Colts RB Jonathan Taylor is improving upon his game as a receiving back.
The arrival of Philip Rivers this offseason figures to provide the Indianapolis Colts with a significant upgrade at quarterback. However, we still fully expect head coach Frank Reich to deploy a run-centric offense.
After all, the five starters from Indy’s formidable offensive line are returning and the team added to its already talented running back depth chart by selecting Jonathan Taylor in the second round of the 2020 Draft. Though the Colts obviously have high expectations for the Wisconsin product, it’s been projected for most of training camp that he’ll be eased in as a rookie.
Well, with the start of the regular season just weeks away, that narrative appears to be changing. The latest buzz indicates that Indy is planning to deploy Taylor (and Marlon Mack) in the passing game.
If this is true, opposing defenses should be shaking in their boots.
We already know what sort of havoc Taylor is capable of wreaking as a runner. Across three seasons at Wisconsin, he tallied 926 carries for 6,174 yards — which is good for a ridiculous 6.7 average — and 50 touchdowns. He was the consensus top running back in the country, and that spotlight, as well as the Badgers’ lack of confidence in their passing game, largely overshadowed his ability as a pass-catcher.
Make no mistake about it, Colts fans: Taylor will have no trouble adding a receiving threat to his already polished game. What makes this development so intriguing is the fact that Rivers loves utilizing his RBs as receivers out of the backfield. According to Pro Football Focus, no quarterback in the NFL has had more check-down completions (124) since 2017.
In theory, the Colts utilizing all three of their running backs, not just proven pass-catcher Nyheim Hines, as receivers makes perfect sense. Doing so will keep opposing defenses on their toes all game long. Each of them brings different traits and qualities to the table, and that’s what makes them so valuable to Indianapolis.
As if the prospect of the 21-year-old stud bulldozing defenders between the tackles wasn’t enough to keep NFL defensive coordinators up at night, they now have to develop a game plan to stymie him as a receiver in the open field.
Good luck with that!