Trent Richardson’s first season in Indianapolis was largely a disaster.
Richardson struggled to adapt to the Colts offense after being traded by the Cleveland Browns in September. He rushed for just 458 yards and three touchdowns in 14 games with Indianapolis. He averaged just 2.9 yards per carry on 157 attempts.
However, Colts backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck still has hope for Richardson’s future in Indianapolis.
Hasselbeck was with the Seattle Seahawks in 2010 when they made a similar in-season trade to acquire Marshawn Lynch from the Buffalo Bills.
Lynch struggled to adapt quickly to Seattle’s blocking scheme. Lynch frequently was running into his own blockers and getting stopped at the line of scrimmage despite his hard-nosed running style. Lynch eventually began to learn the running scheme as time elapsed and the line blocked more adequately in front of him.
Hasselbeck believes Richardson could see a similar shift in his success with the Colts.
“Marshawn’s numbers weren’t spectacular either,” Hasselbeck said, via Craig Kelley of the Colts’ team website. “Everyone in the locker room understood he was doing the best he could and was working really hard. It’s very similar to Trent.”
“He came in in tough circumstances. We say these OTAs matter and training camp matters and preseason matters. To put unrealistic expectations on him after he missed all that with us (was unfortunate). I would definitely expect his numbers to look better this year.”
Lynch ran for just 573 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games and averaged just 3.5 yards per carry with Seattle that first season. However, Lynch did put together a memorable postseason moment with his romp through the New Orleans Saints defense in Seattle’s upset victory in the first round of the playoffs.
Lynch’s numbers jumped the following year to 1,204 yards, 12 touchdowns and a 4.2 average per carry.
Richardson feels more comfortable in the offense already this offseason. Maybe he can see a similar jump in his second season in Indianapolis and live up to his status as a former Top 5 draft pick.
“When I had to step in and start when Ahmad (Bradshaw) went down, it was hard,” Richardson said. “I didn’t have the chance to learn ‘Why are we doing this? What am I looking at this linebacker, or that linebacker on the backside?’ I just had to know where I was running. I didn’t know the full reasons. With the timing, it’s way easier now.”