Acquiring Trent Richardson via trade last season was a huge move for the Indianapolis Colts, but one that so far they’ve been disappointed with. Ahmad Bradshaw might not be the running back he was a few years ago, but going by their production last season, he’s going to be the preferred choice to start and carry most of the load in the 2014 NFL season.
Bradshaw played in only three games for the Colts but ran for 186 yards on 41 carries, averaging 4.5 yards per carry. Richardson came in after week 2 to play for the Colts and ended up rushing 157 times in 14 games, finishing with only 458 yards, which is 2.9 yards per carry. A third overall pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2012, the former Alabama tail back should have done a lot more on an offense with a quarterback such as Andrew Luck.
The Colts aren’t giving up on Richardson – not after what they’ve given up for him (a first round pick), and not when they’re paying him $2.2 million for this season and $3.18 million for the next one. He just might be the guy who lines up next to or behind Luck in week 1 and through the early snaps of the preseason games. However, the patience isn’t going to be there, as the Colts, prepared to make the playoffs for a third straight season and win more than one game, can’t afford to have someone dragging them back.
With Andrew Luck as their quarterback, the Colts have rebounded quite nicely from their Peyton Manning era. Luck hasn’t been exactly perfect, and Chuck Pagano isn’t putting the offense completely in his hands the way it used to be under Manning, but there’s no doubt that he’s the number one reason for the amazing bounce back from a two-win season in 2011. The Colts have made the postseason twice, winning one of three games so far.
Richardson was brought to give this offense an extra dimension. The passing game might not be perfect, but it’s good enough with T.Y. Hilton emerging as a superstar wide receiver. A solid offensive line, all the Colts really needed was a running back to complete the picture. Bradshaw was never going to be the star of the show, and so the Colts, eager to succeed now, went for Richardson as the Browns gave up on the season before it began.
For now, it looks like Richardson might be a bit overwhelmed with the expectations and the NFL in general. His rookie season was rough, carrying the ball 267 times on a Browns team with a terrible quarterback. His role is different in Indianapolis, but the expectations are the same. After failing with his first impression, he’s not going to get a lot more chances to impress with his second.