According to team owner Jim Irsay on ‘The Pat McAfee Show,’ new Indianapolis Colts rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson ‘has to play to get better’ during the 2023 campaign (via 1075 The Fan’s Kevin Bowen):
Jim Irsay to @PatMcAfeeShow today:— Kevin Bowen (@KBowen1070) July 10, 2023
“For Anthony, we know it’s going to be tough. But he has to play to get better. There’s no question. Gardner could play better early on, him just being a veteran. But we have to get Anthony on the field. That’s Shane’s call when he decides.”
It’s hard to argue too much with that sentiment either.
Richardson is just 21 years old and made 12 starts for the Gators last season, completing 176 of 327 pass attempts (53.8%) for 2,549 passing yards, 17 passing touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. He made one start during the 2021 season as a redshirt freshman.
Obviously, you don’t want Richardson to embarrass himself if he’s not ready to open the regular season as the starter, but the Colts could still feature him early on in sub-packages particularly in short yardage and red zone packages, showcasing his rushing ability.
The Colts do have ‘veteran’ Gardner Minshew to help ease Richardson in as the starter, as the former Jacksonville Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback has made 24 career starts. However, it would still be surprising if Richardson isn’t the full-time starter by Week 5.
Make no mistake about it, the Colts will want Richardson, who only had limited collegiate starting experience, to start sooner rather than later at the pro ranks, to accelerate both his growth and development because the only real way to get better is through obtaining meaningful snaps, making some mistakes, but ultimately learning from them (and not repeating them).