Last year, the Indianapolis Colts thought they traded a first round pick for a potential game breaker in Trent Richardson. As everybody knows, last year was filled with disappointment for Richardson, as he struggled; he looked slow and clearly didn’t have an understanding of the playbook.
A lot of fans want to blame his struggles on the offensive line, but I don’t buy that excuse. Donald Brown played well under that same offensive line, and so did Ahmad Bradshaw when he was healthy. So, the blame cannot be entirely placed on the offensive line. Also, I think Richardson got lazy last year and thought that his natural talent would be enough to win the in NFL.
Richardson got his wake-up call last year, and this season he should have a bounce back year with the Colts. He should have a better understanding of the playbook, which means that he can play fast, without over thinking. A full offseason should give Richardson more than enough time to gain a full understanding of Pep Hamilton‘s playbook.
Another factor to keep in mind is that the entire offense is now healthy for the Colts and teams aren’t going to be able to commit one player on players such as T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne, Hakeem Nicks and Dwayne Allen. There is too much to worry about if you’re the opposing defensive coordinator, and that should allow for Richardson to win more one-on-one battles within the trenches, too.
The offensive line was an issue last year, but the Colts chose to upgrade that issue in the draft by selecting Jack Mewhort. Khaled Holmes should provide an upgrade at center this year, because simply put, I don’t think anyone could be worse than Samson Satele.
Finally, this is Richardson’s last chance to make an impact in the NFL. If he cannot make this year work, its highly unlikely any other team gives him the same shot the Colts are. He has talent around him now, a decent offensive line, and Andrew Luck to take the pressure off of him. Richardson has no more excuses when it comes to living up to living up to his potential.