By any measure, running back Trent Richardson has been a huge disappointment. The Colts gave up a first-round pick to get him and he responded by averaging 2.9 yards per carry last season. Impossibly, Richardson's been worse this preseason, managing just 2.4 yards per carry.
For months, the coaching staff and front office have offered excuses for why Richardson has struggled, and always with the understanding that he would eventually return to the form that made him a standout at Alabama. But this week, for the first time that we can remember, general manager Ryan Grigson publicly veered from those talking points.
“Trent, he needs to answer the bell and do his job to the best of his ability,” said the man who orchestrated the deal that brought Richardson to Indy (via ESPN.com). “We're all accountable here. I will say this, there are a lot of backs last year that wouldn't have got [2.4 YPC] considering the amount of people he had in that box and the amount of bodies that were hitting him before he even seemed to get the ball sometimes. He's such a hard runner, we know how tough he is, but he's got to produce just like all these guys do on this final 53.”
If you're squinting for a silver lining, we suppose this is it: Richardson's had the most success this preseason when running the ball out of the shotgun formation. In fact, coach Chuck Pagano thinks some of Richardson's struggles are because defenses are putting eight men in the box.
"“I think any time for any back, not only Trent, I think any time you spread people out and you're in one-back situations, you're in the gun,” Pagano said. “Everything's dictated on what the defense presents. If they give you a light box, it doesn't matter who's in there, you're going to have an opportunity to gain some yards."
Fair enough, but again: The Colts gave up a first-round pick for Richardson. Presumably, they were under the impression that he would run like, you know, a first-round pick.