The Indianapolis Colts want to create an identity of a tough football team that is centered on a power running game. They want both guards pulling and downfield running from their running backs. Playing this style of offense means that they have to have plenty of fresh legs because of the beating the running backs will take over the course of the year. That may explain the decision to sign Zurlon Tipton a running back out of Central Michigan.
The Colts are already filled with experienced running backs. They have Trent Richardson set to bounce back from a disappointing year. Ahmad Bradshaw is coming back from a neck injury and will give the Colts some much-needed protection in the passing game. Vick Ballard is coming back from ACL surgery, and he should be ready to go by training camp.
The one advantage those three have over Tipton is that they know the playbook and should be comfortable enough to execute it without thinking. If Tipton is going to make the final roster, he is going to have to master the playbook fast so he can hit the ground running.
Tipton has decent vision and played well in college, but it wasn’t against the strongest competition. He also had an ankle injury in his senior year, so durability could be an issue. He is also not a major threat to catch out of the backfield, and that could limit him in training camp. There are also going to be questions about whether he can understand and pick up blitzes, but those will be answered in training camp.
The Colts are already filled with talented backs who know the system. It is highly unlikely that Tipton will make the final roster over Richardson, Bradshaw and Ballard. Tipton is a candidate for the practice squad, and he could learn the playbook to make an impact if an injury to a running back were to happen.