The first, and most obvious, is the Colts' considerable lack of depth at running back. Trent Richardson and Dan Herron are joined only by undrafted rookie Zurlon Tipton from Central Michigan, currently the third running back. The Colts, like most teams in today's NFL, prefer to play a rotation of running backs. With Ahmad Bradshaw on injured reserve, there aren't a lot of options.
Arguing for more carries for Herron is one thing – he's been more productive – but to suggest that he alone handle all the carries, when he has no history of being an every-down running back, is a stretch.
But there's a much bigger reason behind the Colts' rationale to stick with Richardson. And it has little to do with running the football. Richardson is the best pass-blocking running back the Colts have, a distinction that greatly increases his worth to the coaching staff.
You might not value this quality in your favorite team's running back, but quarterbacks do not share your opinion.
While it's just one opinion, it makes a lot of sense. Protecting one of the top QBs in the league is key to the Colts success and playoff future, and if Richardson has the best ability to keep Luck upright, he's going to be on the field. That could mean on the field in key third down situations, which obviously would limit Herron's pass-catching numbers. Both Herron and Richardson had two receptions last week.
Saturday, December 6, 2014, 8:49am
Colts running back Trent Richardson has been a major disappointment since he was traded early last season from Cleveland to Indianapolis. But Richardson says he’s still the same player who was once viewed as an elite running back prospect.
Richardson, who is preparing to face his former team on Sunday, says he has the confidence to brush off the people who point out that he’s come up short in Indianapolis. That confidence stems from his own belief that he’s still the same guy who was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft.
“When I hear people talk down about me, I just laugh at them and I say, ‘God bless you,’” Richardson said. “I want everybody to see and know that I’m still that running back, I’m still that guy that Cleveland chose with the third pick. A lot of people are saying Trent is a mistake and he was bad and he was that, but I’m telling you folks now, watch these next four weeks and see what happens.”
Whether it's true or not, it seems like Dan Herron has passed Richardson after just one week, and despite fumbling. As the story points out, through Richardson's first 27 games as a Colt, he has averaged 3.05 yards a carry and 33.5 yards a game.
Herron’s 49-yard touchdown run against Washington was the longest for the team since Week 16 of last season.
“He's a talented, talented guy and I think we've seen that out of him,” HC Chuck Pagano said after Herron’s 88-yard outing against Washington.
“He's quick, he's fast to hit the hole and once he gets outside, he's got some long speed. I think we all found that out (Sunday). It's always nice to be able to get outside and get those guys loose in the secondary and have a guy that can take it the distance."
Herron has quickly become the top fantasy back in Indianapolis with Trent Richardson continuing to struggle running the ball. Over the past two weeks, T-Rich has gained 54 yards on 21 carries (2.57 YPC) while Herron has gained 153 yards on 20 carries (7.65 YPC). Even when Herron's 49-yard TD run is removed, he's still averaging 5.47 YPC in the last two games. He should continue to see his role increase, though Pagano has said that he's not ready to give Herron the majority of the touches. For now, Herron is a low-end RB2 due to his limited workload.
Indianapolis Colts backup running back Daniel "Boom" Herron has outplayed starter Trent Richardson in the past two games. But coach Chuck Pagano is not ready to make a switch and give Herron the majority of the workload in the backfield.
"We're not there," Pagano said. "You guys might be, but I'm not."
Still, Pagano is sticking by Richardson, who returns to face the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, because he has "no level of concern with how he's playing."
"He's a professional, he understands," Pagano said. "None of us can ever get away from working at our craft regardless of the circumstance, regardless of adversity, just keep grinding, just keep working, just keep swinging the ax. If he keeps swinging the ax, the tree will fall. If you put the ax down, the tree is never coming down. Just keep chopping wood and good things will happen."
Herron has rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown in the past two games. Richardson has only rushed for 54 yards in the past two games. He gained 12 yards on eight attempts against the Washington Redskins on Sunday, and that performance came two weeks after he didn't rush for any yards on six attempts against New England. Herron looks like the better fantasy back to own and it didn't take long for him to emerge over Richardson. It seems like Richardson is still going to get his work for now though.
I'm going with Dan Herron. He spent most of the season as the Colts' third running back, then moves into the starting lineup against Jacksonville and rushes for 65 yards and has 31 yards receiving. Richardson, who everybody has been waiting to see get going, rushed for 42 yards and didn't have any catches out of the backfield.
The thought was coach Chuck Pagano started Herron over Richardson because Richardson missed a day of practice because he was sick. Turns out Pagano went with Herron because he outperformed Richardson in practice. I wouldn't be surprised if Herron starts at running back again this week against the Redskins.
Wells didn't mention anything about beyond this week, but reading into it a bit, it would sure seem like Herron could end up being the starter over Richardson. Herron didn't need a lot of time to out-perform Richardson in practice and move into the starting role. Richardson will still get his carries which will likely cap Herron's fantasy value, but Herron seems like the back to own between the two.
It appears that the Colts have seen enough of Richardson and his 2.9-3.4 YPC that he's provided since coming over from the Browns. Herron carried the ball 12 times for 65 yards (5.4 YPC) against the Jaguars in Week 12, and added five catches for 31 yards for good measure. Herron looks like a premier add this week on the waiver wire.
Saturday, November 22, 2014, 9:28am
Herron’s drive of five carries for 37 yards ended in a field goal for the Colts and offered another glimpse of what the team’s third running back could provide the offense.
Now, with Ahmad Bradshaw placed on injured reserve, those mop-up carries could become much more meaningful.
“It’s time for Boom Herron to step up, which everybody on the team has full confidence in,” Reggie Waynesays.
The longest extended look Colts fans have gotten of Herron was at this year’s Training Camp in Anderson. With Bradshaw and Trent Richardson dealing with injuries, Herron got plenty of first team work throughout camp and the preseason.
“He’s done it in practice. He did it in the preseason. When he’s gotten his chances in the games this year, he’s done a heck of a job,” Andrew Luck says of his “110 percent” confidence in Herron.
In the preseason, Herron was the team’s leading rusher (22 carries for 112 yards) and leading receiver (11 catches for 55 yards). The hope his Herron slides right in as a result of learning the offense during the preseason and camp with all the injuries. Richardson hasn't been all that impressive, so it seems possible Herron has a decent chance to put up fantasy numbers, perhaps especially in the passing game. He's certainly worth grabbing, at least in a little deeper PPR leagues.
Friday, November 21, 2014, 6:26pm
Colts RB Trent Richardson (illness, probable) took full practice reps again Friday and is probable for Week 12. Richardson is in line for a big workload, though the team may elect to give most of Ahmad Bradshaw’s carries to Dan Herron. T-Rich is a fairly safe RB2 this week.
Thursday, November 20, 2014, 5:58pm
Colts RB Trent Richardson (illness) returned to full practice reps Thursday after missing Wednesday. Richardson should be fine to face the Jaguars. He’ll likely see a larger workload with Ahmad Bradshaw done for the year. Dan Herron should serve as his backup.
Beat writer Mike Wells on Trent Richardson's opportunity as the "workhorse" back for the Colts: It’s put-up-or-shut-up time for Richardson. He shared the workload with Bradshaw in the nine games they played together, but now he’ll be the workhorse in the backfield. That’s kind of a scary thought when you take into account that Richardson rushed for zero yards on seven carries against the Patriots last weekend. Richardson and general manager Ryan Grigson have a lot on the line, because there’s no excuse for Richardson not to be effective. He has been in the system for more than a year and no longer has to split carries. Produce and it will soften the blow of Richardson’s inconsistent play the past year. Struggle and the questions continue as to why Grigson gave up a first-round draft pick for a player who hasn’t been worth it so far.
Dan "Boom" Herron will move into a backup/complementary role behind Richardson. The split will depend on how each player performs. Given Richardson's recent history of low production, it wouldn't be surprising if Herron worked his way into a Ahmad Bradshaw-type role.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 6:11pm
Colts RB Trent Richardson (illness) did not practice Wednesday. Richardson should be fine to face the Jaguars. He’ll likely see a larger workload with Ahmad Bradshaw done for the year. Dan Herron should serve as his backup.
“He’s been seen by our doctors, our specialists and he’s going to see a couple more. I’ll have more information in the coming days,” Pagano said on Monday afternoon.
“It kills you because he’s a warrior. He loves football. He loves his teammates. He loves the (Horseshoe). He loves competing….We are going to miss his energy, his passion, everything he brings to the table.”
The Colts are still getting more opinions on Bradshaw. With a lot of football left to play, any hope of Bradshaw returning would keep him off IR, especially for the NFL playoffs. But for the fantasy football season, it's not looking good for owners. Starting running back Trent Richardson will continue to see the brunt of the backfield workload with Dan Herron sidling into the “Next Man Up” role, the story said.
Colts running back Ahmad Bradshaw was on crutches with a boot on his left foot when he departed the locker room after the game. He suffered what the Colts called a lower leg injury in the second half.
Coach Chuck Pagano said Bradshaw, who wore sunglasses, possibly to hide his frustration, will have an MRI Monday.
“To see a brother go down, especially one I’m around all day, every day, is real tough,” fellow running back Trent Richardson said. “That’s a brother, and it’s heartbreaking to see a guy down like that. We’re going to see what they say [Monday], but at the end of the day, we have his back. Whenever he gets ready to come back, if he does this year or next year, whenever it is, there’s going to be open doors for him.”
Other reports Monday morning are painting this to be a bad picture, as some speculate it's a broken ankle. Certainly Richardson's comment would seem to agree it's at least going to be a longer-term injury. We'll update his situation later Monday when we find out more. Dan Herron is next up on the depth chart.
Trent Richardson (hamstring) will be ready to go this week.
It sounds like Richardson may have been able to play against the Steelers but the team didn't want to force carries on him after not practicing all week. Richardson will go back to splitting time with Ahmad Bradshaw, with Boom Herron losing time. Indy travels to take on the Giants on Monday night.
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