Colts asking much of rookie Richard

October, 9, 2008
10/09/08
1:31
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

The Colts have offered nothing but praise for the young offensive linemen called into duty because of injuries this season. They've used eight different players, including seventh-round draft pick Jamey Richard, who's played two games at center and one at left guard.

Starting at two different offensive line spots in his first four NFL games is a lot to ask of a guy who's responsible for protecting Peyton Manning as he comes off of knee surgery.

I talked to Richard recently and asked him how things have gone and what kind of reviews he's gotten:

"I think things are going well. As a player you always want to be better and no matter how well you do you feel there are things you can improve upon and I think that's a good thing. You can never feel like you've made it, you need to feel like you constantly have to be working forward.

I've gotten good feedback from my coaches. And guys around me have said good things to me, so I am happy with the way things have gone up to this point.

This is not something I expected. I came in as a seventh round pick and I didn't think I'd see much of the field this year. I thought it would be a battle to make the team. But it's worked out the way it has and I can't be happier."

Veteran center Jeff Saturday spoke well of Richard, but I sense part of Saturday's leadership style is to pump up players when given the chance, thinking such reviews may have a bearing on their confidence.

"I think he's done a fantastic job," Saturday said. "He goes in every week no matter where he's playing and gives his best and has helped our offense."

Still, one scout in the division said Richard has to be counted as part of the Colts' troubles so far -- he's simply been asked to do too much too soon for a team so reliant on keeping people off their star quarterback.

Indy is still waiting on Ryan Lilja, the left guard who's on PUP and could still be a month away according to Bill Polian. Sunday against Baltimore, the Colts could be choosing from the most healthy linemen they've had since the start of the season.

UPDATE, 6:06: Did I speak too soon about healthy options? Richard surfaced on the injury report today with a shoulder problem. He did not practice.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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