The AFC South is now home to young, talented quarterbacks. Rookies Anthony Richardson and CJ Stroud are starting for the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans, respectively, Trevor Lawrence is in his third year with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Tennessee Titans have second-year Malik Willis and rookie Will Levis, who could be called on soon if Ryan Tannehill plays more games like the one he did on Sunday.
All of this young talent sets up the possibility for exciting quarterback matchups. On Sunday, Richardson and Lawrence got that started for the AFC South. The Jaguars won the game 31-21, but the Colts were far more competitive than people thought, thanks in part to a promising debut from Richardson.
Following the game, Richardson and Lawrence were captured meeting at midfield and having a very brief chat. Postgame, Lawrence revealed that he took the moment to offer Richardson a little advice. The Jaguars quarterback told Richardson that he made some unbelievable plays but he needs to try to be better at protecting himself, emphasizing, “The hits add up in this league, and they’re a little different than in college.”
Trevor Lawrence told Anthony Richardson to try and protect himself
Colts fans are certainly hoping Richardson heeds this advice, because he had a couple of moments where he made everyone in Lucas Oil Stadium hold their breath. Richardson carried the ball 10 times for 40 yards. On his first carry, he got up limping. On his final carry, Richardson rolled around on the ground for a bit, and left the game. He was ultimately fine, just taking a couple of bruises, but everyone, including Lawrence, wants him to learn that he can avoid contact.
That’s a tough lesson to learn when you’re a 6-foot-4, 244-pound dual-threat quarterback, especially when you’ve been bigger, faster, and stronger than everyone your entire life. However, as Lawrence said, the NFL is different, and defenders are bringing a little bit more to the party. It’s going to be a balance that Richardson has to figure out as he develops in the league.
Staying healthy is definitely important, but injuries are also apart of the game. Richardson can certainly slide and get out of bounds, but there are also going to be times where he can use his size and power to plow through defenders. In the words of Kenny Rogers, Richardson will have to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em.