Too early to panic with Trent Richardson

October, 3, 2013
10/03/13
5:50
PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS -- If you go by running back Trent Richardson's statistics after just two games, you would think there's a reason to be worried about how effective he'll be with the Indianapolis Colts.

But you need to look further before jumping to conclusions about Richardson.

Richardson’s NFL résumé totals 19 games. And he’s learning a new system for the third time in that short period of time. That's a challenge for anybody.

And that’s why it’s too early to say Richardson won’t get it together offensively.

All the parties inside the Colts organization know that Richardson will be fine once he gets settled.

"I know the 100-yard games are going to come," Richardson said. "I do say ‘games,’ because there’s going to be more than one. When they do come, it’s going to keep coming. Last two teams have been stacking the box."

Richardson has rushed for 95 yards on 33 carries in two games since the Colts acquired him from Cleveland on Sept. 18. His longest run has been 12 yards as he searches for a crease to break free.

“I’m not concerned because it’s early still and (he’s) getting acclimated to the system, to the calls, to his surroundings, to the people up front, getting used to the blocking, those types of things,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “He’s a shoelace here and there from breaking some really big runs, which obviously will change those numbers.”

Confidence isn’t an issue for Richardson as you can tell by his comments. That’s a good thing to have because despite the slow start statistically the Colts need him to produce. There's a lot of uncertainty surrounding fellow running back Ahmad Bradshaw's future this season because of his neck injury. Bradshaw went to visit a specialist in Los Angeles and Phoenix to get an opinion on his neck.

The Colts are fourth in the league in rushing (150 yards) despite Bradshaw and Vick Ballard's injuries.

The thought process throughout the season has centered around the running backs splitting carries in the backfield, but offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton referred to Richardson as an “every-down player” on Thursday.

Richardson was on the field for 55 snaps compared to 13 for Donald Brown, who rushed for 65 yards on just three carries, in last week’s win over Jacksonville.

Those numbers will likely continue to stay that way.

“If it’s more carries or less carries it doesn’t matter as long as we’re winning,” Richardson said. “I don’t complain about anything. I’m letting the coaches decide on carries. Donald’s also doing a very good job. A lot of people like to leave him out but I laugh at people who don’t mention him.”

Hamilton constantly reminds Richardson to remain patient and not get frustrated because the time will come where he has that big game despite teams loading the box against him.

“We talk quite often about investing in the body punches and that’s just our way of saying that we’re not looking for the 20-yard gain each time we’re running the football,” Hamilton said. “That would be great if we popped a few long ones, but at the same time, a 2-yard, 3-yard, 4-yard gain is a positive play for our offense.”

Mike Wells

ESPN Indianapolis Colts reporter

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