get into a flow in practices and let the knee heal 100% (or as close as it will get), then put him out there with the best chance to succeed.

  • http://twitter.com/bbo13 B-bo

    I, for one, am in the “holding their breath” camp. Knees on a RB are not something to be reckless with.

  • Harv 21

    Hmmm. Do you mean :
    “You Shouldn’t Underestimate the Importance of Trent Richardson”?
    Or maybe:
    “You Can’t Overestimate the Importance of Trent Richardson”?

  • mgbode

    sadly, after living through Courtney Brown, Lee Suggs, and Peyton Hillis, I am in that camp as well (1 high draft pick and 2 RBs all with injury issues holding them back — I pray Richardson never makes his way into the group).

  • Sloejoe

    It’s not like he is an actual journalist. You can never underestimate the education of bloggers.

  • MrCleaveland

    NERD ALERT, NERD ALERT, NERD ALERT

    Men, grab your Eats Shoots and Leaves and rendevous at Checkpoint Strunk. ON THE DOUBLE!

  • Harv 21

    rendezvous … good one. Dude, we are stuck on the corner of Strunk & White.

  • Harv 21

    Craig’s great, and I wouldn’t bother busting his chops if his work wasn’t already at such a high standard. I can’t write a comment without an error. Imagine trying to do an interesting column a day while holding down a full-time day gig.