|Indy could lean on Brown in 2012. (US Presswire)|
On Tuesday, the Colts went out and signed free-agent running back Mewelde Moore. But that wasn't an indictment of the guys they have on their roster -- specifically Donald Brown -- according to Indy coach Chuck Pagano.
Pagano said during training camp (via the Indy Star) that Brown is an "every-down back."
"Donald is an every-down back," Pagano said. "He is doing a tremendous job and he is having a fantastic offseason. He understands, especially on third down as far as protections go and all of those things. Nothing is going to be more important than protections."
Pagano actually made those comments nearly two weeks ago, which makes it a little more surprising that the Colts then went out and signed Moore. Of course, Pagano also said at the time that you don't want to "wear somebody out" (i.e. a particular back) if possible.
“You just don't want to wear somebody out," Pagano said. "You've got a bell cow, so to speak, and a lot of teams have a third down guy. So if we can keep guys fresh, and guys are able to go out and execute the offense, then we will use them for sure."
Presumably, Brown is expected to be that "bell cow." It will be a new role for him. Since being drafted in the first round out of Connecticut in 2009, Brown's started just 11 games in three seasons. He's totaled just 1,423 yards on 341 carries with 10 touchdowns. That's a season for a lot of guys, especially backs who were selected with an early-round pick.
But Brown's averaged 4.2 yards per carry in that time, with an especially impressive 4.8 yards-per-carry average in 2011 over the course of 134 starts.
No one's going to confuse him with Adrian Peterson or anything, but it's possible that Brown could grind out a pretty nice season if the Colts are willing to feed him the ball often enough. Plus, if you're Pagano, why wouldn't you at least try to parlay a potential early mistake by the previous regime into a guy who can be a workhorse for a season or two as you develop your young quarterback?
It could pan out to a smart move if Brown's able to be productive on the ground and, more importantly, in pass-blocking.
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