Eight weeks later, the Trent Richardson trade looks like nothing shy of a brilliant franchise move from the Cleveland Browns. The Indianapolis Colts sent a first round pick to Cleveland for Richardson on Sept. 18. Since joining the Colts, Richardson has averaged 2.8 yards per carry. He has rushed for no more than 60 yards in a single game and been virtually useless in Indy’s offense.
On Thursday night, the Colts were able to manufacture a comeback win over the Tennessee Titans despite Richardson’s uninspiring play. The former Alabama star rushed for 22 yards on eight carries, while backup running back Donald Brown racked up 80 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. On Friday, Chuck Pagano was asked if he had any explanation.
“I don’t know if he’s snake bit, I don’t know what the heck is going on,” the Colts coach said, via Eye on Football. “We’ll get it fixed. We’ll get the holes there. He’s making the right reads, he’s doing all the right things, he knows what to do. He played great without the ball, protection-wise, those things. His numbers are going to come. I’m not concerned about that.”
That’s a flat-out lie from Pagano, who has to be concerned that his team gave up a first-round pick for a player who looks like a classic NFL bust. Brown ran behind the same offensive line and was much more explosive than Richardson. Still, Pagano tried to defend the former No. 3 overall pick by blaming the guys in front of him.
“You look at Trent’s runs, for whatever reason, there’s penetration, a guy is pulling and falls down,” he said. “There’s a guy in the backfield waiting there. He had some really good runs, plays that he made in space, screens, things like that he does a great job with. That’s going to come.”
That is true in some instances, but there are also plenty of runs where Richardson simply doesn’t run hard. He has shown very little speed and has not made tacklers miss. The more we see, the more it looks like Browns legend Jim Brown was spot-on with his unpopular assessment of Richardson’s ability. Unless Richardson turns into a completely different player, it’s safe to say Cleveland robbed the Colts.