The Indianapolis Colts won 11 games in 2012, just one year after going 2-14, and quarterback Andrew Luck grabbed most of the headlines and rightfully got a lot of credit for that turnaround. But other rookies made notable contributions as well last season, including running back Vick Ballard, who led the team in rushing with 814 yards and had three total touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving).
Ballard was in line for a more significant role from the start in 2013, with head coach Chuck Pagano annointing him as the team’s lead back and an increased focus on running the ball coming with Pep Hamilton replacing Bruce Arians as offensive coordinator. But things have changed with this week’s signing of Ahmad Bradshaw, who is now likely become the top dog in the Colts’ running back rotation.
Donald Brown, Delone Carter and Kerwynn Williams are also in the running back mix for Indianapolis, and the addition of Bradshaw stands to impact the roster status of Brown and Carter the most once preseason games gets going. No matter what, Ballard is in no danger of being bumped further down the depth chart during training camp as long as he stays healthy.
Despite the expected change coming to his role, Ballard is a virtual lock to make the Colts’ 53-man roster. The team’s exact plan for splitting the backfield workload is unclear right now, but it would be shocking to see Brown or Carter step up and make a case for a significant role. So it comes down to Bradshaw and Ballard, and I think Ballard can again lead the Colts in rushing this season with Bradshaw’s ability to stay healthy still a serious question.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.