Trent Richardson has been getting a lot of carries lately.
The Cleveland Browns running back receives so many carries that some Browns fans are wondering if Richardson is being over-worked. (FYI: He's 12 games into his NFL career.) That's the opposite problem Kansas City Chiefs fans usually have with Jamaal Charles.
I talked with Chris Pokorny of Dawgs By Nature, SB Nation's Browns blog, and he talked about the third overall pick.
"The Browns have had some issues with overworking running back Trent Richardson since Week 8," Pokorny wrote to me. "Some might say, 'Hey, you took him with the third overall pick, why not use him?' For one, Richardson has never been 100 percent this season, as he has dealt with knee and rib injuries. Richardson received 24, 25, 28, and 29 carries in consecutive weeks. During that span, the backup running backs were not being utilized whatsoever. In the win over the Steelers, Richardson played in 97 percent of the snaps."
Wow! Look at those carries. Charles has games of 33, 30, 27 and 23 carries but not in a row and he also has games of 5 and 6 carries. So, things even out for him. But Richardson has been getting 20-plus carries for each of the last five weeks. And, as expected, his yards per carry average is decreasing.
"I know the Chiefs have sometimes been on the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of utilizing Jamaal Charles, but 97 percent seems a little too extreme for any running back," Pokorny continued. "To Pat Shurmur's credit, he lessened Richardson's workload against Oakland (last week), and our backup, Montario Hardesty, looked fresh in bursting for 39 yards on 5 carries. We'll see how the coaching staff handles things moving forward."
Methinks Trent Richardson is going to be ineffective this game. Richardson's yards per carry, starting five weeks ago: 5.1, 4.2, 3.4, 2.9 and 3.6. So, yeah, seems like he's wearing down.
"Browns fans have grown a little frustrated with Richardson's running style in short-yardage situations because he tends to "dance around" too much rather than just driving through the first hole he sees," Pokorny wrote. "His performance to make things happen as a receiver has been better than his running style to this point.
"Don't get me wrong -- we're still very supportive of Richardson, but the bar is going to be set really high when you're the third overall pick. For the great holes that our offensive line has given Richardson, a 3.6 yards per carry average is stunningly low."
This is also kind of a neat stat: Charles has seven LESS carries than Richardson but 228 MORE yards.
So Jamaal ... pretty damn good.