One of the newest Indianapolis Colts has been steadily getting himself noticed more and more as camp has continued. Marlon Mack wasn’t expected to get a ton of work in his rookie season with Frank Gore being the unquestioned starter and Robert Turbin being re-signed in the offseason. But, he’s caught my eye more than a couple times and has apparently continued to flash some of his much-needed skills today as well.
From my time at camp, I made the assessment that Mack just looks different than everybody else at the position, that he has something the others don’t. And it appears that he’s continued to turn heads on Day 5 of camp. Turbin and Gore have looked good as well, but Mack adds something the Colts have been missing for years.
Mack looks so fun. Smooth, shifty and just looks different from any other back #Colts— Matt Danely (@MDanely_NFL) August 1, 2017
His speed is on another level from even the smaller scat back types and maybe it’s because he’s a bigger back and offers a complete skill set and doesn’t look like those like Josh Ferguson when he’s flying up field. But, his ability to break the big runs is exactly why the Colts drafted him in the first place.
Rookie RB Marlon Mack flashing more than once in camp this morning.— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) August 4, 2017
It’s not just straight-line speed that forces me, and others, to take notice though. His change of direction is smooth and effortless, his vision is progressing and he recognizes that he won’t be able to break everything outside in order to outrun defenders every carry. Additionally, he’s strong enough to handle the load running between the tackles, he hasn’t been wasting movement and is deliberate in his approach – one cut, find the lane and burn.
Having a multipurpose running back who can beat the defenders to the edge and run with power and speed inside is something the Colts need to take some of the pressure off of Andrew Luck when he returns. And if you don’t want to have to draft specialty backs in the future, you find one who can catch the ball out of the backfield and make plays in space – Mack offers exactly that.
He’s got quick feet if he needs to shake a defensive back in the flat and the flash to run away from defenders if they can’t get a square hit on him. He’s done well protecting the ball to this point and looks natural catching the ball.
Pretty solid day for rookie Marlon Mack, especially as a receiver out of the backfield. #Colts— George Bremer (@gmbremer) August 4, 2017
Not only has Mack been impressive in camp, but he’ll be working under Gore and Turbin to refine his game and take in what these two veterans can offer him to get better. Mack has steadily made a few more plays each day, progression is important, and if this continues through camp we should see some impressive carries from him in preseason games as well.
Mack will be getting a lot of work in those preseason games and will get an opportunity to showcase his skill set to everyone who has been dying to see what he can offer to this offense. If the Colts offensive line can create yards like they did for the backs last season, Mack will improve the team’s second and third level yardage with what he offers in making defenders miss.
Chuck Pagano on rookie RB Marlon Mack. (Side note: Pagano rarely heaps praise on rookies like this) pic.twitter.com/uGOD5svz4a— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) August 4, 2017
Granted, it’s training camp. Guys have looked like game changers in practice many times before and been unable to re-create that magic when it counts. But, Mack looks like he could very well be the missing piece the offense has been seeking and the excitement for his future appears to be warranted.