BEREA — Trent Richardson hopes to play against the Bears, but if he doesn’t he says his preseason has been a success.
“I feel really good about it,” he said. “If I don’t get to (play), I’m still going to feel good about this preseason, this whole camp. I think I’ve been doing fine, especially (bonding) with my team and the offensive line. These guys have made a big impact on me over the last few weeks than they did all of last year. Us being a team, a family, our chemistry.”
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Last year, Richardson missed all of the preseason after having arthroscopic surgery on his knee and didn’t work with the first team in practice until three days before the season opener. He said bonding with the team, particularly the offense has been very beneficial.
“We joke together and we a lot of stuff together off the field and keep our vibe going at all time,” he said. “I’m just happy with the success we’ve had amongst ourselves with goals in trying to put this team together and just trying to build a chemistry as a family. I’m really happy with (the preseason).”
Richardson has looked more explosive in the preseason, particularly against the Colts. He has just 13 carries in the preseason for 64 yards, but is averaging 4.9 yards a carry. In his rookie season, RIchardson rushed for 950 yards, but his average was just 3.6 per carry.
“It’s so much better,” he said. “Last year, I just came in and went right into the fire. Now, the timing is just getting better and better each day. The offensive line is making better communication. Brandon (Weeden) is communicating with the line and with me. Everything is on point, and coach is communicating with the offense and getting the plays in and out. With the timing, it is an important thing and I think it’s gotten so much better the past few weeks.”
Richardson said he’s healthy and hasn’t felt this good since his college days.
“It’s been a long time,” he said. “Feeling this quick and feeling this light, I feel real soft on my feet and real light on my feet and that’s a good thing. When I do make that explosive cut through the hole, hopefully, nobody can see me and I can just flash through there. At the same time, it’s just a lot of hard work and it’s a mental thing, too.”
Richardson admitted during the 2012 season he wondered how long it would take him to be 100 percent healthy.
“In the (2012) season, I did,” he said. “I wondered when would I ever be healthy or when would be that time I could just step out and just pull away from everybody like I’m used to doing. I knew at a point, that it wasn’t going to come last year. Right after the knee surgery, i just started to get my balance back and then I broke my ribs and they told me how long it was going to take I knew it wasn’t going to get better and I just have to play through it. I just have to man up.”
It might be wishful thinking, but Richardson said he intends to stay on the field this season.
“This year, I’m not even looking toward injuries, no broken finger nails or nothing,” he said laughing. “I know my whole season is based on being healthy and hopefully, playing later on in the season in the playoffs. That’s what we’re trying to get to.”
Richardson said he played a good portion of the 2012 season 10 or 11 pounds heavier than he currently is.
“Last year, I was probably playing at 236 or 237, not being able to run during the week because of the injury, but I’m going to try my hardest to play at 225 the whole year.”
He feels his quickness will help him in the open field and is looking forward to being used in that capacity.
“I think I’ll be used a lot in space,” he said. “It’s a good thing because i have quick feet and match up against the linebacker or cornerback, especially in space. Just to get into space and getting to make somebody miss. I think to match up with a linebacker or any type of position one-on-one, I think is great.”
Richardson said the entire team has a different mindset heading into the 2013 season.
“Last year is out the door for us,” he said. “What we’re building on this year is a whole new chemistry, a whole new vibe for our team this year, a whole new family for us. We’re trying to go uphill, not downhill. We know there are going to be a lot of bumps in the road. There is going to be a lot of fight and a lot of pull and pushing and a lot of guys doing good. We just can’t get that to our head. We just have to play football and play like we know how to play.”
Richardson said he feels he’s ready to have a big season.
“I’m very confident,” he said. “People said I had a good season last year, but I want to have a great season, but I don’t want it just being me, but the whole team.”
Mingo Update: Chudzinski said that LB Barkevious Mingo is improving and was expected to do some running on Tuesday. He was on the stationary bike during the part of practice that was open to the media. Chudzinski didn’t rule Mingo out for the season opener against the Dolphins.
“We have no timetable,” Chudzinski said. “We just have to see how he progresses and heals.”
Campbell, Bess Miss: QB Jason Campbell missed practice with an undisclosed illness and WR Davone Bess was resting his knee. On the stationary bikes during practice were: K Brandon Bogotay (groin), DB Chris Owens (foot), DL Desmond Bryant (back), and WR Naaman Roosevelt (hamstring). Also out DB Jamoris Slaughter (groin), TE Jordan Cameron (groin). Chudzinski said Owens and Cameron are day-to-day and expects them back very soon.
Game Plan: Chud said most of the starters will play 10-12 plays against the Bears on Thursday. He said he will announce his plans on Wednesday.
Roster Cuts: The Browns had to make several roster moves to get down to the NFL’s 75 player limit by 4 p.m. Thursday. One of the moves was placing RB Dion Lewis on season-ending injured reserve. Lewis suffered a broken fibula against the Lions and there was some talk that he might be placed on the injured reserve/subject to recall, which would’ve allowed him to come back in the second half of the season. However, he is not eligible to return this season.