Colts running back Trent Richardson ran for eight yards on his first carry of the preseason, the kind of run that could be seen as a fresh start for a player who struggled to gain any positive yardage after joining the team during the 2013 season.
Richardson has added just 26 yards on his next 13 carries, however, and his 2.4 yards per carry is actually down from last year’s anemic totals. Neither coach Chuck Pagano nor General Manager Ryan Grigson is ready to pull the cord on Richardson as a result, but Grigson also made it clear that they need to get more from the third overall pick of the 2013 draft.
“Trent, he needs to answer the bell and do his job to the best of his ability,” Grigson said, via ESPN.com. “We’re all accountable here. I will say this, there are a lot of backs last year that wouldn’t have got [2.9 yards per carry] considering the amount of people he had in that box and the amount of bodies that were hitting him before he even seemed to get the ball sometimes. He’s such a hard runner, we know how tough he is, but he’s got to produce just like all these guys do on this final 53.”
Richardson’s two best runs of the preseason have come when the team is lined up in the shotgun and Pagano talked about his belief that the Colts’ ability to throw the ball “is going to open things up in the run game.” There’s also the hope that wide receiver Reggie Wayne’s return to full action and finding the right players on the interior of the offensive line will further open things up for Richardson, but it is still going to be on the back to take advantage of advantageous situations.
Vick Ballard’s injury limits the Colts’ options if that doesn’t happen, but if accountability is something Grigson is stressing then they’ll have to turn to Ahmad Bradshaw or someone else in the event Richardson turns in more of the same this season.