The Indianapolis Colts updated their injury report on Friday, and one player has suddenly freshly appeared all together. The culprit is running back Trent Richardson, who is now listed as “questionable” with an illness after not participating in Friday’s practice. It’s not the first time that Richardson has “caught a bug”, as he was previously sick with an illness in Week 12 and then lost the starting running back job to Dan “Boom” Herron.
Dec 28, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Trent Richardson (34) carries the ball against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
Whether Richardson’s new illness is just a convenient way for the Colts to better phase him out of the offense, remains unclear. However, Boom Herron was expected to take the majority of the rushing carries regardless.
However, in the team’s defense, it would seem like an odd time to have the team’s best running back in pass protection sit when everything is on the line. Even despite his running struggles, Richardson is still an asset in pass blocking for the Colts. According to ProFootballFocus (subscription), his +3.4 in blocking is much better than Dan Herron’s -3.1 rating for the season respectively.
Yet, Richardson has 159 carries for 519 rushing yards, resulting in a subpar 3.3 yards per carry average. He has only received more than 10+ carries once in the team’s last 8 regular season games. He conversely hasn’t rushed for more than 50+ rushing yards in a game since Week 7. The Colts are clearly using Herron for the bulk of the rushing carries, while Richardson has mostly been used situationally in passing plays.
Showing more burst and explosion, Herron has rushed 78 times for 351 rushing yards and a 4.5 yards per carry average. However, it’s worth noting that the Colts 3rd-string running back has actually fared worse than Richardson in limited action, as Zurlon Tipton has 10 carries for 18 total rush yards (1.8 ypc avg). Although to be fair, he’s mostly been rushing behind the Colts back-up offensive line, which isn’t necessarily an inspiring group.
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It’s more likely that Richardson is simply sick with an illness, and that the Colts are unsure how effective he’ll be as a direct result. Still, the team would be wise to use Richardson in pass protection in order to keep Andrew Luck upright if he’s available on Sunday.
In other injury news, former starting offensive guard Hugh Thornton has been declared “out” with a shoulder injury, as he has not practiced all week. His interior offensive lineman counterpart, A.Q. Shipley, has been officially listed as “doubtful”, as he is battling an ankle injury and has not practiced this week either.
Dec 28, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Trent Richardson (34) enters the field before a game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. The Colts beat the Titans 27-10. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports