While it may sound strange, considering he was the No. 3 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and that his team actually traded up a couple of spots in order to select him, there is at least the possibility that the Cleveland Browns may bench running back Trent Richardson during the final couple of games of the 2012 NFL season.
Then again, maybe bench carries the wrong connotation. That may be too negative.
Perhaps, rest would be more pleasant to the ears of the Dawg Pound in Cleveland?
Richardson is getting plenty of carries, but he is struggling to get much going on the ground. While his carries continue to increase, his yards per carry average fails to get much better. Behind a solid offensive line – one in which Montario Hardesty has had little difficulty running behind – Richardson has not produced nearly as well as fellow 2012 NFL Draft picks, including some who were not even taken in the first couple of days, such as Alfred Morris of the Washington Redskins. Richardson is also well behind Doug Martin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It could be the fact that Richardson has hit that dreaded rookie wall. It could be that he has never recovered from his two knee surgeries within a one year span. It could be that the earlier rib injury he suffered could be hampering him more than it was originally believed.
The Browns hope that it is a combination of all of those contributing factors, and less to do with the fact that Richardson is just not going to be that good in the NFL. Cleveland is certainly hoping the Richardson will become more productive in his second year than fellow Alabama Crimson Tide running back mate Mark Ingram has been as a member of the New Orleans Saints.
The bottom line is that the Browns are unlikely to bench Richardson over the final few games of the season. They should not feel the need to sit him completely during the last three games, although they may feel obligated to give him less work just so that he doesn’t get too over-worked. They still feel as if he is going to be a Pro-Bowl running back for them for many years going forward, although they may feel that it is in his best interests to shut him down or at least decrease his workload with nothing on the line once again as another season comes to a timely end in Cleveland.