COMMENTARY | Newly acquired running back Trent Richardson was able to ease his way into his role with the Indianapolis Colts in Week 3 against the San Francisco 49ers, but with Ahmad Bradshaw out for this week's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Trent Richardson Era begins in full force.
Bradshaw will miss the game against the Jaguars with a neck injury, so the only two healthy running backs left on the roster are Richardson and Donald Brown. Sunday's game against the league's worst run defense should translate into a monster game for Richardson and set him on the path of becoming the first star running back that the Colts have had since Edgerrin James.
The Cleveland Browns made Richardson the No. 3 overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft for a reason. And there's a reason the Colts traded away their first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft to get him. He has the talent, piling up 950 rushing yards and 367 receiving yards in 15 games last year with the woeful Browns.
Put that talent to work in an offense that includes a viable passing attack with Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne, and defenses can't simply tee off on Richardson to stop the entire offense. With the mishmash combination of Bradshaw, Brown and Vick Ballard this season, the Colts already boast the league's No. 4 rushing offense. If they can pick up 148 rushing yards per game with those guys, imagine what they'll be able to do with Richardson as the feature back.
Richardson also has hands, pulling down 51 receptions last season as a member of the Browns. The Colts haven't utilized Bradshaw (7 receptions) or Brown (no receptions) in that capacity, so Richardson's receiving ability opens up the playbook a little bit and gives the Colts another wrinkle on offense.
Sunday's game against the Jaguars is probably a little sooner than the Colts wanted to thrust Richardson into the workhorse role, but this is an exciting time for everyone in Colts Nation not named Ahmad Bradshaw.
After this week's game against the Jaguars, the Colts face the formidable Seattle Seahawks defense in Week 5, but the game is in Indianapolis, not Seattle, and the Seahawks are a very different team on the road -- especially east of the Mississippi River -- than they are at home. It won't be an easy game, but the Seahawks allow 95 rushing yards per game, so it's not Mission: Impossible either.
Then comes a road trip against the San Diego Chargers, who have the fifth-worst run defense in the league, coughing up 130 yards per game on the ground.
By the time the Colts have to deal with the league's No. 1 run defense -- the Denver Broncos -- Richardson will have four games under his belt with Indianapolis. He should be pretty fluent in the Colts playbook by then.
Colts fans, then, are about to witness the beginning of an era: the Trent Richardson Era. With Richardson and Luck developing at the same time, the sky is the limit in Indianapolis for years to come.
The author is a resident of central Indiana and a long-time follower of the Indianapolis Colts.
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- Trent Richardson
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- Jacksonville Jaguars