On Tuesday, head coach Shane Steichen announced that rookie Anthony Richardson will be the team’s starting quarterback for the season. Steichen has been impressed with Richardson’s growth throughout the offseason, and believes he’s shown enough in training camp and the team’s first preseason game to be named starter.
This is an outcome that many people were hoping for. Fans, media members, coaches, and players have been arguing that Richardson has the skills to survive on the field, and actually playing is the best way for him to get better. However, there’s also a side that argues that Richardson could benefit from some time on the bench, and that the Colts shouldn’t rush him on the field because he’d be at risk of being ruined.
Dwight Freeney, one of the best players in franchise history, is of the belief that Richardson should start from day one. He made that clear in a recent conversation with Kay Adams, where Adams argued that she would rather sit Richardson, as a way to protect him as he develops. In a healthy back and fourth, Freeney admitted that young quarterbacks could be ruined if they get on the field before they’re ready, however, he explained why that shouldn’t be the case with Richardson.
Dwight Freeney believes Colts are set up for Anthony Richardson to succeed
Freeney admitted that oftentimes, starting a rookie quarterback could be like flipping a coin: there’s a 50% chance that things could be successful and a 50% chance that it could be disastrous. However, the reason Freeney is confident that things will workout in Indy is because of the tools that Richardson has and the structure of the Colts.
Freeney repeatedly emphasized that the Colts will be a run-centric, RPO offense. That will allow Richardson to utilize his legs, benefit from Indy’s run game, and operate in a style of offense that he’s familiar with. He’ll have those benefits while the rest of his game is catching up.
Additionally, Freeney believes in Indy’s defense. He believes that with a solid defense and a strong running game, Richardson can be used similarly to Russell Wilson in his early days with the Seattle Seahawks. If the Colts can provide those things to the young quarterback, he’ll have a comfortable environment to grow.
What Freeney doesn’t want to see from the Colts is them throwing Richardson on the field in a traditional drop back offense. He believes that goes away from his strengths, and opens the door for a situation where he can be ruined. If Indianapolis can adequately support Richardson, and tailor the offense to his strengths, Dwight Freeney is all for him being thrown on the field in Week 1 and figuring it out.