TUSCALOOSA AL - NOVEMBER 13: Running back Vick Ballard #28 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs rushes upfield against the Alabama Crimson Tide November 13 2010 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa Alabama. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
At note to fantasy football gurus everywhere: Donald Brown is fool's gold.
Every year, we hear how Brown will become "the guy" in Indianapolis' backfield. Every year, he disappoints. Amazingly, despite only 11 career starts, and never being able to unseat the frequently injured Joseph Addai as the starter when he was hear, some fans STILL scream at "haters" like me that Brown is a great runningback.
To give Donald Brown some credit, he did have his best season as a pro last year. He still sucks in pass protection (which is now 50% of a back's job in the modern NFL), but he scored five touchdowns in 2011. Without his hard running late in December, the Colts probably don't win a game. According to runningbacks coach David Walker, Brown "deserves to be 'the No. 1' right now" as the Colts go through OTAs.
Again, I bash Brown because, when all is said and done, he's a busted first round pick. Based on the moves the Colts have made in recent years (drafting Delone Carter in the 4th round in 2011, claiming Deji Karim off waivers in 2012, and drafted Ballard this year), they don't have a lot of faith in Brown either. This year is a "show me" year for the former UConn prospect, who was drafted in 2009 just ahead of WR Hakeem Nicks, WR Kenny Britt, RB Beanie Wells, and RB LeSean McCoy.
Ugh. Depresses the hell out of me when I see that.
Should Brown continue his yearly trend of underwhelming, it seems the team is high on the rookie Ballard.
Colts RB coach David Walker: Vick's doing a nice job. He's a smart kid. He's a hard worker in terms of his effort in the classroom and understanding the concepts. He's going out there and making plays. So, for being involved in it for, you know, three weeks or whatever it's been, he's done a really nice job of picking things up and impressing his teammates.
It's also worth noting that head coach Chuck Pagano sounded impressed by Ballard during the rookie minicamp in early May.
Watching Ballard in training camp and preseason is something we freaks at Stampede Blue plan on doing. Unlike the previous front office regime (which imposed it's authority over who did and didn't start, regardless of what the coaches said), this new coaching brain trust seems more inclined to have, you know, the best talent on the field, regardless of what the scouts or management think or say.
If Ballard continues to impress, chances are we will see him in the backfield in 2012.