The Indianapolis Colts never expected running back Trent Richardson to learn the playbook in a day, but the fact that Richardson stated he learned more of it last week than he did in a year has to be a huge concern for Colts fans.
The Cleveland Browns shocked the NFL last season by trading their third-overall pick in 2012, Richardson, to the Colts for a first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. The new regime in Cleveland sent a clear message that they wanted to clean house, and the trade thus far appears to be one of the best moves the organization has ever made. It is understandable that it may have taken Richardson time to adjust to a new set of plays, and it is even more understandable that he needed to have time to acclimate to a new team culture and build rapport with his teammates. Stating that you only remembered the playbook and are just now understanding it, however, does not make sense or bode well for Indianapolis.
Aside from not knowing the plays, a bigger issue that could prevent Richardson from success is the fact that he may not have the best decision-making abilities on the field. Game tape has been broken down from several of Richardson’s rushes, and there were times that the 23-year-old back would run straight into defenses when he had an open hole available. Instinct is not something that can be taught, and when you add the fact that he didn’t understand the playbook, you have a recipe for disaster.
Indianapolis re-signing Ahmad Bradshaw to a one-year deal doesn’t show much trust in Richardson either, and Vick Ballard could become the starting running back at any given point of the season. Between the Browns trading him and the Colts keeping Bradshaw and Ballard around, something is just off about the former star of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
If he was a quarterback and had to learn Chip Kelly‘s playbook in a few months, I would be much less skeptical and pessimistic of his talent. Struggling to learn blocking plays and what direction to run, however, is simply inexcusable.