Colts backfield not flashy, but still exciting
In 2013, the Colts will be staring down opponents with a backfield that consists of sophomore stud, Vick Ballard, the underwhelming, yet sometimes explosive, Donald Brown, the fumble-prone, Delone Carter, and seventh round pick and speedster, Kerwynn Williams.
It may not be the most imposing backfield in the NFL (by a longshot), but it’s one that is solid and holds talent that is appropriate for the offense that is coming to town with Pep Hamilton.
I’ve shouted for the Colts to utilize a backfield much like the San Francisco 49ers do for months, and with this versatile collection of backs now in their stable, I’d like to think they’re listening.
Vick Ballard, who we all know and love, came out of nowhere in 2012 to have a monster year for a guy that was picked in the fifth round. Ballard is the epitome of a workhorse back—he’s strong, runs downhill, and has the ability to make defenders miss. He’s not a speedster by any means, but that’s where a talent like Kerwynn Williams comes into play.
It’s hard to expect much out of a seventh rounder in his rookie season, but Williams is precisely the type of player the Colts need to change the pace in the “no-coast offense” (NCO). He not only possesses real speed—third fastest 40 at the Combine—but also the ability to make explosive cuts, almost predicting defenders movements while utilizing his small, elusive frame. I hate to say it, but his running style is reminiscent of the great Darren Sproles.
Leading up to the draft, I had a speedy back slotted to go to the Colts somewhere. I loved Kenjon Barner and he was available in the sixth round, which was a steal for him, in my opinion. Although the Colts didn’t steal Barner like the Panthers did, I’m not disappointed in the Williams pick.
In the no-coast offense, utilizing a running back as a pass catcher will be instrumental to the attack. Williams has the potential to fit into this role nicely, but his pass blocking must improve.
As for Ballard, the Mississippi State product will undoubtedly be the show pony in 2013. Whether he will become the featured back for years to come remains to be seen, but Chuck Pagano is confident in Ballard’s ability to carry the load for the team.
"But certainly at the end of the year with Donnie [Donald Brown] hurt and the way Vick came on and the way he was running, he was getting the lion's share of the snaps. At this point, yeah, he's sitting there as the lead guy,” Pagano told ESPN.
A defined era has yet to be established in the backfield, but I’m excited about Ballard and Williams. Carter is still unproven, and Brown will almost certainly be playing elsewhere in 2014.
I will always love Joseph Addai, but the Colts haven’t had a primetime back since Edgerrin James.
Can Ballard take a page from the James playbook and become the next star in the Colts backfield? We shall see.
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