Whenever the subject of Trent Richardson’s struggles in 2013 is broached, the running back says that one of things working against him was the lack of time he had to learn the offense because he joined the Colts once the season was already underway.
Time for education is not a problem in the offseason and Richardson says he’s been learning a lot now that he has time to focus on the playbook and scheme. The result has been a deeper understanding of the offense rather than simply memorizing what he’s supposed to do on every play.
“I’m learning a lot, as much as I’ve learned in this last week, [it's] much more than I learned last year,” Richardson said, via the Colts’ website. “The off-season is very important because you have a chance to vibe with your team, to build that respect, to build that trust and then to build that team chemistry with your offensive line, with your quarterback. Knowing the concept of a play is the biggest thing because when it comes down to it, if you just remember what you’re doing, that’s not good enough. I remembered the playbook last year. I know it now. I’m learning a lot this year.”
There are plenty of people who have other explanations for Richardson’s struggles, most of them based around Richardson’s skills rather than his familiarity with the Indianapolis offense. Those doubts existed after his rookie year in Cleveland as well, so it’s a big year for Richardson.
For his part, Richardson believes that the “sky’s the limit” for how good the Colts offense can be in 2014. If they do reach the stratosphere, there’s a good chance Richardson will be proven right about the power of education.