It's safe to say that Trent Richardson isn't the most popular man in Indianapolis right now. Since the Colts made a huge trade to get one of the league's brightest young running backs, he has been anything but spectacular. He's been average, or even a little below.
In six games with the Colts, he is averaging just under 3 yards per carry. Many people, including myself, have written about why Richardson is struggling. But fans aren't patient and they're not happy. So, when word came out of the Colts' West 56th Street complex this week that Richardson was not practicing due to an ankle injury and that his status for Sunday was in doubt (after he missed practice Wednesday and Thursday), some people were actually kind of happy. They shouldn't have been.
Regardless, Richardson was a full-go in practice on Friday and, despite being listed as questionable on the injury report, Chuck Pagano said that "he went through the whole practice. He's fine."
Asked if the Colts would limit Richardson's touches this Sunday because of his injury and because of the fact that the Colts play two games in a five game span, Pagano responded: "We're going to do whatever we have to do to win on Sunday. We're worried about one thing and one thing only and that's the Rams."
Some fans were hoping Donald Brown would get the start instead of Trent Richardson (who would have imagined that happening coming into the year!). What they failed to consider, however, is that while Brown is having a great year, it's largely because of the role he plays. He doesn't have to do everything and is just used as a change of pace back, which is best. If the Colts were to give him more carries, his production would go down significantly, I'm sure. And that's why Trent Richardson playing this Sunday is absolutely critical. If the Colts want to run the ball, it is going to be Trent Richardson in one way or another - either getting the yards himself or allowing Brown to get the yards by taking the bulk of the carries and letting Brown do what he does best.
So before you say Donald Brown should be starting, consider all that means. It likely means that Brown would go back to being the old Donald Brown ("Dammit Donald"). And honestly, Trent Richardson gives the Colts their best chance at having a running threat. We're just still waiting for that breakout game. And it might come this week. You never know.
Other Injury Updates:
Nose tackle Josh Chapman (knee), cornerback Josh Gordy (groin), safety Delano Howell (neck), and cornerback Greg Toler (groin) are all OUT Sunday, Chuck Pagano informed today. Richardson and offensive guard Hugh Thornton (calf) are QUESTIONABLE. Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (shoulder), outside linebacker Cam Johnson (knee), and outside linebacker Robert Mathis (shoulder) are all PROBABLE.
With the Colts playing two games in five days, it will be interesting to see how much the injured guys play. According to Pagano, the Colts are only looking at the Rams game. But the long-term health absolutely needs to be considered too, so I wouldn't be surprised to see the Colts err on the side of caution especially this week (and perhaps that's what they're doing with the guys already out too, I don't know for sure).