The Indianapolis Colts acquired running back Trent Richardson last season from the Cleveland Browns, but didn’t get what they were hoping for out of him. He was extremely inconsistent and wasn’t able to put up any kind of numbers for them. There were some issues with the offensive line for the Colts’ running game last season, but Donald Brown was able to put up much better numbers each game.
Why was Richardson unable to figure things out in his first 14 regular season games as a member of the Colts? There are a few reasons that come to mind, but the one thing that Colts’ coaching staff and front office personnel were mentioning was the lack of understanding the offense. He did look lost on the field quite often, and was much more effective as a receiver out of the backfield towards the end of the season.
It is always a very difficult task to be asked to learn a completely new system after being trade in the middle of the season. Richardson has the type of potential to be a very dominant starting running back, but he’ll need to learn how to play in Pep Hamilton’s system. He certainly isn’t a speed back, so he will need to work with Hamilton to come up with play calls that work well for him as a power back.
All of that is very interesting to talk about, but all people want to know now is whether or not he will be able to prove his doubters wrong in 2014. Success if a very tough thing to predict, but there is no doubt that he has the talent and potential to surprise people and blow his expectations out of the water. If the Colts work with him and figure out ways to use him that fit his skill-set, he will be just fine as the starting running back this season.
One of the main issues last season that goes unnoticed was how soon he was getting hit or pressured after touching the football. The offensive line was banged up nearly all season, and neither the passing or blocking protection was up to par with what the Colts need them to do. If the offensive line can give Richardson a second or two to make a cut, he will be picking up a consistent 3-4 yards per carry and will have a chance to break a play here and there.
Overall, it will be very interesting to see what Richardson is able to do with his second chance this season. He has made it very clear that he is confident in his abilities, and believes that he will come back with a very successful campaign. If he is able to do that, the Colts’ offense will look much better and Andrew Luck will see a lot of pressure fall off of his back.