April 24, 2014

Trent Richardson generating rookie fantasy excitement

Many Cleveland Browns fans have taken to their fantasy football teams for enjoyment since 1999 as the real Browns have struggled. For the first time in a long time, fantasy owners might just be looking to the Browns for excitement.

Here’s the thing with Trent Richardson: He projects as a true workhorse running back in his rookie season, and there just aren’t many guys like that in the player pool. It would be a huge surprise if a healthy Richardson failed to finish with 300-plus touches. Yes, he’s tied to an underwhelming offense — his team averaged just 13.6 points per game last year — but he’s such a massive upgrade for Cleveland. Just two years ago, Peyton Hillis topped 1600 scrimmage yards for the Browns, crossing the goal line 13 times. Richardson is a more talented runner, by orders of magnitude.

Just to put things in perspective, 300+ touches is Frank Gore territory. Maurice Jones-Drew led the league with 343 rushing attempts and added 43 receptions if you want to see the extremely high numbers. In Peyton Hillis’ breakout year in 2010, he carried the ball 270 times and also had 61 receptions. That just goes to show how involved the outside world expects Trent Richardson to be in the Browns’ offense this year. Let’s hope those touches turn out to be yards and TDs too, by the way.

And to think all we can do is seemingly talk about quarterbacks, none of whom were drafted anywhere near as highly as Trent Richardson.

[Related: Colt McCoy Through the Lens of Brady Quinn]

Another view of Peter King’s stat of the week regarding running backs

Peter King does great work and his Monday Morning Quarterback column is a must-read. He has some really enlightening information in the column even if you sometimes question his sources. Obviously Tom Heckert does, as he blatantly told the Cleveland press this week that he hasn’t talked to King in years. Be that as it may, King was talking about the 2012 NFL draft and the Browns’ potential for taking running back Trent Richardson.

I know it’s fashionable to give Trent Richardson, far and away the best back in this draft, to Cleveland at No. 4 in round one Thursday. But with the game becoming more and more of an aerial show, the Browns should be thinking hard about their choice before Thursday.

Six teams in the NFL won 12 or more games last year. Here are those teams, and where the leading rusher on each ranked in league rushing stats last season:

Team Record Leading Rusher NFL Rank
Green Bay 15-1 James Starks 39
New England 13-3 BenJarvus Green-Ellis 27
New Orleans 13-3 Darren Sproles 33
San Francisco 13-3 Frank Gore 6
Baltimore 12-4 Ray Rice 2
Pittsburgh 12-4 Rashard Mendenhall 21

 

Ack! That is terrifying. Maybe the Browns should just draft Justin Blackmon! [Read more...]

Browns D is Good, But Ravens D is Great

While certainly far from perfect,  (A.J. Green can attest) the Browns defense is pretty good.  In total defense Cleveland is sixth in yards.  They are sixth in passing yards allowed per game.  They are 29th in rushing yards allowed per game, which stinks.  The Browns also don’t take the ball away enough to be considered anything better than just good.  They’ve only converted six interceptions and six fumbles into possession changes.  But they are ninth in points allowed at just 19.6 per game.

As a defense, when you allow fewer than three touchdowns per game, you should be giving your team a chance to win more times than not.  We all know the Browns have played a pretty weak schedule.  They’ve been fortunate a few times as well.  I’m thinking most specifically about getting to miss Marshawn Lynch in the Seattle game.  So, I will grant you that.  The good news is that the Browns defense is extremely young, so you hope that this year is kind of a baseline.  They’re good, not great.  This Sunday, unfortunately, the Browns will have a chance to see a Ravens defense which is still truly great. [Read more...]

What Do You Want to See This Weekend Against Houston?

Forget the stupid statements like “I want to see the Browns win!”  We obviously all want to see that, despite the fact that the Browns are 11 point underdogs heading down to Houston.  Obviously we’d love to see the Browns come out and play like we haven’t seen them play this year and win against a legitimate playoff contender and division leader.  Beyond that, the game within the game, what would you like to see?

In case you haven’t noticed, this is a rebuilding season as the Browns figure out what they have and more importantly what they don’t.  They’ve rolled the dice and won like on the defensive line.    They’ve also rolled the dice and lost like thinking the receivers on the roster from last year were going to develop quickly or at all.  (See Robiskie, Brian)  So, we all know where they stand now.   The best thing that could happen to this team is that they start to figure out how to play together.  Here’s what I want to see without sarcasm.

Jordan Norwood period.  Josh Cribbs seems disenchanted and discouraged.  Massaquoi and Little have shown spots, but remain inconsistent targets for Colt McCoy.  Jordan Norwood seemed to provide the first big target for McCoy since he was able to check down incessantly to Peyton Hillis week one against the Bengals.  It is ironic that a guy as little as Norwood could be a “big target,” but it isn’t surprising that the quickest guy on the field might be able to get open against a nickel corner, linebacker or safety. [Read more...]

Week 8: The Browns Will Win If…

The Browns are 3-3. How is that possible? After a game against Seattle that set offensive football (and I do mean offensive! [rim shot]) back 40 years, the Browns will find their task much tougher this week as they travel to the left coast to play the red hot 49ers. Maybe Jim Harbaugh will cause Pat Shurmur to finally snap and go Jim Schwartz stark raving mad afterward.

browns49ers

The Browns’ offense has become a liability. The Browns’ special teams have become a liability. Awesome, because the 49ers are second-best in the league on defense in terms of points-allowed per game, and have one of the best ST coordinators (Brad Seely, remember him?) in the game. The 49ers’ offense actually is worse than the Browns’ in terms of yards per game, but they are strong running the ball (131.5 yards per game, which is 6th in the NFL). The Browns’ defense is coming off of a great performance in shutting down the Seahawks dreadful attack. It will not be so easy this week.

Oh, and that guy Braylon Edwards… remember him? He’s on this 49ers team. Without further ado…

The Browns Will Win If…