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Trent Richardson Facing Make-Or-Break Season In Oakland

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Let's check in on a few pros, particularly Oakland, where Trent Richardson has a lot of doubters to overcome.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It may be too early to label a three-year player a "bust," but Trent Richardson has accumulated a lot of baggage in just three seasons.

While he had an up and down rookie season in Cleveland, it was clear that the coaching staff there wanted to move towards a more pass-friendly offense, and the 230 pound bruiser was not a good fit. Enter Indianapolis, where Richardson's weight, lack of production when given the ball, and a putrid running offensive line was an even poorer fit than in Cleveland. This offseason, the Oakland Raiders added Richardson to help shore up a hodge-podge of running backs, which include Roy Helu and Latavius Murray. But, that doesn't mean he's getting the benefit of the doubt, much less the start in Week One.

Raiders position battle: Latavius Murray vs Trent Richardson - Silver And Black Pride

Those who would give Richardson the benefit of the doubt will compare his acquisition to that of Tyrone Wheatley. Wheatley was a former first round pick by the Giants (17 overall) who the team gave up on as a bust and after four seasons in New York, he was let go. . . . That being said, for every Tyrone Wheatley, there are countless others who don't turn things around. It is but for instances like that that teams take a chance on guys like Richardson and Wheatley hoping they can catch lightning in a bottle.

What condition the Raiders position is in: Running back - Silver And Black Pride

Trent Richardson is a hail mary. He fizzled out quickly on two other teams after the Browns made him the third overall pick in the 2012 draft. He has had weight issues and his comments this offseason suggest he doesn't have the work ethic or attitude to be great. He is worth a shot, but probably best to view his presence with a sense of cautious optimism.

Cautiously optimistic is the key phrase here. We want him to succeed, obviously, and remarks from Mike Tice on XM Radio suggests he finally has the discipline to be a pro.

Trent Richardson loses weight, regains quickness, Oakland Raiders assistant says | AL.com

Running back Trent Richardson has lost weight since joining the Oakland Raiders, the NFL team's offensive line coach, Mike Tice, told SiriusXM NFL Radio. Richardson's weight was a point of contention with his previous team, the Indianapolis Colts. Last season, the former Alabama All-American was fined 14 times by the Colts for weighing in at more than 227 pounds.

Meanwhile, let's hope that the Raiders do not kill Amari Cooper with this ill-conceived idea to play him at KR. Cooper has excellent straight line speed, but one of the best parts of his game is that he just doesn't take a lot of contact. He is silky smooth and no where the physical force of say, Julio Jones. This seems an incredibly risky way to ruin the new face of the franchise.

Friday Raiders mailbag 7/3: Can front 7 mask DB deficiencies? Amari Cooper a KR? and more - Silver And Black Pride

Vanrick asks: Do u think they will use [Amari] Cooper as a kick returner (like Tim Brown) or was that just an experiment? I wouldn't say it's an experiment per se. While I don't expect they currently intend on using Cooper as a kick returner, it isn't out of the realm of possibility. They draft Andre Debose for that job, but he was lost to an Achilles injury. They replaced him with Trindon Holliday.

In better news, my beloved the Buffalo Bills' Marcel Dareus is expecting tremendous things from the defense this year. Last season, the Bills led the NFL in sacks and were third in scoring defense, based largely on the effort from the best defensive line in football (quibble if you want to, Texans fans, but search your heart and know it to be true.)

Marcell Dareus has 'best-ever' expectation for Buffalo Bills' defense | AL.com

How good does defensive tackle Marcell Dareus think the Buffalo Bills' defense can be in the 2015 season? "Best ever," Dareus told the Toronto Sun. "It's so obtainable. All we have to do is continue to do what we want and not what we can. If we do what we want and do everything to head in that direction, why can't we? Why can't we?"