Bruce Arians thinks Vick Ballard’s a “poor man’s” Edgerrin James

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With quarterback Andrew Luck making a strong first impression with the Colts this season, plenty of people have pointed out that Indianapolis has replaced a Hall of Fame quarterback with at least another very good player at the position.

It’s not the only place where they feel history might be repeating itself. Interim head coach Bruce Arians thinks rookie running back Vick Ballard shares some qualities with a guy who spent seven years sharing a backfield with Manning. Arians look at Ballard and finds himself thinking about Edgerrin James.

“He’s powerful. He’s a poor man’s Edge. He’s bowlegged like Edge and he’s about the same size, and tough to bring down,” Arians said, via Jeff Darlington of “He’s quick, he’s elusive, doesn’t have the great, great speed, but he can make the first guy miss and he’s going to make a lot of yards because he makes people miss. He’s got a great future.”

With Donald Brown done for the season, Ballard will be the man for the Colts in the running game the rest of the way. He’s got 146 carries for 562 yards and one touchdown thus far, but is coming off his best rushing game of the season against the Titans last week with 94 yards on 19 carries. If he can repeat that against the Texans and help Indy win on Sunday, the AFC South race could go right down to the wire.

Even if they don’t win, the Colts have to feel mighty good about the future of their offense. Luck and Ballard are joined by wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, tight end Dwayne Allen and tight end Coby Fleener as rookies playing big roles and playing them well for the Colts in 2012.