Last season was a struggle for Colts running back Trent Richardson. As offseason workouts have begun for the Colts, however, Richardson realizes that it is a new year, and he is making the most of it in an attempt to improve.
Several reasons were thrown out by various media members as to why Richardson struggled last season, and one of the main ones was that Richardson - who was acquired by the Colts after the second week and thrown into action just days later - never really had a chance to slow down and learn the offense.
Now, he'd doing just that, and he's making the most of the opportunities that are provided at the voluntary offseason workouts. In fact, he said Wednesday that he's learned more about Pep Hamilton's offense in the past week than he did all of last year. Richardson said:
"The offseason is very important because you have a chance to vibe with your team, to build that respect, to build that trust and then to build that team chemistry with your offensive line, with your quarterback. To know the real actual plays, what they're meant for, what's the real concept. Knowing the concept of a play is the biggest thing because when it comes down to it, if you just remember what you're doing, that's not good enough. I felt like I remembered the playbook last year. I know it now but I remembered the playbook last year but I'm learning a lot this year. If you can really break that down, I'm learning a lot this year. As much as I've learned in this last week, much more than I learned last year."
Richardson expanded on how the first week of the offseason workouts went (this is the second week of them), and he said that:
"Just to get back at it and just to be out here with my teammates, it's a blessing. To be taking everything slow and to know the real concept of the plays, not just going week to week and just really knowing why the quarterback is doing this or why they're thinking that or why do we got these audibles set up in this play or why the offensive line is making this call, not just if they make this call, I go that way and make sure I block this person. It's way different. It's much easier and it's slowing down a lot so it's making the game much better for me."
While there will certainly be people who remain skeptical, there is legitimate reason to believe that a big part of Richardson's struggles were because he was slow to pick up the offense. Pep Hamilton's offense isn't the easiest to learn, and when thrown into it midseason when the main emphasis is on the upcoming opponent, it can create struggles, which it did for Richardson. There were certainly other things that could have contributed to the struggles and it most likely was a combination of several of them, but one of them was definitely the lack of knowledge in the offense, which he is working on right now.
The Terre Haute Tribune-Star's Tom James, who always does an excellent job covering the Colts, mentioned on twitter yesterday how important offseason workouts are, using former Colts running back Edgerrin James as an example:
I always thought the reason the Colts got away from including Edgerrin more in the passing game was he wasnt around much in the offseason.— Tom James (@TribStarTJames) April 30, 2014
Offensive coordinator Tom Moore would do 99 percent of his play installation in the spring. But Edgerrin would be working out in Florida.— Tom James (@TribStarTJames) April 30, 2014
Offseason workouts are important for learning the offense, and though Trent Richardson is entering his second season with the Colts he is going through his first offseason training program with the Colts right now, and he's making the most of it by learning the offense. The Colts, and Richardson, should be better for it next season. And, as Richardson said about the offense, "the sky's the limit when it comes to how good this offense can be, how good this team can be. That's really up to us."