Last week, the Indianapolis Colts had their bye week. This came after their big Week 7 victory against the undefeated Denver Broncos. Between snapping their win streak, the homecoming of Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne’s season-ending injury, this overshadowed another quiet performance by Colts running back Trent Richardson: 14 carries for 37 yards.
He’s yet to bust out on his new team and many can’t figure out if this is because he’s still learning a new system or there’s something the Cleveland Browns knew when they traded him.
It hasn’t been all gloom and doom with Richardson as the Colts have gone 3-1 with him on the team. In his four-game tenure, he’s had 75 carries for 228 yards (a 3.0 yard average). Through Week 7, the player ranked at No. 49 out of 54 backs, according to Pro Football Focus.
These numbers bring about questions such as is this the best Richardson has to offer or is he in a slump? While it is his sophomore season, you could say he’s been somewhat consistent as he averaged 3.6 yards per carry in his rookie season with Browns. This mediocre number had been attributed to Richardon’s naggy injuries and a less than stellar Browns offensive line, not to mention its troubled quarterback situation.
But now, it’s believed that Richardson is not injured. We know he has traded up regarding his offensive line (from the bottom of the league to the top) not to mention his quarterback. Among his fellow Colts running backs including Vick Ballard, Ahmad Bradshaw and Donald Brown, they have a combined 87 carries for 444 yards (5.1 yards per rush average) through the bye week and Brown alone has an 5.9 yard average per carry.
As the Colts look toward the second half of their season without Wayne, it’s time for Richardson to step up. He should have plenty of opportunities as the Colts have one of the more balanced league offenses; they have run the ball 199 times vs. 227 passing attempts. Unless the team picks up a wide receiver before Tuesday’s trade deadline, they’ll look to their running game to fill some of the void left by Wayne.
Regarding the expectations the Colts have for Richardson, we don’t know them but given the fact the team gave away a first-round 2014 draft pick for Richardson, it’s only fair to ask that he take it up a notch. Maybe a bigger question is has Richardson really tapped into his ability yet?
During his college days and at various times during his short NFL tenure, Richardson has shown his talent. Now he needs to do it on a more consistent basis. I wouldn’t give up on him yet.