Trent Richardson screencap fuels Twitter debate


May 26, 2015; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Trent Richardson (33) catches a pass at organized team activities at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Often maligned for his mediocre returns as a former third overall draft pick, Trent Richardson naturally gets a ton of flack from fans and analysts on Twitter as the running back has been subjected to plenty of #HotTakes since his ill-fated trade to the Indianapolis Colts as a player that is perceived as one of the worst at his position in the NFL. Seemingly drawing scorn for something whenever he steps onto the field as Richardson is one of the most criticized running backs in recent history, even more criticized than former Raiders back Darren McFadden as player who can seemingly do nothing right in the minds of analysts and fans.

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Richardson’s preseason debut for the Raiders on Friday night sparked perhaps the biggest debate surrounding the running back on Twitter ever as a screencap of Richardson seemingly missing a wide open hole near the goal-line against the Rams. A cutback lane that while captured with a still image made the running back look as if he had awful vision in missing a hole that looked like an automatic touchdown.

Various sports blogs picked up the screencap of Richardson missing the hole, fueling the mockery of the former Top 5 pick of the Cleveland Browns and adding to the usual jokes of “same old Raiders” that accompany any blooper of an Oakland player as people had fun at the running back’s expense for missing what many felt was a sure touchdown based on the screencap.

While from the photo it clearly looks like Richardson opted to run directly into a hole filled with Rams defenders rather than cutback for what appears to be an easy touchdown run, some respect analysts came to T-Rich’s defense for a rare occurrence. Defending him for running into the right hole and noting that very few running backs would actually be able to make the cutback move required to hit the hole captured in the still image.

Some will continue to mock Richardson as he is still a player who has earned the label as a bust, but the screencap that has grabbed Twitter by storm is actually not a bad play at all from the running back and is instead a routine play that nearly every player in the league at the position would have made. You can’t fault Richardson for not having the cutback skill of Barry Sanders, and nearly no other back in the league would have turned that hole into a touchdown when you examine the play further. This doesn’t mean Richardson’s odds of a comeback in Oakland are any greater, but those who were pointing fingers at this play may just be a bit misguided after taking a further look.