Vick Ballard has now suffered back-to-back season-ending injuries. After week one in 2013, Ballard tore his ACL in practice and had to work his tail off just to be prepared for the upcoming season. Unfortunately, all that hard work appears to be for nothing after he tore his Achilles in just the second day of training camp. However, as devastating and saddening his latest injury is, it isn’t going to affect the team just like it did this past season.
Ballard was supposed to be the new bell-cow for the Colts – something they haven’t had since the Joseph Addai era. After he went down, Indianapolis kind of panicked (some would say) by trading their 2014 1st-round draft pick for Trent Richardson. It’s no secret that the Richardson project hasn’t quite panned out like the team had envisioned, but they have to at least give him this season to show his worth since he cost them so much.
So the latest Ballard injury doesn’t leave the team searching for a featured back, but where does it leave them? The simple answer: It leaves them without a consistent number two running back in a time where teams are more comfortable having a running game by committee rather than relying on one player.
Now that Donald Brown isn’t here to save the day again – pours drink on ground – many fans are wondering where the team will turn to in order to add depth and replace some of what Ballard had to offer. But shouldn’t the spotlight be shined on Ahmad Bradshaw and not some random player who probably isn’t even on an NFL roster right now? After all, Bradshaw has been a thousand-yard rusher twice in his career, something no other Colts running back has ever done once.
Yes, Bradshaw ended up hurt last year like he often has, but when he played, he was good. Bradshaw played in a total of three games, and he impressed everyone in the two he started in. In those starts, Bradshaw carried the ball 34 times for 160 yards (4.71 yards per carry) and had two touchdowns. He was also a factor in the passing game by adding 35 yards off of six catches. Many people believe last year’s win at San Francisco is the blueprint the Colts want to have, and Bradshaw was a huge part to that.
It’s clear that Bradshaw’s a very skilled running back and can produce for the Colts, but should the team put their trust in him? I say yes. Despite seeming like some battered old man with all his injuries, Bradshaw is only 28 years old. Arian Foster is about to turn 28, Marshawn Lynch already is 28 and Adrian Peterson is 29. I realize all situations are different, but I’m just trying to give it some perspective. Bradshaw is only on a one-year deal, and that’s really all the team needs from him – one solid year.
When it’s all said and done, Bradshaw is a big piece to the puzzle in the Colts’ dream scenario since Ballard went down. Of course they hope Richardson can live up to his hype of being drafted just after Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, but they also hope Bradshaw can have a fully healthy season where he is the constant number two for the team to lean on.
I have faith in Bradshaw, do you?