Can Norv Turner Help Develop Trent Richardson into an Elite Running Back?

By Tyler Ash
Trent Richardson
Rick Osentoski- US Presswire

Norv Turner may have been a mediocre head coach, but his stints as an offensive coordinator have been extremely successful. He had stints as an offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers (2006), the Miami Dolphins (2002-03), the San Diego Chargers (2001) and the Dallas Cowboys (1991-93) recently. Not only did Turner help the Cowboys win consecutive Super Bowl titles in 1992 and 1993, but he also has had immense success developing his running backs into becoming the best in the league.

Turner’s system has produced the NFL’s league leading rusher five times through three different players via Emmitt Smith (1991-1993 for the Cowboys), Ricky Williams (2002 for the Dolphins) and LaDainian Tomlinson (2007 with the Chargers). This raises the question then if new Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Turner can help develop current Browns running back Trent Richardson into the great running back he is capable of becoming.

Richardson had knee surgery in the preseason of last year to remove a hang nail particle of loose cartilage that was aggravating Richardson’s knee.  This surgery hindered Richardson’s agility in the opening week of the season as he was only able to rush for 39 yards versus the Philadelphia Eagles. But Richardson was able to rush for 109 yards the next week against the Cincinnati Bengals, running in a touchdown and catching a touchdown reception.

In Week 7 of the regular season, Richardson experienced discomfort with his ribs, forcing him out of the game. After the season, word got out that Richardson played nine games with broken ribs. Despite all the injuries Richardson faced, he ran for an impressive 950 yards and scored 11 rushing touchdowns.  His 950 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns scored were Cleveland Browns rookie records, besting the rookie production of legendary Browns running back Jim Brown, one of the greatest running backs to ever live.

With the toughness and durability shown by Richardson, along with the new addition of Norv Turner, the Browns could have immense success in the running game. The Browns offensive line has its strong positions with all-pro left tackle Joe Thomas, 2011 pro-bowl center Alex Mack and rookie right tackle Mitchell Schwartz.  The rest of the offensive is a bit suspect though. The Browns in particular need help at the guard position to help the running game open up.

Overall, the Browns ranked 12th in pass protection and 20th in run blocking, so the offensive line needs help.  If the Browns can sure up their offensive line, then Norv Turner has the chance to help Trent Richardson become one of the best running backs in the NFL. Richardson has all the skills necessary with his brute running style and his quick cuts against defenders to become a top five running back next season.

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