September 22, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Trent Richardson (34) during warms up before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Indianapolis, IN – The Colts acquired running back Trent Richardson from the Cleveland Browns last week, and many expect him to become a franchise running back in Indianapolis. Indianapolis also made a big acquisition at the running back position this past off-season in free agency by signing former New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw. Both of these guys are more than capable of starting for the Colts, and both have cases to claim the starting role.
Ahmad Bradshaw made things much more interesting yesterday afternoon with a huge game on the ground against the 49ers and their stout defense. Bradshaw carried the football 19 times for a total of 95 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 5.0 yards per carry, and took a lot of pressure off of Andrew Luck and the aerial attack. This is exactly the kind of production that Colts’ Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton wants to see from his starting back.
Trent Richardson debuted for the Colts against the yesterday as well. He was less effective on the ground with 13 carries for just 35 yards, but he did score a touchdown on his first carry with the Colts. One of the main concerns in Cleveland was his yards per carry, and in game one with Indianapolis, he averaged just 2.7. He’ll need to find a way to improve on that number by quite a bit in order to reach the potential that many believe that he has.
The question becomes, which running back should the Colts start as the season progresses? With Bradshaw, the Colts know what they will be getting each and every game. They will get a good performance and a threat in the passing game out of the backfield. Richardson brings a power back who can break tackles and make plays. He may not have the yards per carry that Bradshaw does, but he certainly is capable of making plays.
Both of these guys should be starting in the NFL, but the Colts have a choice to make. More than likely, we’ll continue to see a two-back system with both players receiving a good amount of carries. Which player gets more carries per week very likely depends on the match-ups. If the Colts need a player who’s able to make plays after contact, then Richardson will be the guy. If they need a quicker back who’s capable of being a threat in the passing game as well, then Bradshaw is the easy choice. The Colts certainly have a dilemma, but it’s a dilemma that most teams would love to have.