After questions were raised about him during the NFL Draft last year, rookie Trent Richardson showed power, strength and a relentless running style that gave Cleveland Browns fans hope for the future. Yet, as the season wore on, Trent Richardson began to wear down, and showed the same injury woes that made people question him as he pounded the ball for Alabama.
Even during OTA’s this season, Richardson found himself sidelined with a shin injury. The violent, incredibly impressive style which the massive back runs with lends itself to injury, whether it is on an opposing defense, or Richardson himself.
Unfortunately for Cleveland Browns fans, and Richardson himself, the Browns are not getting any better. Quarterback Brandon Weeden has proven to be unremarkable at best, and certainly won’t instill fear into opposing defenses. As a result, Richardson should see the same stacked box that he did at the end of 2012, when he was playing through injuries to average a dismal Yards per Carry Average.
Cleveland’s 2012 offensive line efficiency was 20th in the NFL, and it ranked 29th in power rushing yards. Despite Richardson being a between the tackles runner, he was funneled and could not break to the outside due to the ineffectiveness of the offensive line. Cleveland ranked 31st in open field yards last year, despite having an explosive running back and a star in Joe Thomas at left tackle.
A lot of people are buying into the Cleveland Browns offensive line, but I am not one of them. They certainly didn’t make a splash in this year’s free agency, or in this year’s draft, which was rich with lineman.
Overall, the Browns’ line is still in a period of transition, with pieces developing, and being forced to spot-start due to injury. If they can remain healthy, they in turn should help Richardson stay off the injury report. But, it is still too soon to tell, so for now, it looks like the pieces are lining up for Trent Richardson’s 2012 to have been a fluke.
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