CLEVELAND – Not even 24 hours after pulling off the most shocking—and controversial–move since cutting civic icon Bernie Kosar due to “diminishing skills”, the Cleveland Browns may have either made a bold move in building their future, or another bone-headed maneuver that has become atypical for the once storied and now star-crossed franchise.
After announcing the demotion of former second-round pick—and perennial drop artist—Greg Little to No.3 and promoting third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer to starter OVER second-stringer Jason Campbell, Cleveland really dropped the ball in trading it’s best player in Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2014 first-round pick.
Besides the way in how the trade went down—in a truly classless and gutless manner in which Richardson found out about the trade—via radio, bad and questionable personnel decisions like this are why the Browns have gone thru 19—that’s right!, 19—different quarterbacks and classless moves such as this are why the Browns are the laughingstock of the NFL once again, and that if Jimmy Haslam ever decides to put a roof on First Energy Stadium, it should be a circus tent.
Before the trade, Hall of fame running back—and arguably the greatest player in NFL history—Jim Brown made a comment calling Richardson ordinary, at first many fans thought that Brown’s remarks about the former Alabama running back were out of line and tended to harshly criticize Brown.
Looking back and in hindsight, perhaps his comments served more as a prophetic truth then a blind truth. If one were to purely look at the production that Richardson has put up—or failed to do due to his high draft status—this is either the biggest trade since Hershel Walker or another case of Cleveland being Cleveland.
In 17 career games, Richardson has rushed for 1,055 yards, 11 touchdowns—one receiving—and averaged 3.5 yards(39thth overall) after averaging 5.8 in college. If there is one number that may prove the Hall-of-Famer’s candid comments correct, it is the 3.5 rushing average.
3.5? For a top-five pick out of possibly the best conference in college football?
Perhaps considering his string of injuries and his lack of perceived home-run ability, it seems that Cleveland has other plans beyond 2014, and unfortunately for Richardson, he appeared to be a bad fit in Rob Chudzinski’s new offense.
For all of his physical attributes and skills, Richardson had problems hitting the hole and being decisive–with stutter-stepping that would have landed him on “Dancing With The Stars”–in running downhill. Richardson in Indianapolis makes the Colts a perennial playoff contender, because in Cleveland, he would have suffered behind a suspect offensive line and lack of playmakers downfield, would have doomed him to an even more injury-plagued career.
One must also look at the new front office of Mike Lombardi and Joe Banner did not draft Richardson, and clearly were not sold on him in 2013. Richardson didn’t help himself in rushing for 105 yards and averaging 3.4 yards in two games.
So can one justify why Richardson went so high, was it because he was in a system that oversold his value and played behind a stacked team in Tuscaloosa? Not to bash or attack the 15-time national champion Crimson Tide, but besides 2005 NFL MVP, can anyone name a decent and serviceable Alabama running back coached by Nick Saban since 2007?
Glen Coffee, Mark Ingram and Eddie Lacy?
In 14 games with the 49ers, Coffee rushed for 226 yards and averaged 2.7 yards a carry after averaging 4.6 yards in college and 5.9 his senior year, before retiring abruptly in 2010.
Lacy? Too early to tell, since he has only played in two games and has 15 touches for 51 yards and one touchdown. Lacy has averaged 3.4 yards so far after averaging a staggering 6.9 in college and practically turning the so-called—and overhyped—Manti Te’o-led Notre Dame No.1-ranked defense into his personal combine in the BCS Championship Game.
Mark Ingram? Decent, but not the game-changer he was at Alabama, and has since been used primarily as an extra body behind Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles. In three years, the former Heisman Trophy winner has rushed for 1,107 yards and averaged 3.8 yards for the saints after averaging 5.5 yards for ‘Bama.
The fore-mentioned Alexander? Possibly the best running back ever to come out of ‘Bama in being named to three Pro Bowls (2003,2004 and 2005), two-time all-Pro(2004,2005) and AP’s NFL Offensive player & MVP in leading the Seahawks to Super Bowl XL, would be bothered by injuries after his heyday in the Pacific Northwest.
It’s no secret that Saban rides his running backs harder than a rodeo cowboy rides a steer, but based upon the above stats, Alabama running backs flop as much as USC quarterbacks in the pros.
So the question is, was Richardson overrated because of the team and conference he played in?
That remains to be seen, but if Brown’s words do prove true, then Richardson’s time donning the fabled blue and white horseshoe—and his number #33—of the Colts will be short-lived.
#Browns #FactoryOfSadness #Colts #OnlyInCleveland
Robert D. Cobb is the Founder/CEO/Senior Editor-In-Chief Of The Inscriber : Digital Magazine, for questions, comments and concerns email me at [email protected] and follow the Inscriber : Digital Magazine on Twitter at @TheInscriber