We all know the narrative by now, and I suppose at this point I'm piling on a little bit as well. But Trent Richardson really shouldn't be anywhere near a starting NFL offense. Josh Wilson wrote about why Richardson should be benched (he's right) and about Head Coach Chuck Pagano's not so sound reasoning for starting the running back.
However, through the last year and a half I had believed that Richardson would improve. He came in a little late to the season last year. OK, I understand having a learning curve. He started slow, but really started to play well early in the season. OK, he must have been improving.
Then he reverted to the Richardson we all came to know last year. But still, while he struggled to run the ball, it always sounded like he was trying to improve. That he took it upon himself to improve (I know it's an old link, couldn't find any really recent quotes) was important to me. I like to see that in a player.
However, some of Richardson's comments this week made me laugh, then made me a bit concerned about what he might be thinking.
The Indianapolis Star's Curt Cavin wrote a very good story about Richardson on Thursday, which you can (and should)read here. Some of Richardson's quotes jump out at me, and that's what I want to talk about here (the box quotes below are from Cavin's story).
"When it comes down to it, I want to say I've been doing my job because every time I go in and (we) play-action, somebody's wide open. If they're trying to stop me and Andrew Luck is having a good day or Boom (Herron) is having a good day, I'm doing good because they're distracted by me and they can't stop the other guys. I'm doing my job."
They're distracted by Richardson? How exactly is he distracting the defense? It certainly can't be because of his running ability.
I don't know the numbers on how successful play-action is with him in the game. I would wager that it probably is very successful when Richardson is in. One, because he is in the game more than the other running backs. Two, because Andrew Luck is fantastic. Three, because play-action will generally slow down any rush for a fraction of a second anyway.
But it's good to know that Daniel Herron's season high (and highest Colts rushing total since Week 3 of last year) and Andrew Luck's 4,011 yards and 34 touchdowns are because teams are keying in on Richardson.
As to that day's 1.5-yard average, Richardson said critics "didn't see that the holes weren't there, that I had to break tackles at the beginning of the plays."
Now, I haven't gone through the game tape from this week. But I would wager that some holes were there. Some of my fantastic colleagues here on StampedeBlue have pulled plenty of instances where the holes were, in fact, there. Plenty of you in the comments have noted some additional instances. But hey, what do we know?
"He went through untouched, the second level didn't even touch him," Richardson said. "That shows that our line is improving."
Obviously, this is Richardson talking about Herron's touchdown run. If the line is improving how does an 6th round running back go for a long touchdown run and average 5.5 yards per carry while the third overall pick goes for 1.5 yards per carry?
As many of you have noted, it's the exact same story as Donald Brown a year ago, and Ahmad Bradshaw last year, and this year.
"My leg is almost feeling 100 percent, my body is getting healthy, my immune system is trying to adapt to this cold up here and it's a good feeling, especially going to Cleveland. It's time."
This has got to be my favorite. He is adjusting to the cold?! Are you serious?? It wasn't an issue when he played in Cleveland. Oh and, in case you didn't know, the Colts predominantly play indoors. I barely have words to express this, it almost makes me mad.
Richardson said more than that to the Cleveland reporters, insisting they should "watch the next four games" for his breakout.
I'll be watching. The rest of Colts nation will be watching. And you can bet that the Dawg Pound will be watching this Sunday. And frankly, I hope he's right.
However, I see nothing to indicate it will happen. The only player on the Colts roster with a lower yards per carry is Matt Hasselbeck. Luck and Donte Moncrief have 4.3, Bradshaw has 4.7, Herron has 5.4, and T.Y. Hilton has 10. And yes, I know I just provided the definition of stats out of context.
My point right here is that it sounds like Richardson thinks he is playing well. And that he is making some excuses for his lackluster performance. When a player is playing this bad, and apparently thinks he is playing well, that is not a recipe for success.