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Browns might cut Trent Richardson’s playing time

Kansas City Chiefs v Cleveland Browns

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 09: Running back Trent Richardson #33 of the Cleveland Browns runs the ball as he is hit by safety Eric Berry #29 and defensive back Tysyn Hartman #31 of the Kansas City Chiefs at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

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The Browns are riding a three-game winning streak into Sunday’s game against the Redskins, but rookie running back Trent Richardson hasn’t been performing quite as well as his team.

Richardson is averaging 3.5 yards per carry in those three games and has failed to crack three yards per carry in two of the games. That production led to questions for offensive coordinator Brad Childress about whether he might elevate Montario Hardesty to the top spot on the depth chart. Childress said that wasn’t on the table, but he did suggest that Richardson could be in line for a little less playing time in the final weeks of the season.

“Are we going to give him a series every now and then, or every third series or something to that nature?” Childress said, via the Canton Repository. “Yeah, we talk about that.”

Richardson had two knee surgeries before the season and he’s been bothered by injured ribs for several weeks, which could indicate why he’s been less effective than the Browns might have hoped. He’s got 869 yards on the season, good for 14th in the NFL. Seven of the 13 players ahead of him have fewer carries, however, and Ahmad Bradshaw, who also has 869 yards, has carried the ball 51 fewer times than Richardson.

Even so, the Browns didn’t trade up to draft him third overall to bench him in favor of Hardesty. Richardson clearly needs to do more, but he’ll get more than 13 games to prove he’s capable of doing it.