After being released by the Colts, Trent Richardson compared his career path to that of Marshawn Lynch. He not only predicted that he’d be a starter at his next stop, but also that he’d be one of the top running backs in the league from here on out. Richardson has since signed a 2-year deal with the Raiders. So does he have a chance to rebound in Oakland like Lynch did in Seattle?
The odds are not very good. Marshawn Lynch had already rushed for 1,000 yards twice, and averaged 4.0 yards per carry in his career with the Bills before being dealt to the Seahawks in the middle of his 4th season. Richardson has never rushed for 1,000 yards in a season, and his career yards per carry currently stands at 3.3.
Stats aside, there is a major difference between Marshawn Lynch and Trent Richardson. Lynch is a physical runner, who displays explosion out of his cuts and has deceptive quickness. He had this in Buffalo, but got in trouble there because he would look to hit the big play too often instead of sticking with the design of the run. For a big, physical back, he tried to bounce it more than he should have. When he got to Seattle, he corrected this issue, and turned into the dominant back we all know today.
While Lynch’s issues had to do with style, Richardson’s have to do with talent. He isn’t anywhere near what Lynch is as a runner. He doesn’t explode out of his cuts. Instead, he merely changes directions when he runs. There is no burst. He doesn’t run over defenders. He doesn’t make anyone miss, and he certainly doesn’t outrun anyone.
Making life more difficult for Richardson is the fact that Oakland’s offensive line does not create a lot of space for its running backs. Not to mention, Richardson will be competing for the starting job with Latavius Murray, who has shown the burst that Richardson is lacking. You could easily see this burst on his 90-yard touchdown run against the Chiefs in Week 12 when he pulled away from defenders in the open field, his 6’3” frame and long strides eating up ground with ease.
Richardson has the right attitude. He should have a chip on his shoulder for the remainder of his career because practically everyone has written him off. But there’s good reason why no one expects much out of him, and it will take a lot for him to prove us all wrong.