Cleveland Browns Film Room: Game 1, Richardson’s Debut Part 2

This is the second part of our film study on Trent Richardson’s debut. If you missed part 1 earlier go back and read it first. No, really. Do it.

(Like I wasn’t going to use the sweet graphic again.)

Ok, so we’ve been through three running plays already that gained a total of 4 yards. Let’s take a look at Richardson’s best run, and a fan favorite.

Here we see the three receiver set, with the backs in an I formation again. As I said earlier, this gives the Browns a blocker for every defender in the box, and spreads the defense out. The play is designed to go right, with Marecic leading. I’m guessing that as Richardson took his spot, he noticed the enormous opening between Thomas and Pinkston.

Marecic leads the play, but Lauvao is beaten. There isn’t much room at all on the right side, so Richardson hops to the left and goes through the rather large gap on the left. This is the closest thing we saw to a real burst from Richardson.

Now notice where the defenders are. Richardson has to use Josh Gordon’s block on the safety Coleman if he is going to break this run open. The LB is getting free of Pinkston/Mack in the middle.

What you don’t see but Richardson does is the CB just off the screen to the left. He makes the decision to cut as close to Gordon’s block as possible.

Unfortunately, Gordon’s block is short lived. Richardson decides the best place to go is through Kurt Coleman.

And that is exactly what he does. Result of the play: 9 yards, and a poster of Kurt Coleman getting blown up.

Ok. The very next play (3rd and 1) Richardson gets the carry again.

So let’s do a quick count. Eight blockers for the Browns at the line of scrimmage. Nine defenders at the line for the Eagles, with a tenth not far off. What would you do here? Personally, I think a quick play action pass to Ben Watson on an out route would be the best. Second, I would say a QB sneak between Mack and Lauvao might get a yard and a first down.

Mack and Pinkston double team the DT (red arrow). Schwartz and Watson double team the DE. Someone blew an assignment here. If Mack and Pinkston were supposed to double on the man in the A gap, then Lauvao has to block the LB and Schwartz the DT. But I think the better scheme would be a brush block from Mack on the DT in the A gap, helping Pinkston get position, then Mack meets the LB in the hole. Richardson also has to get to the hole quicker here. This is a 3rd and 1. You can’t take your time getting to the line.

Demeco Ryans destroys this play. Result: loss of 1. Punt.

Let’s move on to another run.

Second quarter, score tied at 3. This is second and ten, after an incomplete pass on first down. Now quick, what do teams usually do after an incompletion on first down? That’s right. They run to try and get something instead of risking third and ten. Alex Smith is about to go in motion. Notice the position of the defenders. Next slide.

Smith went all the way to the left, and the LBs followed him, then he came back to the right and settled behind the guard. The play is designed to go between Thomas and Pinkston on the left. Thanks to the motion, the two linebackers are now in better position to make the play.

Pinkston and Mack again double team. The linebackers are in pursuit of Richardson, and Smith is going to try and cut the SAM LB off.

He is unsuccessful, and Pinkston tries to come off of the double team and get Jenkins. He is not successful either. Result of the play: 1 yard loss.

Let’s move to the second half.

Second and ten after a sack and fumble recovery by Joe Thomas. This is a bit of a draw play.

You can see the pass rushers have certainly bitten on the draw fake. The linebackers are being occupied by Mack and Lauvao. Richardson needs to make a cut and decision here. Is he going to try and squeeze through the gap between Mack and Lauvao, or cut left of Mack and try to get around him.

When you hear an analysts this week say that ‘Richardson lacked explosiveness’, I bet this is one of the plays they point to. Could have been a big gain, instead he kind of trips over himself. I’m pretty sure by his reaction after the play was over that he was angry with himself. Result of the play: 5 yard gain.

One final play.

A simple run to the right. Go between Schwartz and Lauvao and pick up your 6 yards right?

Ugh. Not a great day for the rookie right tackle.

So what did we learn? Did Richardson struggle because he had poor blocking? Did he struggle because he didn’t see any action in the preseason? Did he not trust his knee completely? Did the Eagles front seven play well? Was the play-calling a tad predictable?

I think we can safely say a combination of all of the above. The good news in that mess is that Richardson are Schwartz are certainly likely to improve. I would imagine Trent should even make strides this week. He is a competitor. He’s also the type that would be motivated watching the film of this game to get better, and to help the team win.

Until next week, the film room is closed. Go Browns.

  • MrCleaveland

    Rick, from what I seen, you did somethin’ spectacular.

    This is great. Thanks.

  • NamedMyKidPrice

    I could really blow off work and look at every play for the rest of the day like this. Great work!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Now I feel worse after looking at these stills. Great job Rick! LoL Just kidding very well done and should be educational for people with less football knowledge. I think it’s clear bad formations and even worse blocking put a step slow Richardson clearly behind the eight ball. Perhaps next time Brandon Jackson or even Monterio Hardesty can help lighten TRich’s load and he won’t be forced to carry the ball 19x when it’s clear he’s not up to speed. Just a thought.

    All of those OTAs and preseason games clearly paid off for not only the players but the great coaching staff as well.

  • Ron

    Not a very smart running back……….yet?

  • Ron

    Not a very smart running back……….yet?

  • BuckeyeDawg

    Love the breakdowns…great work.

    What I see here primarily are two rookies playing in their first game (TR and Schwartz) against a very good defense who look like….two rookies playing in their first game against a very good defense. It’s one game…TR’s first since January coming off of an injury and Schwartz’s NFL debut against an all-pro DE.

    If we are still talking about these same issues mid-season, then I’ll get worried.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Not Richardson but the coaching most definitely. Based on lack of practice due to offseason surgery, zero professional games played, the opponent, terrible run blocking and a non-existent passing game I’m just glad Richardson survived.

  • BrownsFanSF

    Love the film room!! Thanks for the breakdown

  • thepaledragon

    Wow, I love the All-11 footage. Great breakdown.

    Do you think the blocking fails are more the result of bad playcalls or bad reads by the linemen? (I know it’s a bit of both, but is it one more than the other?)

  • pdxscott

    this is awesome work. thanks for putting this together.

  • NamedMyKidPrice

    How do you guys get end zone film? I have a buddy that coaches high school football and said they would be useful training tools especially college games.

  • jewpants47

    great breakdown! Just goes to support the argument that RB is the most replaceable position in the game (and not worth a top 15 pick). A solid O-Line is a requirement to have a competent offense. Without running lanes and time to pass – you’re toast!

  • porckchopexpress

    Love these breakdowns thanks! I think the draw play shows why reps with your linemen are so important to a RB. When TR gets past the line of scrimmage and has to make a decision to go left or right of Mack he is probably trying to figure out where Mack is able to go with the defender, likewise Mack doesn’t know where TR is best at taking that run. It will take a while to get familar but once they know each I’m sure you will see more decisiveness out of TR.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Both but more poor execution on the part of the lineman.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I would say it’s moreso bad reads from the offensive line. There should never be a linebacker coming through unblocked when 2 offensive linemen are double-teaming a defensive lineman. That might fall on bad coaching to get the line prepared though.

  • The NFL network has an option for all 22 footage this year as part of the game rewind package. I believe it is $70 something dollars for the season.

    There is no place that I know of to get it for colleges. (I would love it though.)

  • I am going to say more execution than design. Plus, the line has to communicate when they break the huddle and see the defense.

    I would also point out that a veteran QB like Manning would see some of this and audible at the line to a more favorable play.

  • NamedMyKidPrice


  • deebo

    This series is really cool and helps shed insight as to what exactly went down and why and how the breakdowns occurred and how improvements can be made. It also demonstrates the strengths of our opponents. As with most things in life, a combination of factors and players contributed to the poor play. It also helps to elevate the conversation above the Cleveland Sports Misery Death Trap talk. Which, of course, is fully acceptable from week 8+ on (or with even with the mere mention of the Indians) if this sort of play continues and the rookies and the handful of second year players and coaching staff don’t improve. Thank you. Again, this series is one of the reasons why WFNY is one of the best Cleveland sports sites and consistently has been in the several years I have been reading. Oh and yes, Go Browns!

  • mgbode

    most amazing part of this package (both sets) is how quickly Philly seemingly is plugging these holes.

    if you do it for the other side of things, then the holes stay open longer I’d bet (from watching it).

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    Are you suggesting he get up to speed by playing less?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Richardson was clearly a step slow and no amount of carries in one single game would have made him better. Because so and because he was coming off a surgery which caused him to miss the entire preseason I didn’t see the benefit of running him 19x no. If you looked at the picture stills you’d see many if not all of his runs were tough, highly contested runs which made his workload all that more difficult. Don’t forget this is the same team who didn’t want to risk injuring their rookie QB so they didn’t play him in the last preseason game.

  • TSR3000

    This is great. A+

  • Kildawg

    TRich should light up the Bengals given that their D-line isn’t as talented as Philly’s and the fact that Maualuga provoked him. TRich,smash (especially Maualuga, make his helmet fly farther than Coleman’s).

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    I wasn’t talking about “one single game”, and neither were you since you said “perhaps next time”. I don’t think we get the rookies up to game speed by benching them. You might believe differently, to each his own.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I never said anything remotely close to benching him I said you don’t run your #1 overall pick who came off a surgery which caused him to miss the entire preseason 19x. AND if you do perhaps you can run him somewhere other then off guard.

  • Should’ve kept Hillis

  • mgbode

    some guy named Draughn took over goalline duties for KC in the 2nd half. just saying.