Donald Brown is running by defenders and Trent Richardson
Donald Brown should be starting over Trent Richardson.
No, you didn’t read that wrong, and after the Colts nail-biting victory over a mediocre Titans team, it’s rather evident, regardless if it’s hard to fathom.
Teams never want to admit that they were wrong, especially in a trade, but when it comes to the Colts backfield, they were wrong.
Not wrong for sending a first-round pick to Cleveland for Richardson, at least not yet, but wrong for giving Richardson the nod over Brown.
Brown has not only proven to be a surprisingly explosive weapon for the Colts, but he’s also proven that he’s currently the best remaining back on the Colts depth chart and Richardson is about out of excuses.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly the problem with Richardson.
He’s had plenty of time become acquainted with the offense and Pep Hamilton’s scheme. Many quickly pointed fingers at the Colts offensive line, which has been mostly in shambles over the course of the season, but what about Brown’s performances?
He’s playing with the same exact offensive line. Do they miraculously block better when Brown is in the game?
Not exactly, but it may be fair to say that Brown’s skillset as a speedy, agile back is better suited to play behind the inconsistent blocking of the line, rather than Richardson’s brutal, downhill running style.
And here is where it seems Richardson has become a fish out of water.
When the hole isn’t obvious, Richardson often finds himself looking for a way to bounce outside for the big gain. The only problem, however,is that Richardson rarely gets to the outside.
Why, though? Well, Richardson doesn’t possess the quickness to make defenders miss on broken down run plays, and that’s fine.
Brown’s speed, along with his seemingly improved vision, is why he continues to succeed. As for Richardson, the coaching staff needs to emphasize the following to Richardson: find your hole, regardless of how small, and never look back.
How many times have we seen Richardson actually get some space and end up carrying a group of tackling defenders two or three yards? This is what Richardson was made to do and he’s very good at doing it.
No one is saying that Richardson should blatantly ignore a chance to cut outside for a possible game changer, or that he shouldn’t read his blocks. However, Richardson shouldn’t go out of his way to find those opportunities. He’s only had one rush for 15 or more yards this season, while Brown has had six on 41 less attempts.
Richardson needs to reclaim his identity as a work-horse back that finds opportunities within the trenches.
Why it’s so hard for Richardson to find the game that made him a standout rookie just a year ago, can be somewhat attributed to the pressure of an inconsistent offensive line, but it’s also a matter of recognizing and utilizing his strengths.
Until Richardson does this, Brown will be getting a larger share of carries, even if it ultimately means the Colts have to end up admitting that the Richardson wasn’t worth their first-round pick in 2014.
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