Last week, running back Dan Herron had his first start in the NFL. He had spent most of the season as the third man on the depth chart, barely seeing the field.
Herron got the start in Week 12 and will likely continue to start for the foreseeable future. Chuck Pagano said that as long as his practice performance doesn’t change, he’ll be the starter.
After one game, Herron has earned that right. Two fumbles aside (yes, the toss from Andrew Luck should be on Herron), he averaged 5.4 yards per carry and caught all five passes thrown his way for 31 yards.
Richardson had just one more carry last week than Herron and averaged just 3.2 yards.
For the season, Richardson has just a 3.4 yards per carry average amounting to 433 total yards. He’s found the end zone three times and has 22 receptions for 203 yards.
Nothing about Richardson’s tenure in Indianapolis has suggested that he is anything more than a short yardage back. He struggles to run outside of the tackles and doesn’t have the burst to get through the limited holes this offensive line can create.
We’ve seen enough from other players (e.g. Bradshaw, Herron, and Donald Brown) to know that the line isn’t solely to blame for Richardson’s struggles as some would have you believe.
With the current makeup of the offensive line, the Colts need a running back who has great acceleration and can hit the holes quickly. Richardson is fine once he gets going, but it takes more than a couple steps for him to get up to speed.
We’ve seen some really good runs from him when there has been tremendous blocking or after making a catch and having space. He’s even seen his yards per carry drop in the past month to just 2.9 per attempt.
Advanced stats and metrics are not big fans of Richardson either. Football Outsiders has him as the 28th RB in the NFL in DYAR and DVOA. Pro Football Focus has him 23rd overall with a very average grade.
So heading into Week 13’s meeting with Washington, Richardson will be relieving Herron. It was also in Week 13 last season when Brown started taking the bulk of the carries away from Richardson. Maybe its time for Ryan Grigson to admit this was a horrible trade.