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.
It’s something because Trent Richardson just might be something too.
- Yeah, that’s kind of vague, but I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn. [↩]