The Colts starting Richardson has seemed like a foregone conclusion, given that he’s looked increasingly more comfortable during training camp practices over the past week and a half—and the franchise really has nothing to gain long-term by starting Gardner Minshew.
Being only 21 years old, and with limited starting experience at the University of Florida (i.e, 13 total collegiate starts), Richardson could use the meaningful preseason reps—especially with the Colts first-team offense to build greater chemistry and rapport.
Not to mention, the quality of offensive line play typically significantly dips from both the first to second/third-team offenses, meaning that Richardson should be much better protected with the first-team starters—which is important for a rookie QB’s development.
As for Richardson, he seems genuinely excited for the initial opportunity, even flashing a smile (via 1070 The Fan’s Kevin Bowen):
Anthony Richardson said Shane Steichen told the rookie he’d start on Saturday before today’s practice.— Kevin Bowen (@KBowen1070) August 10, 2023
“I’m excited. Hopefully we can put up some points early.”
Want to be “consistent” more than anything on Saturday. pic.twitter.com/FkbIvouGs1
Obviously, the biggest thing for the Colts starters will be shaking some of the offseason rust off, by having the team’s first game day—but also, and most importantly, staying healthy.
Even if it’s preseason, there’s definitely an increased speed and physicality to playing actual opponents over simulated training camp practices against your teammates—where you’re now actively being hit and colliding with the opposition, with some roster spots on the line.
It’s an impressive first step by Richardson, and it’ll be interesting to see how he handles this first start (I’m guessing with poise and grace). However, it also seems to put him in line for being the Colts opening starter for their regular season Week 1 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars—if all goes well and according to the continued plan.