Colts shouldn’t be leaning on Marlon Mack after trade demand

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 03: Marlon Mack #25 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 03: Marlon Mack #25 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images) /

The Indianapolis Colts have done well with regard to adding running back depth, as a former 1,000-yard rusher in Marlon Mack has been relegated to third-string duty behind one of the best young backs in football in Jonathan Taylor and an expert pass-catcher in Nyheim Hines.

Between 2018 and 2019, Mack was exactly one yard short of 2,000 rushing yards, showing that when he’s in a groove, the USF alum can hit holes with lightning speed and bounce off would-be tacklers thanks to some solid lower body strength. Unfortunately, those moments have been fewer and farther between over the last few years.

An Achilles injury in Week 1 of last season helped completely torpedo Mack’s value, as both he and the team are seeking a fresh start following the emergence of Taylor. This means Mack will be a health scratch until they find a deal, right?

Wrong! Mack played one-third of the snaps in Indy’s win against the Miami Dolphins, which is bizarre considering how snaps were allocated to Taylor and Hines. it’s hard to see the logic for Indianapolis here, as they are putting a future star and an established role player on the bench to trot out a player still trying to get back to full strength.

The Colts shouldn’t risk Marlon Mack prior to a trade.

There is quite frankly no benefit to letting Mack play as much as he did against Miami. Whatever value they could get from showing Mack off and trying to increase his trade value is offset by the fact that he is coming off of a major injury. Risking his health could jeopardize the entire operation.

Even at his best, Mack would be the third-best running back on this roster. He lacks the bell cow ability of Taylor as well as the receiving skills of Hines, meaning that the Colts have to sacrifice somewhere on offense whenever Mack comes into the game. For a 1-3 team staring at 1-4, that’s not a very prudent strategy.

Making him a healthy scratch is best for all parties involved. Indianapolis’ return for a running back of his caliber coming off of a major injury is not going to be very bountiful. There is no need to both take players like Taylor and Hines off the field and risk ruining Mack’s value by giving him more carries.

Mack has proven he can be a solid back in this league, but if both he and the Colts are in lockstep when it comes to making sure he finds a home elsewhere, they need to shelve him until a deal can be found.