While Trent Richardson has been a massive disappointment in the Indianapolis Colts backfield, Donald Brown has been a pleasant surprise this season. He’s earned the right to receive more carries due to his solid play and Richardson’s struggles, and he banked on the additional workload by playing a vital role in the Colts 30-27 Thursday night victory over the rival Tennessee Titans. That victory has made the Colts a lock to win the AFC South, and they couldn’t have done it without Brown’s 80 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns on 14 carries.
And yet, it doesn’t sound like the Colts are going to give Brown the starting gig over Richardson. Colts head coach Chuck Pagano indicated that they will roll with the status quo, which is Brown receiving less carries (but still a relatively close split) than Richardson. According to the Indianapolis Star’s Stephen F. Holder, the Colts will continue the status quo and also ride the “hot hand”, which is a sentiment that Pagano explicitly stated.
Earlier this week, Pagano once again defended Trent Richardson, and quickly answered that the Colts do not regret acquiring Richardson from the Cleveland Browns for a first-round pick. As he did over a month ago, Pagano defended Richardson and stated that he doesn’t know why T-Rich hasn’t been able to produce. Pagano has maintained that Richardson is finding the right holes and running well, but it’s clear that we can pin the blame on Richardson. I mean, how is it that Brown is racking up the yardage whereas Richardson is struggling? It can’t be lack of familiarity anymore, and it’s difficult to absolve Richardson of most of the blame at this juncture. It’s good to hear that the Colts aren’t willing to throw T-Rich under the bus, but they need to do more than just ride the “hot hand”; they need to leapfrog Richardson with Brown.