Trent Richardson, Peyton Hillis and Watchable Football

For all the explosion that Trent Richardson was missing against the Eagles, he seemed to have in excess this week against the Bengals. Sure the numbers were great. Over 100 yards on the ground, over 35 receiving and a touchdown in either category, but it was what you can’t see in the box score which is most exciting. Trent Richardson made guys miss. He seemed quick to the edge. He was physical and domineering when he needed to be.

Somehow with all the violence, there is something much smoother about watching Richardson than the last hopeful Browns running back Peyton Hillis. When Hillis ran you sometimes held your breath wondering if he was going to get hurt or fumble the ball. Hillis was electric, don’t get me wrong, but it was so very unconventional watching a man of his size hurdle defenders.

It just doesn’t feel at all similar watching Trent Richardson, even at this early juncture in his career. It probably has a lot to do with him being drafted so high. Despite the Browns well-documented history drafting busts toward the top of the draft, it still feels much more comfortable to place expectations – even high ones – on a guy like Trent Richardson than it did on Peyton Hillis even after his extraordinary year.

I know it’s hindsight, but ask yourself if Browns fans would have overreacted to that same 1,177 yard season if it came from Trent Richardson. I know a lot of people liked to talk about the racial angle with Peyton Hillis.1 but I think it probably had a lot more to do with the fact that he was an oversized guy who came out of nowhere than it did his whiteness.

Obviously, Trent Richardson is only batting 50% in his first two games as a pro. Still, his track record in college looked a hell of a lot like what he put up against the Bengals as opposed to what happened against the Eagles in his first meaningful pro action after missing the entire pre-season.

It’s just exciting to say that. Trent Richardson put up a pretty impressive performance without any gimmicks – just hard, physical play – in only his second piece of NFL action.  The Browns might have finally found a truly special player. They might have finally found one that approaches the hype let alone lives up to it. Even in a loss Trent Richardson had the kind of day that makes you want to come back and watch them play again next week.

The offense lacked that the entire season last year and while there are no “moral victories” in the Browns locker room, there appears to be watchable football forthcoming in your living rooms this year.

That’s something.

It’s something because Trent Richardson just might be something too.

  1. Yeah, that’s kind of vague, but I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn. []

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Not fair to compare Hillis and Richardson they are two completely different types of running backs. Hillis is a pure bulldozer who has had sporatic success meanwhile Richardson is more of a pure RB who possesses both speed and power. If Richardson can stay healthy he’ll be the most dynamic player the offense has seen in nearly two decades.

  • Big Z

    Weeden and Richardson looked WAY better! Here’s to some watchable football!

  • Dee P

    Still don’t understand why it’s not unsportsmanlike conduct to throw a player’s shoe down the field after a play…

  • I would have been nice to have both Richardson and Hillis in the backfield this year. And it would have been quite affordable, too.

  • They are the last two offensive players that gave Browns fans hope. They both run the ball. Seemed like a worthy comparison to me.

  • LaundroMat

    Agreed. Very worthwhile comparison.

  • Natedawg86

    Why is OB 1 still on the team? TRich amazes me. To me, it just feels like we have been missing this for so long.

  • Dee P


    1. Lost two games to a pre-season Super Bowl contender, and a 2011-12 playoff team, by a combined 8 points.

    2. Young play-makers bounced back with a 2-touchdown 100-yard rushing game, and a 2-touchdown, no interception, 300+ yard passing game.

    3. Receivers did a great job catching and hanging on to absolute bullets from our QB. No drops, no deflections leading to interceptions, and also did a wonderful job getting open.

    3. Defensive line improved against the run, while still maintaining decent pressure on the quarterback – while missing it’s best player.

    4. Middle linebacker keeps increasing his soon to be NFL-star status.

    5. Our 3rd and 4th corners were attacked, but team still had a chance to win despite them being unable to tackle anything….different story with our 1 and 2.

    6. A punt return…..two critical defensive penalties after a 3rd down stop….and a critical fumble by our 3rd/4th string RB after a key 3rd down conversion cost us the win…..and that’s WITH our poor tackling performance.

    This team’s arrow is pointing straight up boys….we are on our way.

  • BenRM

    I think Peyton’s immense popularity (outside of Cleveland) was due in most part to his incredible value as a fantasy football waiver pick-up.

  • Hopwin

    Is this the thread where we laugh at Dream Team RAC? Remember the year after we missed the playoffs under him when we had like 6 national games and they scrambled to get us off once it became apparent that Team RAC blew. It feels like that all over again.

    Seriously, does anyone know why the media keeps trying to cram RAC down the collective national throat?

  • gruvedaddy

    FINALLY something to watch on Sundays! Trent and Weeden are going to have their ups and downs, but it should be a fun year watching these two.

  • Garry_Owen

    I wish I had said it all along, but let me just state the obvious now that drafting Richardson was an awesome, genius move. I loved what I saw yesterday.

  • Me either,I guess having no class is not important in football.

  • Jaker

    I’m confused too because they threw the flag then picked it back up. What happened?… And is it just me or did it seem like the calls went one way all day? I could be wrong but I never complain about officiating, but this time just seemed a little one sided

  • Jaker

    Love this comment, great points made