Welcome to the new off-season series, aptly named ‘Final Fantasy’. In this series, I’ll be focusing the spotlight on certain players that either exceeded or fell-by-the-wayside of our expectations, and I’ll briefly touch them with my thoughts, legally. Despite rumor (and the series name), we will not be discussing anything +5 to magic missile. Unless there’s actually a NFL player that shoots missiles. And has, like, an amulet to vitality or something like that. Michael Vick’s -98 amulet of dog-caring will be excluded in this particular instance. Regardless, let’s get to the spotlight for today, and it seems almost too perfect that this series starts with Trent Richardson.
|2013 ACTUAL STATS||188||563||3||35||316||1|
“For this, we gave the Browns a draft pick?” – Colt’s fans.
It was recently reported that Trent Richardson stated his top priority this off-season was was to learn the Colts’s offensive system. Ya think bro? Anyhow, that table on his projections and actual results is full of LOL, amiright? Well, probably not for those who owned him. But in this particular spotlight, it would be hard for me to really nitpick the projections. He *was* supposed to be that good, and everyone thought so. Even our legendary Sky. I’d be remiss, though, not pointing out there’s audio out there of me stating that Richardson was the second coming of Mark Ingram. Nick the Podcast host will certainly back that one up. And trust me, I’m not here to say, hey, look at how awesome I am for calling Richardson’s season early on. Well, maybe a little. But I bring it up because the are relevant question’s to ask based on that Mark Ingram comp– should we have seen this coming? Was he always overrated? Is there a buy-low/sleeper pick in the making here for next season? And what should be the title of his sex tape? All very good questions, and exactly why this new series exists.
As soon as Trent Richardson was traded, he was supposed to take the Indianapolis offense to the next level. The team still had weaknesses, but getting a primary-back was a large need, and they seeming filled that need with a young power-back that wasn’t coming off a gaudy rookie season, but one that showed a lot of promise. Maybe Cleveland knew something that no else did? (Last time they had multiple draft picks, they took Brady Quinn with that extra 1st rounder. So… yeah… there’s that.) There were reports at the time that he was ‘high-maintenance’ and ‘insular’, which doesn’t really give us anything tangible. Anecdotally, just watching him this year, there wasn’t any explosiveness, and there certainly wasn’t any elusiveness. How much was this on the run-blocking? Football Outsiders had IND ranked 15th in that regard, good enough to land in the top-half-middlish. For context, Cleveland ranked 20th in Richardson’s first season. And, for even more context,
ARI was ranked 17th for 2013 STL was ranked just slightly ahead in the 12th slot, and that didn’t seem to affect Zac Stacy‘s breakout campaign one bit.
When trying to find out where things went wrong, you kinda have to ask how comfortable you are with advanced football stats. If you are, then there are numbers out there that say his 2012 campaign was actually worse than Shonn Greene and, believe it or not, Mark Ingram. But that’s the thing about football, most of everything, on a basic level, can be seen with a simple eye-test. In that regard, Trent Richardson was terrible this season. If you try separating the variables to try and pinpoint a specific trouble spot, you’re left with the same answer. So what’s next?
In terms of a sleeper or a buy-low, yeah, I could see that next season. It’ll be hard to stay this terrible. With a capable offensive line and an above-average QB, it’s hard to imagine things getting much worse. But that’s not really saying much, is it? I know for a fact that I won’t be ranking him in the running back top-10 later this year. I’m pretty sure he won’t even be in the top-20. While it’ll only be his third season, I just don’t see a franchise back here, but I think he can still be a useful cog in a committee approach, which basically translates into a bench-warmer for your team.
So here’s a great title for his sex-tape: “Come Back Player of the Year”. Haha, just kidding. He probably won’t be, even with the great pun usage. How about… “Let’s See Cromartie Impregnate Three Chicks At Once”?