FanPost

The Trent Richardson or Vick Ballard situation.

This offseason and for the 2014/15 season, the Colts will have to figure out which direction the running game will go. I am not a gifted football minded person, but this post (and my opinion) will be based on logic. In this important issue, which I wanted to address due to opinions of others in Sir Ingenious' article and the corresponding comments, I have three main options that I will evaluate.

Firstly, these are my takes from articles I have read and the Colt's play from the past two years:

-Vision is the most important trait for a runningback.

-A 'powerful' back and a back in a 'power run scheme' are totally different.

-A zone blocking scheme (which Richardson specialises in) relies on patience; a power run scheme (which Ballard seems to thrive in) relies on cuts from the back and using the Offensive line to dominate in the numbers game and in strength.

-Colt's aspirations of being a dominant power run team failed in 2013/2014. The personnel: i.e. the loss of Dwayne Allen (relying on Coby Fleener to be the primary TE blocker was a disaster), the loss of Ballard and the struggles of Richardson running in the PBS (Power Blocking Scheme), the lack of a great outside threat (Reggie Wayne) in the second half of the season (even though TY Hilton is a very good receiver) and poor offensive line play (Mike McGlynn, Samson Satele are flat out terrible; Hugh Thornton was pretty bad too- but will most likely improve with experience) and the play-calling: which was predictable when in the I-formation, were the two main factors for the debacles in the power run game.

-As a side note, the Colts will be starting Ballard or Richardson next year. The option of running with Donald will be an afterthought after reading tweets and the probability of him walking. Thus, the Colts from here have three main options (which happens after getting a much better offensive line personnel first and foremost):

1)BECOME A ZONE-BLOCKING TEAM TO HELP TRENT OUT.

I don't like this because Vick Ballard was very good pre-injury in the scheme (and for the first two years of his NFL career). I have an issue with people saying the Colts should do this because of Richardson's draft status vs Vick Ballard's, and for that reason, Colts should invest around him this year. Arian Foster went undrafted- but who cares, he has been a machine. Drafts are based on College careers and not every high status player translates into a top NFL player. That is just life in the NFL, which is why this reason should not be the deciding factor. We have an Offensive Coordinator and a Head Coach which all emphasis 'power' and smashing your opponent in the mouth. So do we change this mentality and the whole scheme in hope that Trent can become the lead back, and a back that can get 4.5yards+ a carry? NO. It is way to risky. When Ballard comes back, why try to fix something that wasn't broken (Ballard was extremely solid) for a massive gamble? This could potentially wipe Ballard out, even though he was the safer and more productive option. Chance of happening (prediction): Highly unlikely.

2) CONTINUE TO WORK ON BECOMING A POWER RUN TEAM.

After seeing the results from the run game this past year (and in the 2012 season), this would harm Richardson's value and production. He will be very much limited and would indicate that the Front Office and Coaches have indicated that they believe they overpaid for Richardson. If this is the direction they choose for 2014 and beyond, then the acquisition will be termed a bust. Prediction: Maybe, but not the best option.

3) USE A HYBRID RUNNING SCHEME WITH BOTH BACKS (BALLARD AND RICHARDSON) GETTING INVOLVED AND PEP CALLING PLAYS TO THEIR STRENGTHS

Even though the power run, given the personnel (Costanzo, Cherilus, Thornton, Dwayne Allen) and the FO's intentions, will be the bread and butter of the run game, it would be good to incorporate some Zone Blocking scheme runs to help Richardson out. I have a problem when people blame Richardson for the poor average. The blocking was so bad more often then not, that it is unfair. Jammal Charles, Adrian Peterson or Buck McCoy would probably be the only backs good enough to run behind the Colt's poor interior line in 2013 and behind Fleener's poor blocking 'skills' with productivity. That is because they are so elite. While Richardson will probably not become an elite RB, he can still be very good or even borderline great RB. With his first offseason coming up for the Colts and the need for much better players this Free Agency/Draft, Richardson is not a lost cause for the Colts. He has already displayed great hands and blocked well for Luck this year. Even though he is yet to excel in the most important aspect of being a runner, he has shown to contribute in a lot in other areas. Maybe he runs better with a better interior line and Dwayne Allen too. He should be the #2 back behind Ballard next season (with the Colts mainly running a power run scheme for Ballard), but in this option, there is no back losing in this option. Ballard (assuming he becomes back to his pre-injury self) should continue to be highly productive with Richardson contributing impact/quality plays. Colts cannot waste Ballard's vision by totally changing schemes that the coaches want because of Richardson's 'higher ceiling'. Prediction: This is the way the Colts will go.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors.

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