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Colts will hold running back battle in training camp

Donald Brown Pic Getty Images

A bust his first two years, former Colts first-round pick Donald Brown quietly enjoyed the best season of his career in 2011. Brown set career highs in rushing yards, attempts, and touchdowns. His 4.81 yards-per-carry average was over a full yard greater than Brown’s 2009-2010 clip.

Perhaps the light flipped on. Perhaps it still hasn’t. Either way, the Colts are going to make Brown compete to keep his position.

“Donald deserves to be No. 1 right now as we go through offseason training,” running backs coach David Walker told Colts.com. “But we’ll see how that unfolds as we get to camp and start hitting, playing against other people in the preseason. …

“Everybody wants to be that guy, and we’ll give everybody that opportunity to show us he can be that guy.”

Though Brown has underwhelmed as a pro, a quick glance at his competition suggests it’d be a major disappointment if he didn’t win the Colts’ feature back job, going away. His chief competitors in training camp will be plodding second-year fumbler Delone Carter, 2011 undrafted free agent Darren Evans, and 2012 fifth-round pick Vick Ballard.

Basically, it’s a camp battle stacked in Brown’s favor. If he can’t win the thing, it’s a bad sign for his football future.

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18 Responses to “Colts will hold running back battle in training camp”
  1. meytonpanning says: Jun 4, 2012 8:39 AM

    I think Delone Carter will have a good year this year, and I think he’ll split carries with Brown.

  2. kl5661 says: Jun 4, 2012 8:48 AM

    or sign Cedric Benson and make life much easier in that backfield.

  3. dexterismyhero says: Jun 4, 2012 8:50 AM

    Brown was also injured and then had to play with Curtis Painter/Dan Ohrlovski. Healthy, he is a good back.

  4. highonluck says: Jun 4, 2012 8:51 AM

    The colts running back stable is not as bad as stats suggest. It is a matter of what the offensive line in the past was built for, versus the direction Grigson is taking the newer offensive line.

    Brown has 1423 and 10 TDS on 341 carries. Not too bad when you consider top RBS used to get 300 plus carries. These stats for one year would be great, so it is a matter of who is blocking and who is calling the plays. Brown had a 2000 yard college season on 360 carries. He could prove to be a surprise.

    While I do not care for Delone Carter too much, Vick Ballard had 2 seasons in the SEC where the big dogs play and in those two years he had 379 attempts 2,157 yds and 29 TDS. This guy will prove to be a great compliment to Donald. I think in a new system that will have Luck throwing less than Peyton and his 40+ pass attempt games will translate to better stats for the RB’s and easier transition for luck so he won’t take as many licks or throw as many picks as most rookies will do in their debut season.

  5. eagleswin says: Jun 4, 2012 8:53 AM

    My guess is that the offensive line got better at run blocking. With the offense revolving around Peyton Manning and the quick pass offense the running game was never a priority. Last year, I would guess, the Colts ran (and practiced running) alot more than they had in previous years.

  6. mjkelly77 says: Jun 4, 2012 8:59 AM

    Colts will hold running back battle in training camp
    ______________

    Will it be like the old Battle of the Network Stars back in the 70′s?

  7. doe22us says: Jun 4, 2012 9:14 AM

    The Colts are really going to suck this yr, what an underwhelming group of backs.

  8. coltssteve says: Jun 4, 2012 9:32 AM

    I really don’t understand all of the hullabaloo over Donald Brown’s 2011 season numbers. He had one great game (vs. Tennessee, which benefited from a very long run), and two solid games (vs. ATL and CAR). If you look at the back half of the season, specifically against NE, BAL, HOU, and JAX, he was putrid! In those four games, he carried the ball 42 times for 128 yards, which was a 3.04 ypc average. Yes it was nice to see him breakout in the Tennessee game, but he certainly did not continue at that level against HOU’s strong defense or even against JAX in the final game. While he had a strong 2011, I don’t think it was enough for him to shed the bust label. My guess is that his 2011 numbers do not translate into a breakout superstar 2012. Hopefully for the Colts, I will be proven wrong.

  9. castleofcheese says: Jun 4, 2012 9:34 AM

    battle royale??

  10. therealbleedcoltsblue says: Jun 4, 2012 9:44 AM

    As a Colts fan, one thing I am not happy with is how other positions on the team have to battle it out to see who the starter is..

    While Andrew Luck and his predecessor Manning are basically ‘annointed’ starters and we don’t even bring anyone in to make it interesting.

    RB is going to be just as important to our offense this year as QB.. why does only one of them have to earn it?

    *shrug*

  11. EJ says: Jun 4, 2012 10:14 AM

    Coming into the draft Brown didn’t look like a first round pick. Last season he looked good but, I think a lot of it was the fact that the Colts were always way behind in games, so teams expected them to be throwing non-stop and were always set up against the pass. Brown had open lanes all day long because of that. I’m not saying he is a bad RB, but he is not first round material.

  12. wlubake says: Jun 4, 2012 10:34 AM

    Vick Ballard can play. He’ll be the starter by season’s end.

  13. preventoffense says: Jun 4, 2012 10:37 AM

    coltssteve wrote: “”My guess is that his 2011 numbers do not translate into a breakout superstar 2012.””
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    They don’t need a superstar back. Very few teams have one including the SB champs. A viable threat to balance a passing attack, and the ability to convert on 3rd and short is all that is required to go to the post season.

  14. cmutimmah says: Jun 4, 2012 10:38 AM

    “therealbleedcoltsblue
    Jun 4, 2012 9:44 AM
    As a Colts fan, one thing I am not happy with is how other positions on the team have to battle it out to see who the starter is..

    While Andrew Luck and his predecessor Manning are basically ‘annointed’ starters and we don’t even bring anyone in to make it interesting.”

    What?!? Would you rather they trade for someone like Drew Stanton and give him a chance to start? Who do you want them to get? It’s a rebuilding year, why not give the kid, who they consider the future of the team, some experience?

  15. peytonsneck18 says: Jun 4, 2012 11:10 AM

    Dont sleep on Vic Ballard! !!

  16. urfinished says: Jun 4, 2012 11:13 AM

    I like Evans as a darkhorse here.
    Local kid that looked great in college. Won’t make many miss but falls forward and gets tough yards. An injury had him undrafted but now that he’s had enough time to fully heal, he could be a great story for Indy.

  17. rushbacker says: Jun 4, 2012 8:14 PM

    If Brown doesn’t come through with a very strong season, they’ll have to address it in next year’s draft. They need more talent in the backfield to help ease Luck’s transition to the pro’s.

  18. therealbleedcoltsblue says: Jun 4, 2012 11:35 PM

    cmutimmahWhat?!? Would you rather they trade for someone like Drew Stanton and give him a chance to start? Who do you want them to get? It’s a rebuilding year, why not give the kid, who they consider the future of the team, some experience?

    ______________________________

    That’s not what I’m saying at all. I don’t want a situation where if Luck gets hurt that we have another year like the last one.

    I’d just like to see us keep a viable back up (even keeping Orlovsky would have worked) who can maybe teach the kid a few tricks, step in to keep the kid from getting killed and keep us and our starting QB position competitive.. is that too much to ask?

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