Browns compare Lacy to former teammate Richardson

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Bob McGinn, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Monday, October 21, 2013

GREEN BAY—Nobody is better equipped to compare former University of Alabama running backs Eddie Lacy and Trent Richardson better than the Cleveland Browns.

Lacy, the 61st pick in the 2013 draft, rushed 22 times for 82 yards against them Sunday in their 31-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

The Browns used the third choice of the 2012 draft to select Richardson, a player they traded to Indianapolis a month ago for a first-round draft choice.

Of the six players and one front-office man asked to compare the two backs, only outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard offered a strong opinion on who's better.

“Trent was a great teammate and in the locker room,” said Sheard. “He ran hard. I'd take Trent any day.”

Suffice it to say, however, that all of the Browns were impressed with Lacy.

“Lacy did a good job finding whatever hole he had,” Sheard said. “I noticed he was patient when it failed to open up.

“They're both big backs. They run hard. Lacy did a good job lowering his pads. He runs like Trent. It takes two guys to tackle them. I guess they're the same type back.”

Richardson, 5 feet 10 inches and 230 pounds, ran 40 yards in 4.48 seconds before the draft.

Lacy (5-11) ran the 40 in 4.59 in March when he weighed 229. Sheard estimated Lacy to be 240 now.

“Similar running style but Lacy is more hit-the-hole downhill,” nose tackle Phil Taylor said. “Trent is a shiftier back. Trent is power, too, but he can make those cuts.

“Lacy is a good back, but the Packers are a passing offense. Lacy didn't do anything to kill us.”

Tackle Joe Thomas, who watched the Packers growing up in Brookfield, said the similarities between their present offense with Aaron Rodgers and Lacy and theirs a decade ago with Brett Favre and Ahman Green were keen.

After a fifth straight 100-yard rushing game, Green Bay is averaging 134.7 yards per game and 4.9 yards per carry.

“It's fun to watch the way they're playing,” Thomas said. “Aaron Rodgers runs the offense, but it's not totally reliant on his arm now. You're letting him use his brain.

“If he sits back there and sees a soft coverage of a five- or six-man box, he checks run and gives it to Lacy. He makes it a very, very difficult matchup for any defense.

“You've got to decide if you want to load the box to try to take away Eddie Lacy, and then (Rodgers) is going to pick you apart. And if you want to sit deep he's happy to hand it off.

“They've had a lot of injuries, but as long as they've got those two guys they'll be all right.”

In his five-game career Lacy has carried 83 times for 352 yards (4.2) and two touchdowns. He also has eight receptions for 60.

Richardson, in 21 games before the Colts' game Sunday night against Denver, had carried 359 times for 1,246 (3.5) and 13 TDs. He caught 51 passes as a rookie.

“There's some similarity in that they're both very powerful guys that are a little bit bigger,” Browns chief executive Joe Banner said. “I don't really know Lacy that well. Trent is very good in the passing game. I don't know if Lacy is or not.

“Richardson has better burst than he's shown so far.”

Safety T.J. Ward led the Browns with 11 tackles.

“Unless you chop him or hold on to a leg he'll definitely get a few more yards or if you try to hit him up high,” Ward said, referring to Lacy. “Today, I honestly thought he'd be a little harder (to tackle), but it's maybe because my positions on him were a little bit better.

“Lacy may be a little bit bigger and Trent may be a little more explosive and shifty. They're very similar.

“Lacy reads the hole very well. You can see it a little bit on film, but he finds and picks his seams. I just think Lacy's a smart running back.”

Thomas found himself taking the time to watch Lacy from the sidelines.

“I'm really impressed with him,” said Thomas. “He's got really good vision. He's not a guy with super elite speed, but the way they use him on third down is just a perfect fit for him.

“He can hit a hole hard and he's very difficult to tackle. And, if he gets 2 yards (past) the line, he's going to fall forward for 4 yards.

“You give it to him on first down, you know he's going to get a positive gain. He's going to put you in second and 6, which gives you your whole offense.

“With a guy like Aaron Rodgers, that's just a perfect complement.”

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