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Richardson leads hungry group of backs

Posted Jun 28, 2013

Over the next few weeks, ClevelandBrowns.com will take a look at the 2013 Browns, position-by-position. Today’s spotlight is on the running backs.

Overview:

When the Cleveland Browns traded up and selected running back Trent Richardson with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, they got a dual-threat player, one able to run and catch the ball out of the backfield.

Richardson finished the year with 950 yards and 11 touchdowns on 267 attempts over 15 games. In addition to his running prowess, he was the team’s second-leading receiver, catching 51 passes for 367 yards, including a highlight-reel 23-yard touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on Sept. 16.

“I can’t wait to be out here with the guys, finishing plays down the field, running past the last defender, leading the drills,” Richardson said after missing part of the offseason workouts. “That’s stuff that I miss doing. I’m an athlete, and I want to be on the field doing stuff. I hate to be sitting down so long.

“All the stuff I went through last year, I missed one game. That was heartbreaking to me. I was sitting there watching the game mad, and I didn’t want anybody to come in the room when I was watching. I wanted to watch the game by myself. I just can’t wait to get back out there.”

Key Number:

Seven.

Richardson broke six rookie records for the team, tied a seventh and finished in the top 10 in several categories last season.

His rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, carries, total touchdowns (12), points scored (72), and scrimmage yards (1,317) eclipsed the franchise’s previous marks, while the three 100-yard rushing games equaled the record set by William Green in the 2002 season.

Richardson finished in the top ten in scoring among non-kickers. He also finished third in receptions by a first-year player, third in both rushing yards and scrimmage yards by a rookie and fourth in first downs (54 total), and tied for second for points scored among NFL rookies.

Players to Watch:

Montario Hardesty and Chris Ogbonnaya.

In relief of Richardson, Hardesty rushed for 271 yards and his first NFL touchdown on 65 attempts last season. His 4.2 yards-per-carry average was 1.2 yards more than what he averaged during the 2011 NFL season, when he carried the ball 88 times for 266 yards.

Ogbonnaya has spent two seasons with the Browns, and in that time, has proven himself able to help in the running game, pass-protection, and pass-receiving. Last season, Ogbonnaya was used mostly as a third-down running back, and caught a career-high 24 passes for 187 yards.

“Montario, really, just going back to the beginning of spring, April 1, has done a great job in the weight room,” coach Rob Chudzinski said. “He has put some muscle on and picked the offense up well. Just watching him on tape, and as a runner, he has the natural instincts and he is a slasher who has good vision. The thing I’ve really seen and been most impressed with is him catching the ball. I don't think he has dropped a pass out here. He has really worked a lot on his hands.

“Obie (Ogbonnaya) is the kind of guy who is dependable, accountable. You know he is going to be there and you know he is going to be doing the right things. His versatility really is something that will help us.”

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