Ryan Grigson: Trent Richardson must perform
If there was ever a time for Trent Richardson to prove himself, this is it.
Entering training camp, there was a sense of optimism and confidence in the team’s backfield. Vick Ballard, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Richardson were healthy, and they would be the Colts’ brutal three-headed monster.
Well, until the injury bug sunk its mammoth teeth into the Colts neck, again, that is.
After a pressure-filled and mediocre 2013 campaign, questions have surrounded Richardson like a pool of sharks, and with Ballard out for a second consecutive season, the questions are only going to get louder.
Coach Chuck Pagano has consistently exclaimed his support and confidence in Richardson’s obvious ability, but the honeymoon is over.
Richardson has to know the clock is ticking. Ryan Grigson does.
While Richardson has shown some flashes in limited preseason action, Grigson doesn’t seem to be impressed.
“Trent, he needs to answer the bell and do his job to the best of his ability,” Grigson said, via ESPN.com.
Grigson’s firmness on Richardson’s development should come as no surprise, either. After all, if Richardson doesn’t perform this year, there will be plenty of blame to go around.
Grigson could find himself on the hot seat for throwing away a valuable first rounder to acquire the Alabama workhorse, and rightfully so.
Fans can be restless and the job of general manager in the NFL begs the same question as every other job in the league: what have you done for me lately?
The biggest trade of Grigson’s young managing career may be the only one he’s remembered for, and perhaps that is where the real concern should lie in Indianapolis.
While every Colts fan wants and needs to see Richardson put up featured tail back numbers, they should also be considering why Richardson was acquired in the first place.
It’s no secret that Pagano emphasizes the ability to run the ball powerfully. It’s also no secret that he likes his defense to be a hard-hitting group.
Pagano and Grigson have established a roster that seemingly fits the DNA of a “Pagano team,” but the depth chart hasn’t necessarily delivered on Pagano’s promise to “build a monster.”
Perhaps that’s what Grigson saw in Richardson.
"He’s such a hard runner, we know how tough he is, but he’s got to produce just like all these guys do on this final 53.”
As evidenced by Grigson’s thoughts on Richardson, toughness only goes so far.
During his rookie year, Richardson was a back that absolutely ran over defenders. He punished anyone who tried to tackle him, even if his numbers weren’t All-Pro.
But ever since he has landed in Indianapolis, Richardson has seemingly decided that he needs to be more of a finesse runner, and that is where the riddle of Richardson is especially puzzling.
Richardson has the ability to put this team on his shoulders in the trenches, and it’s possible that he will do exactly that.
It’s also possible the evolution of Richardson as a Colt came from the added pressure of being featured with Andrew Luck as the team’s “big two,” all while being thrown into a completely new offense with an incredibly mediocre offensive line.
The riddle of Richardson will be clearer after his first full season as a Colt, but at this point, it’s strictly about performing.
The clock is ticking, Trent, and Ryan Grigson is holding the watch.
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