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Colts rookie QB Anthony Richardson will start preseason opener; Starters to play a quarter

Colts rookie QB Anthony Richardson will start the team’s preseason opener—which is an encouraging initial sign.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts Training Camp Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar-USA TODAY Sports

According to head coach Shane Steichen, Indianapolis Colts rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson will start the team’s preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills this weekend:

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.

Steichen indicated that he expects his starters to play around a quarter of action.

As for Richardson, he seems genuinely excited for the initial opportunity, even flashing a smile (via 1070 The Fan’s Kevin Bowen):

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.