Pagano on Richardson’s runs: I don’t know what the heck is going on

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In the eight games since the Colts shipped a first-round draft pick to Cleveland for running back Trent Richardson, they’ve gotten a whopping 96 carries for 272 yards worth of production out of him. Does that sound like it’s worth a first-round pick to you?

Colts coach Chuck Pagano admits that 2.8 yards a carry isn’t what he was hoping for from Richardson, but Pagano claims that Richardson isn’t doing anything wrong. Instead, Pagano thinks Richardson has just had some bad luck, although Pagano can’t quite explain why it keeps happening.

“I don’t know if he’s snake bit, I don’t know what the heck is going on,” Pagano said. “We’ll get it fixed. We’ll get the holes there. He’s making the right reads, he’s doing all the right things, he knows what to do. He played great without the ball, protection-wise, those things. His numbers are going to come. I’m not concerned about that.”

Pagano said that Richardson hasn’t always had holes to run through, and you can’t blame him for that.

“You look at Trent’s runs, for whatever reason, there’s penetration, a guy is pulling and falls down,” Pagano said. “There’s a guy in the backfield waiting there. He had some really good runs, plays that he made in space, screens, things like that he does a great job with. That’s going to come.”

Asked if the Colts have any buyer’s remorse for the Richardson trade, Pagano answered, “Absolutely not.” That’s a little hard to believe, as it becomes clearer and clearer that they’ve given up next year’s first-round pick for a running back who isn’t as good as the one they already had on the roster, Donald Brown.

113 responses to “Pagano on Richardson’s runs: I don’t know what the heck is going on

  1. It’s called being slow and not being able to find the hole. This ain’t college ball anymore.

  2. I think I was watching the NFL network the other day and they showed several examples of him not making the right reads. His vision is lacking.

  3. Pagano raises an interesting point: for whatever reason, Richardson seems to get virtually immediate contact from a defender – usually 1-4 yards deep in the backfield. It’s uncanny.

    As for possible reasons, the only thing I can conceivably think of at this point – is maybe Richardson has a “tell.” For example, when a DL or LB can see the whites of some OL’s knuckles, it cues them in that they can expect a running play. And if they don’t, the OL is going to drop back into protection.

    Perhaps, Defensive Coordinators – are able to read the Colts playbook (so to speak) when Richardson is in the backfield. Some RBs have distinctive traits when they’re going to carry the ball (e.g., eyes real big, different demeanor than when they’re a decoy, sizing up the (anticipated) holes, etc.).

    Like Pagano, I’m at a loss — to a point.

    It could also be that Richardson had immense holes playing behind ‘Bama’s OL – that he is not seeing in the NFL.

    In addition, his strength and speed advantages playing on Sundays are nothing like they were when he lined up on Saturdays. Virtually everyone in the NFL can run — not everyone at the Vanderbilts and Mississippi States though.

    He’s also been nicked up — but it is a bit puzzling, considering some of the rare – but jaw-dropping plays he’s been able to put on his resume to date.

  4. some of it’s holes but Richardson had at least a little bit of ‘beast mode’ in him last year – even with all the bumps and bruises. That’s missing this year for some reason.

  5. The few times I’ve watched Richardson, he seems to run at a single speed and lacks burst, and falls down instead of driving his legs after first contact. Other than that… a fine running back

  6. This situation just confirms what has been true for a long time….outside of a few elite talents (A.P., shady, etc.) the RB is the most interchangeable position in the NFL.

  7. Browns fans can feel a little bit better now that they got a good return for Richardson, after stupidly trading up with the Vikings to take him #3 overall in 2012.

  8. Firstly I think Trent is just getting used to the system, Not making excuses just saying he is a few months behind everyone else in the system.

    Secondly Donald Brown feels that his job is in jeopardy, He was running very well during Thursdays game.

  9. sndmn331 says: Nov 15, 2013 9:38 PM

    Funny how just a couple of months ago everybody on here was talking about how dumb the Browns were.
    I thought it was just me. The Browns got better by dumping the Walrus.

  10. “Asked if the Colts have any buyer’s remorse for the Richardson trade, Pagano answered, “Absolutely not.” That’s a little hard to believe,”


    Well I’m glad he didn’t throw his player under the bus as the media would prefer.

  11. What you guys needed was a guy like Bush, or someone that can hit a hole and then break away with some speed. The power back is a thing of the past. This is a passing NFL, and backs are used for screens ect…

  12. For years, NFL personnel men were wary of small-school prospects because they hadn’t played against elite talent. Now, slowly but surely, people are starting to realize that there’s an opposite risk with players from the super-elite programs, like USC, Alabama, etc., because they’ve played their entire collegiate careers alongside high-school all-Americans. Bottom line is, it’s much easier to look like a superstar when everyone on your offense is a highly recruited kid, and you’re playing against future HVAC repairmen.

  13. Richardson lacks vision, has poor footwork, takes wrong angles, hits the hole slowly (that’s what she said), and lacks explosion. Essentially, there is NO chance he’s going to make a “splash” play, as Coach Tomlin likes to point out.

    Other than that? He’s a first round talent.

  14. Honestly, I was someone who thought the Browns made out on this trade – and I am not a fan of either team.

    Richardson doesn’t find holes in OL well, but he is a good runner if he gets lucky and finds the hole (yes, i am laughing too after re-reading that). He is too large to make quick side-to-side moves and needs to take on a Lynch type style and mow players down – not wait for a hole.

  15. Which is the biggest bonehead move of 2013 – Colts trading for Richardson, or the Vikings signing Josh Freeman? Discuss.

  16. Come on Trent, as long as you’re smart about it you’re not going to get caught just because Von did. All these years since high school and you’re afraid you can’t pass a simple drug test? Come on man, if you want to last in this league, 4 I.U. of growth is a good place to start back up on.

  17. And to think, the Browns reclaimed a 1st round pick for TR and granted it’s not going to be where they drafted him but.. Joe Banner and ML (devils spawn..) saw something…Browns may actually have the right front office people in place

  18. The line isnt helping. Before you give me “but Donald Brown is running well”…look deeper. Brown is in his 5th year. He is running well lately but most Colts fans wanted him run out of town for his tendency to whiff blocks in the passing game. Richardson is a mystery to me. When they got him in space on short passes he made some good YAC. But the above poster mentioned a “tell”…You may be on to something there. Hamilton does him no favors either as he often runs out of obvious “power” formations

  19. “Pagano on Richardson’s runs: I don’t know what the heck is going on.”

    As my dad used to say “you been swindled son.”

  20. He also seems tentative, unsure of himself. I won’t call him a bust until next season when the offensive line has been further addressed. Getting Ballard back will help too. Bradshaw is on a one year deal and won’t be back bc he is too injury prone. Richardson better step it up, and the coaching staff needs to use him differently

  21. Cleveland ruined him. anyone who attempted to play there had their career ruined. See Colt McCoy and others due to poor coaching and worst management.

  22. id add alfred morris to that list of elite rb’s. 1600 yards as a rookie and a 5.3 yards per carry in his second year behind a horrible o-line

  23. Did anyone stop to think maybe it’s because he was traded mid-season and he has to learn an entirely new system on an entirely new team?

    Let’s put this in perspective. If any one of you went from your current job to your competitor starting this Monday and were expected to produce at the same level you are now, without knowing the new systems and new processes, could you?

    Yeah, you’ll know the basics….but it’ll take some time to get comfortable in the new system…..and your production will suffer.

  24. Redemption for the browns. He should not have been drafted that high..still hope he turns out to be a nice player though.

  25. Bad luck? Guess Donald Brown is having good luck then. Richardson is a bust. Funny the owner who likes to tweet and brag about big moves hasn’t said much about his big trade.

  26. The Colts did get an excellent RB from the trade it’s just that he wears #31…. Doesn’t seem to have a problem finding holes. I say they keep the exact same rotation

  27. Eddie Lacy is tackled in the backfield – doesn’t stop him from fighting for yards…

    Our oline isn’t that much better than the colts.

  28. I personally would rather have Alfred Morris than Trent. I’ve watched Alfred produce week in and week out when defenses know he’s coming. Somehow Alfred doesn’t get half the respect of Trent…. Go figure

  29. Hey want to be a banker. You can’t figure out like Pagino why Trent isn’t the elite running back the Colts expected, and thought there were getting? He’s over rated. The Alabama system doesn’t transfer to the NFL. What back has become that Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson from Alabama, None. You would think it would work? but not even close! The Colts got fleeced, and now it sounding like a case of back tracking and buyers remorse. Heck the Colts have lower round running backs, doing much better than Trent.

  30. Meanwhile in Cleveland they are planning on what they will do with that extra pick in the draft, a 7th round pick in 2009 is averaging 5.3 a carry, and a 32 year old with a history of multiple torn ligaments and a fractured leg is putting out the same production as Richardson.

  31. Oh my goodness, how does a comment saying Trent Richardson is slow get 237 likes. Do any of you who liked that have any idea what offensive linemen are for? The Colts O-line is terrible. Is it all their fault? No, but it does have a lot to do with them. Of course, Pagano can’t say that. That is the main problem though. Its the same reason Richardson struggled with the browns save from Joe Thomas and Alex Mack. Sometimes the comments around here make me think so little of the average football fan.

  32. Since Brown is only playing due to injuries to Bradshaw and Ballard I would say that there are 3 runners on the Colts roster who are better than Richardson.

  33. “This situation just confirms what has been true for a long time….outside of a few elite talents (A.P., shady, etc.) the RB is the most interchangeable position in the NFL.”

    …just like every other position in the NFL…

    Look at QB. Outside of a few elites like Brees, Manning, Rogers, etc. you get a whole range from great to poor from game to game from the other guys.

  34. “What the heck is going on” is the usual ego of a coach who always thinks he can get something out someone that nobody else could.
    If a running back can run, he can run. If not…..

  35. He has issues finding the hole is all, he needs to play some video games like Unreal Tournament or Quake to get his twitch decision making up. Yes, video games do actually help.

    I’ve watch him closely in the Colt games I’ve seen and he hesitates for about half a second, that half a second kills the openings that he has. Get him to stop hesitating and he’s good.

  36. Yet ANOTHER couple examples of Holmgren’s lack of front office skills and gut instincts: getting rid of Jim Brown and taking TR. It is fair to say that the biggest draft selection flop for The Browns was selecting Holmgren as the ULTIMATE first round pick!

  37. … Donald Brown will save the Colts like he Saved UConn … GREAT memories of him here in Connecticut !!! …

  38. I agree with everyone, but what’s Pagano supposed to say? “Whoops, we screwed up, my employee sucks, and my boss sucks for hiring him” is a pretty poor way to keep one’s job in any field.

  39. RB’s are not the least bit interchangeable.If they were,then every one of them would perform the same.The Colts are getting more production from Brown than TR. How is that interchangeable? How is Big Eddie blowing things up in GB when they already had RB’s on the roster?…..Richardson remains a very good blocker and receiver,which was part of his attraction to the Browns and the Colts. Despite the rule book changes which have distorted the game so much,these aspects remain an important part of football. RB’s like Chris Ivory who can’t catch or block are dispensable in ways that 3 down backs aren’t…..regardless of YPC….

  40. Its going to get to the point where the idea of picking almost any RB in the 1st rd is thought insane. So many just aren’t that good…and almost all of them sustain non-stop injuries.

    In 2010, 3 were taken: Spiller (pretty good AP back, but not enough production out of someone taken 9th overall), Ryan Mathews (only 1 1000 yd season so far), Jahvid Best (probably out of football for good due to concussions).

    in 2011, 1 was taken: Mark Ingram (bust/barely serviceable)

    In 2012, 3 were taken: trent (probable bust), doug martin (pretty good but already an injury concern), David Wilson (possible bust AND career is in jeopardy with neck issues).

    in 2013, none were taken.

    Mammas don’t let your babies grow up to be RB’s

  41. You mean he’s averaging just about the same YPC that he averaged in Cleveland? Don’t ever buy something for more than it already is, and you won’t be disappointed. If you looked at his stats from Cleveland and said ‘Thats the guy we’re getting’, then thats what you go. Just like people need to learn you don’t buy a cell phone for the update that is coming out in 6 months, you don’t trade for a player that in a year and a half has shown exactly what he is.

  42. Same deal as Mark Ingram, another bust. I totally called this. The only thing confusing is that people WANT to believe that there is something of value with Trent, but he is who he is. Honestly Alabama players don’t do well in the NFL. Savan hasn’t produced very many players despite having great teams. The nfl is no cakewalk but you would expect the production to be in line with the hype.

  43. With Trent I thought the browns were getting a big explosive power back. Like the one Green Bay got this year eddy lacy . Trent does not excell through the hole ( if he sees it.) and does not have break away speed. He never could outrun a linebacker. Or break a tackle at the second level.

  44. Brown has been looking great, the Colts should give him the start and see what happens. Willis McGhee has done just as well as T rich in Cleveland. The Browns are on the come up.

  45. This trade is a unique situation.

    It proves that Mike Holmgren is the only life form in the galaxy that can make Mike Lombardturd, the Cleveland GM, look intelligent.

    And it puts the Colts in the unenviable position of defending two idiots.

  46. I’d love to know where all the Colts fans are that just a couple months ago were saying to anyone who would listen that Trent sucked in Cleveland because they had a crappy QB and a crappy line, and that, since he was coming to Indy to play with a star QB and a good line, he would be lighting up the league. Remember, Colt fan? He was going to be the final piece to your Super Bowl puzzle.

    Since none of you have the stones to post here and admit you were wrong, I’ll go ahead and say it for you.

    You were wrong. Browns fans were right. Thanks for the first round pick.

    Oh, and by the way, this is about the time where Trent will let it “slip” that he’s been playing all year with some phantom injury and that he’ll be way better next year.

  47. I used to defend the trade, but something is up with this kid. Donnie Brown can’t block, but he is QUICK and has always been the perennial “will he make the team” guy. But if not for Brown, we’d be screwed. T-rich might have a “tell” as one reader posted. That’s a brilliant observation. He doesn’t have vision and gives himself away. Great! Thank God we have Ballard back next year. Keep Brown and Rich for sure though.

  48. Even Pagano is making excuses for this guy already. It is hard to come to terms with after thumping your chest after the trade. You gave up a first round pick and had a year of tape on the guy to see he wasn’t a good running back, instead you chose to ignore it and bank on it being because of the “lowly Browns”. You were the Browns guinea pig for the rest of the league.

  49. How can you not love a HC that’s making excuses for a 3rd round bust!

    Way to go Joe Banner you just hood winked Jim Irsay!

  50. In 15 games as a rookie, Browns got 11 TD’s and 950 rushing yards out of him – plus 51 catches for another 367 yards.

  51. Yea, Browns are really flying! Colts are out Hmmmmmmmmmm! does not seem to be the case so I guess the trade is good. Sir Micheal Smith, must be staring at numbers not wins! Trent is not setting the turf on fire, but I can name two games where his toughness and running won the day. Brown cannot pass block! almost got luck killed twice in win over Tenn, and cannot run between the tackles most of the time. Trent will be fine! We are glad to have him—-could not win with just Brown–we tried that.

  52. NFL network broke down film of Richardson’s runs and just like Pagano said there were many occasions where there was nowhere for Richardson to go and no running back no matter how good their vision was could have made something positive out of them.

    The Colts O-line has faced injuries and perhaps the run calling has been a bit predictable. I’m sure Richardson shares the responsibility for his poor production but it’s not all on him.

    I can’t understand why there are so many people hating on Richardson. Remember when the trade happened how he handled it with class? I can think of a lot of backs who struggled in their first year or two in the league but then figured it out, I’m rooting for Trent to fall into that category.

  53. The investigation into this matter does not require the skills of Sherlock Holmes. The Browns found that Richardson hits the hole with about as much burst as an elderly woman getting onto a bus. Yeah, he showed some burst at Alabama, but that was two knee surgeries ago. So the Browns decided they’d better hurry and dump him on some sucker while his reputation was still good, since it clearly wasn’t going to be good for much longer. The Colts looked at too much of his Alabama tape and not enough of his Cleveland tape, and thus the Browns found their sucker. Case closed.

  54. “The Colts O-line has faced injuries and perhaps the run calling has been a bit predictable. I’m sure Richardson shares the responsibility for his poor production but it’s not all on him.”

    Donald Brown, with the same line and facing the same Titans defense, ran for 80 yards and 2 touchdowns. It *is* all on Richardson. The guy has no desire and no heart.

  55. Jim Brown was right. Too slow, very ordinary runner. Dances around too much instead of just running up into the hole. Not worth a 1st round pick for either the Browns or the Colts.

  56. I’m a die hard Browns fan and was in shock and upset when the trade was made. It obviously look like a great trade now.

    Everyone is talking about this not being college football. However, in his first year in Cleveland he was very very good on a bad team. Power, speed etc… The knee injury he had was before year one so it shouldn’t be that.

    My theory is this is mental. He said when he left Cleveland that he had never had a time in his career when he “wasn’t wanted”. His interviews were all about shock and confusion. Why isn’t he mad? Why isn’t he wanted to show Cleveland and the world they were wrong? Why isn’t he outraged that D. Brown is kicking his butt? I think it’s attitude and basically sulking and not knowing what to do now that he’s having issues with success.

    I don’t buy there is no skill there. He may not have been a number 3 pick talent but he’s no 2.8 yards a carry talent when he’s playing his game either. He did it in year one in Cleveland with a team not as good as the 2013 Colts. In 2012 with Cleveland he had 12 TD’s in over 1,300 yards (rushing/receiving) from scrimmage. ???????

  57. .

    ”…. he’s the only one who could make Mike Lomboturd look intelligent. ”

    Don’t look now, but Mr Lomboturd has a team that is playing well defensively, has some skills offensively, has 25 million in cap space, and 2 picks in rounds 1, 3, and 4.

    It seems to me like he has the franchise on the right track.

  58. Donald Brown, with the same line and facing the same Titans defense, ran for 80 yards and 2 touchdowns. It *is* all on Richardson. The guy has no desire and no heart.

    Another hater. No heart? You haven’t watched the Colts games. His yards per carry is terrible, but this is a guy who goes hard, grinds for extra yards with guys on his back.

    Brown had a good game and I’m happy for him, he’s another player people have called a bust but is now running better. Sometimes it just takes time to figure it out. Hate all you want, but Richardson has too much talent and they have too much invested in him to not find a way to get the best out of him.

  59. Am I the only person who realizes that Trent Richardson is not a bust, and he’s not what they needed, They should have traded for Bryce Brown, Trent Richardson is a pound it 20-25 time back and wear out a defense, they are trying all these draw plays and off tackle stuff with him that’s never going to work because the ends are fast enough to catch him from behind, You need to pound it with him and catch the defense on there heels, not make the defense overcommit and have him bust a big run

  60. If Chuck Pagano really doesn’t know what’s going on he should just swing by any sports bar in Cleveland. He’ll find plenty of Browns fans who can explain it to him.

  61. Lol, yeah browns fans, you really got over. You traded a #3 overall pick for a #28 pick. Keep it up! Maybe you can drafts another 40 year old QB that will be on the bench in a year.

  62. It sucks when you have to bench your 1st round pick in fantasy football because everyone said he was going to “break out” … He isn’t worth a 5th round pick in real or fantasy football… Browns robbed the Colts!

  63. He clearly is pressing…but people have to watch films and not just read box scores…

    I love Andre Ellington…but he is not the hands down best RB in the NFL as his YPC would indicate…there are more things going on than just numbers on a piece of paper.

    Oh…and the sex tape rumor isn’t helping..

  64. Same O Line, Same opposing Defense and D Brown rumbles for 80 yds and 2 scores..

    Coaches are such liars.
    If he’s telling the truth and he actually doesn’t know what is going on, then I’m wondering why he’s my Head Coach

  65. He averaged around 3 yards a carry in Cleveland, and hes just shy of that in Indy. On one hand you can say he’s a disappointment, but on the other hand aren’t they getting what they(we) already knew he was?

  66. I understand the expectations. However, you cannot single out a player when the entire team had roughly 18 yards total passing. It is time to swallow the pride, that this supposed “power running team” is that, a running team in theory. The talent is there and we must adapt to it. In fact, 2 of 3 losses could/should lie on the shoulders of bad coaching decisions and the unwillingness to admit that something is not working. For example, the miami loss. Too many 3 and outs because running on 3 and long. We have a passing qb who the colts will not admit to lack of some faith. We play best coming out quick and driving. The reason there are so many 4th qtr comebacks is because Luck is at the reigns, passing, running when necessary, we prevail. We must play to win! The other close game in which we loss by a mere few points was the same thing. Instead of playing to win, the staff was to focused on still fantasizing that they are running team as opposed to playing to win, which means 3 and long when averaging 1 yrd per run, have faith and pass when it is working.

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