State of the Colts: Running Back

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The Colts prolific offense relied too heavily on the arm of Andrew Luck again for the 2014 season.  The team hoped that a full season for Trent Richardson get acclimated to the offense would cure what seemed to be wrong with the third overall pick in in the 2012 draft.  Unfortunately the season ended on sour note for both Richardson and the team.  Now it seems that there is a legitimate possibility that he will not be part of the 2015 Colts.  So, where does the team go?  This is what we will look at for the state of the running back position for the Colts.

Let’s look at the numbers:

Trent Richardson:
Games/Attempts/Yards/Average/TD’s
(2014) 15/159/519/3.3/3
(2013) 14/157/458/2.9/3

Ahmad Bradshaw
(2014) 10/90/425/4.7/2
(2013)  3/41/186/4.5/2

Dan Herron
(2014) 16/78/351/4.5/1
(2013)  6/5/33/6.6/0

Zurlon Tipton
(2014) 6/10/18/1.8/0

Vick Ballard
(2014) Placed on IR in August

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Okay, let’s get the obvious points out right off the top.  The Colts failed to improve in the running game again this season.  More importantly it became fairly obvious a few games in that not much had changed from the previous season.  Richardson failed to live up to exexpectations and Bradshaw was clearly the best option at creating some semblance of running game.  Richardson didn’t improve significantly, in fact, it became obvious that he wasn’t even considered the best option by the end of the season, even after Bradshaw went down. Richardson was suspended the last game of the season after some weight issues and not following team rules. It seems that the Colts might be looking to dump Richardson and his contract thanks to some wording in his contract.

Bradshaw was a legitimate threat for the Colts, especially for his pass catching abilities (6 receiving TD’s) this season. Before his injury, he became a scoring machine for Luck in the redzone, as he became the “go to guy” when the team needed a score. Besides his pass receiving skills, he was without a question the best option at running back, but as the case with Bradshaw injury ultimately determined his fate for the season. That leads to the obvious question: is he back on the team next year?

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Prior to the start of the season, talk centered around the Colts having too many backs and not enough footballs to go around, but with the training camp loss of Vick Ballard, the injury to Bradshaw, and the poor play of Trent Richardson, that leaves the Colts with one viable option heading into season: Dan Herron.
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Herron was clearly the odd man out, but by season’s end, he became the only viable option for the Colts. It should be interesting to see what develops this free agency and upcoming draft. It can’t be understated how important it is for the team to fully develop a functional running game, otherwise I fear a repeat of the Patriot debacle games, meaning to advance they must overcome the one dimensional offense that has become synonymous with this team’s identity.  Free Agency and the draft seem to be key components to the team’s future at this position.

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