Off the Snap: Trent Richardson has ‘no pain at all’ in injured leg
Catching you up on the latest must-read news and analysis from around the web ….
• Trent Richardson narrowly missed the 1,000-yard mark in his rookie season. For the Cleveland Browns to have any chance of ascending in the tough AFC North this year, they need a lot more from Richardson, who has been on injury watch this offseason after sitting out minicamp and an OTA with a strained leg muscle.
The good news: Richardson says he’s back to 100 percent, one week before the Browns open training camp.
“I have no pain at all in the leg,” Richardson told The Plain Dealer. “I’ll be ready for camp and I’ll be ready to go for the season.”
Cleveland has little chance of challenging for a playoff berth without QB Brandon Weeden taking a huge leap in his second year. Still, the Browns’ best chance for success will be to ride Richardson as the Vikings did Adrian Peterson in 2012. That’s not to say that Richardson has a 2,000-yard campaign in the tank, but the Browns are counting on the third overall pick from last year’s draft to be a superstar.
Getting him into camp at full speed ought to be a good start.
• The Eagles’ QB derby figures to carry on deep into camp, with Chip Kelly refusing to tip his hand yet as to whether Michael Vick, Nick Foles or even Matt Barkley has the lead. One factor that many have figured would give Vick the edge: speed.
“If the fact they have the ability to run, I believe that’s an added bonus, but that’s not the precursor to what we do,” Kelly told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We’ve said it since day one. I want the quarterback that has the ability to run. I do not want a running back that can throw. We’ve never been that type of offense, and I think that’s a misconception.”
Vick has the arm strength and NFL experience that Kelly may be looking for, too. The Eagles would be faced with a very interesting decision on Vick’s future, though, should Foles or Barkley win the job. With just one season and $4 million left on his contract, Vick could be a trade or cut candidate if he winds up on the bench.
• Laurent Robinson was a breakout star during the 2011 season, hauling in 54 catches and 11 touchdowns for Dallas’ banged-up receiving corps. He cashed in on that performance by signing with the Jaguars the next offseason, but a series of concussions kept him from helping much there and left his NFL future in doubt.
“I feel like I can still play, of course,” Robinson told USA Today. “There’s going to be doubts about me with the concussions. But the only thing I can do is tell teams to bring me in, work me out and go from there.”
The Jaguars released Robinson this offseason, one season into his five-year, $32.5 million contract. He’s currently a free agent, with Dallas reportedly interested in bringing him back — if he’s healthy.
• The jury remains very much out on San Francisco rookie Lawrence Okoye, a former track-and-field star in Britain who has never played a single down of American football. His freakish athleticism convinced the 49ers to take a shot on him as a defensive lineman, and he did enough in early offseason workouts to earn a trip to San Francisco’s camp.
Safety Donte Whitner cautioned, however, against getting too caught up in what Okoye accomplished in June.
“We won’t be able to get the full story on Lawrence until we get him in pads and a helmet,” Whitner said. “Anyone can run around in a T-shirt and shorts and look good. But when guys are running at you in full pads, it’s a car crash every time. Next week, on July 24, that’s when you can tell if he’s a real player.”
• There’s more on the Carolina Panthers in Audibles’ NFC South preview (posting to the site Wednesday), but Melissa Jacobs and Kim O’Hara of TheFootballGirl.com took a run at trying to figure out one of the NFL’s more confounding teams. The Panthers were the latest team in the spotlight for their “2013 Outlook Series.”
The verdict? An 8-8 record, which would be a step up over Carolina’s 6-10 mark in 2010 and its 7-9 finish last season … but still would not be enough for the Panthers to break through in the NFC South.