Jim Bob Cooter: We don't want to restrict Anthony Richardson's "extreme athletic talent"

Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson is back in action after his rookie year prematurely ended due to shoulder surgery.

On Wednesday, Indianapolis offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter said it's been good to get Richardson going again.

“Phase One goes to Phase Two and we’re able to get out there a little bit, move around, and work through everything that we’re working through as a team, as an offense,” Cooter said in his press conference. “I’ll hold all the just absolute, exact details of everybody – what all exactly we’re doing out there. But it’s good to get him back. He’s got good energy and it’s been good.”

One concern with Richardson entering his second season is how the quarterback can better protect himself after suffering multiple injuries in just four starts as a rookie. Cooter noted that one adjustment Richardson had to deal with that may have contributed to the injuries is the NFL’s faster speed.

“Anthony is an extremely high level athlete, no doubt about that. But even that, [in college] he’s used to striding into the end zone nice and easy and [now] gosh, that safety is a step faster than he was expecting,” Cooter said. “Guys are there just a step quicker. That shows up for every young player, every young quarterback. As you’re evaluating pass concepts, those holes close a little bit sooner.

“I think that thing will slow down for Anthony. He will be able to evaluate how guys are moving around him a little bit better — sort of Year 2. Like every young player, especially at the quarterback position, you learn how to take care of yourself and how important it is that we’re out there for a bunch of games and able to sort of manage how we go through a season because it is a longer season in the NFL than college. Be able to go about our business and learn how to sort of play game after game after game and show up every single game.”

But that doesn’t mean the Colts want to completely change the way Richardson plays, in large part because that’s what helps make him special.

“I mean, he’s got extreme athletic talent like we talked about. You don’t want to restrict that," Cooter said. "You don’t want to say, ‘Hey, never ever move around,’ because gosh, he’s so special. He’s so special at it and it’s finding that balance, finding that sweet spot of being able to use our athleticism, use his athleticism but like I said, be able to get up, play that next play, play that next game, and that’s what we’re all trying — trying to get this thing done. That’s what the emphasis is for him.”

In his limited playing time last season, Richardson threw for 577 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for 136 yards with four TDs.