The Colts didn’t make a significant offseason addition at running back, in part because they think last year’s fifth-rounder Vick Ballard’s all the back they need.
According to Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com, Colts coach Chuck Pagano is inclined to go into the season with Ballard as his lead back, using former first-rounder Donald Brown as a third-down back.
“It’s always nice to have a couple guys, a change of pace guy,” Pagano said. “But certainly at the end of the year with Donnie hurt and the way Vick came on and the way he was running, he was getting the lion’s share of the snaps. At this point, yeah, he’s sitting there as the lead guy. But Donnie’s in great shape and healthy and looks fantastic to this point in the offseason program.
“Can Vick be an every-down guy? Yeah. Can Donnie be an every-down guy? Yeah.”
New offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton isn’t going to be afraid to run the ball, and Ballard looked like he can handle the load. He started the last 12 games last year, and gained 814 yards on 211 carries, showing he might be the kind of clock-grinder the Colts need to balance out an offense that saw quarterback Andrew Luck take too many hits last year.
“Vick is a solid, solid guy; Donnie is a home run hitter,” Pagano said. “If he gets the edge and hits a crease, he can take it the distance. For Vick, look at that last drive of the regular season against the Texans: We got the ball with 9:46 on the clock, we ran 12 plays, 11 runs, and we ended up taking a knee. Vick took the lion’s share of carries on that drive. He just keeps getting stronger, the more carries he has the better he gets.”
And from the sounds of things, he’s going to continue to get more and more opportunities.