Trent Richardson is going to be unleashed on the Detroit Lions in the Great Lakes Classic on Thursday. This is the first time Richardson will be 100% healthy for a game in his Browns career and the first time he has run healthy since he was in Tuscaloosa. As a result, however long he is in the game, the Browns will have the most accurate representation of what they are hoping to bring to the table against the Miami Dolphins in week one of the regular season and it will be an interesting look at Rod Chudzinski’s offense going to the 2013 NFL season, even if it is a somewhat vanilla version.
Even before the ribs and the flak jacket, Richardson was recovering from arthroscopic knee injury to clean up scar tissue last season. When his knee was healthy, he had broken ribs. The Richardson that was extremely impressive against the Giants and Bengals was still not the Richardson that the Browns should have this year. According to Richardson, he is lighter and feels great. He is also a little lighter than he was last year, so he should be much quicker. As effective as Brandon Weeden was against the Rams, Richardson is the guy who is supposed to drive the bus in this offense and his ability to run the ball should only help to create more opportunities for Weeden and the passing game.
It is unclear just how much work Richardson will get against the Lions, but after looking impressive in training camp and coming off of last year laden with injuries, the entire fan base of the Browns is excited to see what Trent Richardson can do, including Trent Richardson. He might not even be 100% sure what he can do at this point and just how good he can be. There is probably going to be a combination of excitement and nerves within Richardson when he lines up and it would not be surprised to see him so overly amped up that he needs to get hit to calm down the adrenaline and settle in to the offense.
Whether Richardson gets a couple carries or an entire half of work, he is poised to have a breakout season and the Lions may be the first to see just how good he can be. As good as Dion Lewis may be, he is not Trent Richardson and that is going to have an enormous impact on what this offense can do and how much it will alter what defenses are able to do. Lewis getting to slide into more of a specialist role may only increase how good he can be. While the rubber may not really hit the road until the Miami Dolphins, it is difficult not to get excited to see what Richardson can do Thursday and chances are, every step he takes will be overanalyzed, but the Browns and really the rest of the league is waiting with bated breath to see just how good the former Tide back can be in this offense.