The Cleveland Browns' brass are waving the white flag on this season, despite what you might have heard from head coach Rob Chudzinski during his press conference earlier this morning.
Adam Schefter, NFL Insider for ESPN, broke the story Wednesday evening:
Filed to ESPN: Browns RB Trent Richardson traded to Indy for Colts' first-round pick.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 18, 2013
By trading RB Trent Richardson to Indianapolis, Browns now have two picks in 2014 draft in rounds 1, 3, 4. QB of future on the way...— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 18, 2013
This is not a joke.
Joe Banner spoke briefly about the trade in a statement, prior to his later press conference with Chudzinski:
"Trent’s a great player and we expect him to have success in this league," said Browns CEO Joe Banner. "Right now, based on how we’re building this team for sustainable success, we’re going to be aggressive and do what it takes to assemble a team that consistently wins."
Nothing all that informative came out of the presser specifically held to address this earth-shattering move. Banner and Chudzinski may have actually spent more time defending Richardson rather than the trade itself, which seemed to be more about staying politically correct than it was honest.
They did stress that this move was all about positioning for the future, of course, without ever admitting that they're tanking or giving up on anything this year. But no one is buying that, regardless of their feelings about the trade.
Richardson has vastly under-performed the high expectations he had coming into the league. He was the face of this franchise, the make-or-break player for the previous regime, who picked him at No. 3 overall in the 2012 draft after trading up with the Minnesota Vikings.
Despite scoring 12 touchdowns in his rookie season, 11 of them on the ground, he only managed to rush for 950 yards on 267 carries, averaging 3.6 YPC behind what at the time was a really surprisingly good offensive line.
This season appeared to be more of the same, but without the TDs and a struggling right side of the o-line. Although, much has been made about the offensive coaching staff's decision to "abandon the run" so early in the first two weeks and continually pull Richardson on third downs. In the action he did see, Richardson has only ran for 105 yards on 31 carries, 3.4 YPC.
Banner and Chudzinski can defend him until the cows come home, but the truth is that this sort of trade speaks for itself. It tells you everything you need to know about their opinion of both Richardson and the remainder of this season.
More from Dawgs By Nature:
- A Day That Will Go Down in History for the Cleveland Browns
- Daily Dawg Chow: Browns news (9/19/13) - Richardson Trade Fallout
- Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer to start against the Minnesota Vikings
- Cleveland Browns trade Trent Richardson to Indianapolis Colts for 2014 first-round pick
- Game Review: Browns Fail to Score a Touchdown in 14-6 Loss to Ravens