Can Doug Martin Be Better Than Trent Richardson?

Lou RomContributor INovember 4, 2012

Nov 4, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson (33) rushes in the second quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

Trent Richardson and Doug Martin have forged some of the best rookie running games in the NFL this year. 

Coming out of college it was Richardson, the No. 3 overall pick in the draft, who turned so many heads.

But Martin, behind a retooled Tampa Bay offensive line, has shined, too.

Martin had 543 yards through eight weeks compared to Richardson's 470, but Richardson sat most of Week 7 with injured ribs.

Martin has also run at a better clip than Richardson, 4.2 to 3.7 respectively.

But Richardson has found the end zone five times, compared to Martin's three touchdowns.

Martin came into today's game against the Oakland Raiders off his best game of the year, gaining 135 yards on 29 carries with a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings. He also caught three balls for 79 yards and another score.

Richardson shined early in the game Sunday, and took the lead, at least temporarily, with a 105-yard performance against a solid Baltimore Ravens defense, pushing his season total to 585.

Richardson's 585 yards has come behind a much-maligned offensive line that made Brandon Weeden look like a JV quarterback early in the season.

But Richardson is already one of the most exciting backs in the league, with 4.4 speed, a straight-ahead style and good hands out of the backfield.

Martin turned heads in a season-opening win against the Carolina Panthers when he gained 95 rushing yards in a surprise 16-10 win. He was less impressive over the next four weeks, but shined against the Vikings.

Martin is a bruising runner with breakaway speed on the outside. Richardson is a three-down back who can take it outside or up the middle with equal effectiveness.

Martin may prove to be the more durable back over the years, but Richardson is who I want to see line up in the backfield given the choice.


Lou Rom, a veteran journalist with more than 17 years experience, covers the NFL, his hometown New York Giants and whatever else gets under his skin for Bleacher Report.