|Richardson gained 8 yards Sunday. (Getty Images)|
The plan was supposed to go something like this: The Browns' two first-round picks, running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeden, were to have no small role in taking the organization from perpetual laughingstock to a respectable team annually vying for a playoff spot. The best-laid plans, as they say.
Instead, the Browns are off to a 1-6 start and Richardson found himself on the bench for the second half of Sunday's loss to the Colts because, as coach Pat Shurmur explained, "We just kind of didn't feel like he could play as effective as he'd been."
The running back managed eight yards on eight carries before he was banished to the sideline, though to be fair, Richardson was battling a rib injury. And it's not your garden-variety "rub some dirt on it and put on this flak jacket" bump or bruise. It's extremely painful.
"Coach didn't think I was as I usually am," Richardson said via the Akron Beacon Journal. "That's something I have to swallow. It's a process trying to get back. The injury I have is much bigger than what folks think it is, and I don't want to do anything to hurt the team. I'm not myself out there right now. You look at me, I guess I'm not running hard like I'm used to, so I'm not out there right now. So it is worse than what people think it is."
That's a problem for an offense that was already short on experience and playmakers. With that in mind, does Richardson think he should've been benched?
“That's something you will have to ask Pat (Shurmur),” Richardson said. “For me, I thought I should have been in the game, but that's any athlete, anyone who has that fight in him and is competitive. I'm proud of what (replacement) Montario (Hardesty) did. He always does a great job when he gets in. Coach made a smart decision.”
Could the Browns stage a miraculous turnaround, finish the season strong and maybe get to .500? Um, no. In fact, you could simulate the Browns' remaining nine games billions of times, PredictionMachine.com style, and the likelihood they'd finish 8-8 would be infinitesimal. Which means that there's no rush to get Richardson back on the field until he's healthy.
And according to Shurmur, that could be this Sunday.