The Indianapolis Colts have finally come to their senses and are no longer going to bank on Trent Richardson getting out of a funk. It’s always dangerous to play somebody based on pedigree or expenditure (whether it be financial or, in the case of Richardson, in trade value) when they aren’t performing well, and the Colts embarrassing 40-11 loss to the Arizona Cardinals likely served as a wake-up call to stop this illogical thinking. Richardson and Donald Brown have been running behind the same exact offensive line, and yet Brown is completely shattering Richardson in just about every measurable level of performance. It’s been a long time coming, but the NFL Network’s Mike Silver is reporting that the Colts will finally bench Trent Richardson for Donald Brown.
Chuck Pagano rightfully stood by T-Rich when the former Cleveland Browns RB was struggling earlier in the year, but the Colts were too slow to react. It’s always important to be patient and not fall into a knee-jerk trap, but the Colts allowed Richardson, who has been one of the worst RBs this year with an average of just 2.9 yards per carry (for my money, only Willis McGahee has been worse), to stink up the joint for far too long. Pagano continued to defend Richardson, and T-Rich inexplicably stated that he thought he’s been running well. That’s a frustrating lack of accountability and honesty. I mean, if Richardson were running well, then how in the heck is Brown averaging nearly three yards per carry more?
Donald Brown needs to start for the Colts, because every game still counts for this Colts team. They can’t afford to continue to be “patient” (rather, complacent) with their running back situation and must get the most productivity possible. It’s time to move on from Richardson as the starter and move forward with Brown, who has clearly played well enough to earn the starting gig. That’s exactly what the Colts are doing, and I wonder if Pagano and Pep Hamilton made the move with frustration from owner Jim Irsay, who sent several tweets of that nature earlier this week, in mind.
The Colts should still give some carries to Richardson, but it shouldn’t even come in a committee. No, Richardson has been so bad and Brown has been so good that the Colts need to give Brown something like 70% of the carries. The Colts face the rival Tennessee Titans today, and it will be interesting to see just how much this move helps the offense.