When the Indianapolis Colts traded a first round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft to the Cleveland Browns for running back Trent Richardson, many people felt that it was going to be the move that launched the team to a Super Bowl victory. The theory went that the hard hitting running back would be the perfect replacement for injured back Ahmad Bradshaw, and would be the perfect complement for quarterback Andrew Luck.
However, after watching Richardson rush the ball eight times for 22 yards on Thursday night against the Tennessee Titans, it is apparent that he is not the impact back that the Colts thought they were getting, and they know it. One must only look at the fact that they gave Donald Brown the ball 14 times and that Luck rushed the ball nine times to see that he is not valued at the club. At no point did they seem inclined to give the third-year running back more opportunities, and, in fact, he looked more like a decoy than anything else throughout the night.
This decoy role and lack of running opportunities is not a new trend either, as since moving to the Colts, prior to Week 3, Richardson has quickly seen his opportunities go down. During his first three weeks with the team, the running back gained 13, 20 and 18 rushes respectively, picking up an average of 2.7, 3.0 and 3.1 yards per rush off of these attempts. Since these first three weeks, he has seen a drop in attempts to an average of nine rushes per game and 2.68 yards per rush, an absolutely dreadful performance.
As a running back that is completely reliant on his hard hitting style, there is no doubting that Richardson will never be a guy that averages seven yards per game, but it also holds true that his 2.8 yards per rush since moving to the Colts is not acceptable. Both the running back and team would admit this to be true, and would also admit, in private, that to date, the acquisition has been a complete bust.