Donald Brown Makes Case to Start at Running Back
By Evan Massey
Nov 14, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Donald Brown (31) carries the ball against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville, TN – The Indianapolis Colts were able to pull out a big win on the road against the Tennessee Titans by the final score of 30-27, and improved to 7-3 on the season. In addition to the win, the Colts may have figured out something that will be even more important to the remainder of this season as the Colts make their playoff push. Donald Brown came in and had a big game on the ground with 14 carries for 80 yards and he also scored two touchdowns.
Trent Richardson was acquired earlier this season for a first round pick from the Cleveland Browns, but has been unable to get things going since arriving in Indianapolis. Donald Brown has quietly been making his case to take over the starting job from Richardson, and he may very well have come even closer to that goal against the Titans.
One of the main concerns about Brown starting is the fact that he’s not the best pass blocker when called upon. That being said, he did a very solid job of picking up the pass rush for Andrew Luck tonight. He certainly still has some improvements to make in the blocking aspect of his game, but he’s certainly more than capable of doing a good enough job to warrant a starting job.
There’s no question that Brown’s play the last 3-4 weeks have been superior to that of Trent Richardson. Surprisingly, he has actually fit the Colts’ offense better than Trent Richardson as well. The Colts want to pound the football with both power and playmaking, and while Brown isn’t the biggest back, he’s able to make tacklers miss and pick up yards after first contact. Brown and Richardson both have been very solid as receiver out of the backfield, so there’s not too much to talk about there. One main reason to consider whether or not Donald Brown will take over a the starting running back is that he received the bulk of the carries almost all night after Richardson started off slowly once again.
It will be very interesting to see what the Colts decide to do following this huge game from Brown. He helped the Colts defeat the Titans in a huge way with his running and was consistent all night. There is no way to make an argument that Richardson has outplayed him. The only reason I could see him not earning the starting job is if the Colts want to continue hoping that they didn’t make a mistake in trading their first round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft to get Richardson from the Browns. He has done everything right and most certainly deserves the starting job next week.
Evan Massey is an Editor for Naptown’s Finest. Follow Evan on Twitter at @Massey_Evan.