Before Rams head coach Jeff Fisher left Tennessee he was on the brink of coaching one of the greatest running backs of all time, Chris Johnson. Fisher drafted Johnson in the first round in 2008. Johnson rushed for over 1,000 yards in his first season and then had one of the best years ever, rushing for over 2,000 yards. After Fisher left Johnson had his worst year of his career, rushing for just over 1,000 yards. Jeff Fisher just announced that he sees Richardson coming out of the preseason as the starter, with similar running styles you have to ask, can Daryl Richardson resemble Chris Johnson?
Both of these players may seem as different as different could be as Johnson was a first round pick and Richardson was seventh round pick, however these players may have more in common than meets the eye. Johnson was a first round pick and Richardson was a seventh round pick they actually have more in common than one may think, and it is possible that Richardson could turn into the player that Johnson is. Richardson showed promise to be a starting caliber back in his rookie season. One thing that immediately jumps out is the size of these two players, because they are virtually identical. Johnson is 5’11 and 191 pounds and Richardson is 5’10 and 196 pounds. Both players are also smaller backs that show lots of speed and elusiveness and thrive in the open field. Johnson has proved that throughout his entire career and Richardson showed glimpses of it in his rookie season. Both players also have dreads and that’s all that really matters right?
Both players also had similar stats in their rookie stats, indirectly anyway. When Johnson came into the NFL he was the feature back right away, Richardson on the other hand didn’t get as much action due to the fact that he was forced to sit behind Steven Jackson. Richardson had 98 carries for 475 yards which comes to 4.8 yards per carry. Johnson’s first 103 carries were pretty close to Richardson’s 98. Johnson had 103 carries through six games for 549 yards and 5.3 yards per carry. Johnson has the better stats by a good margin, but they aren’t that far off. Johnson also has five carry advantage on Richardson. Chris Johnson also had more touchdowns as he posted three in the six game span. Richardson may not have had any touchdowns, but he had a lot of close calls. Richardson will get all the opportunities to break one loose in 2013.
One last reason why I believe Richardson could resemble Chris Johnson is Jeff Fisher aspect. Fisher has had great success with developing running backs, and there is no reason why Richardson should be any different. Richardson may even remind Fisher a little of Johnson. Fisher has experience with a speedy back like Johnson and had a lot of success with him, just look at the stats. Having a similar back like Richardson very well could bring the same sort of success.
Now don’t go on expecting Richardson to rush for over 2,000 yards we aren’t going to have DR2K. Plus I don’t think the Rams will be a running team to have the capability to rush for 2,000 yards. My point is Fisher could use Richardson in the same ways that he used Johnson, or even Pead if Pead were to overtake Richardson at any time. Can Daryl Richardson resemble the playing style and success of CJ2K? Only time will tell.