Let’s rewind to early in the 2013 season in which Vick Ballard missed most of the season with injury. The Colts were in dire straits to fill the void of a downhill running back who can pass protect when needed.
The Colts knew that Donald Brown wasn’t the greatest pass protector and had been an underachiever in years past. Newly acquired Ahmad Bradshaw helped bolster the Colts backfield, but also wasn’t the pass protection running back the Colts could rely on.
The Colts would trade their 2014 first round pick in the NFL Draft for Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson. Richardson had the experience of a pass protector the Colts were looking for, coupled with the potential he showed at Alabama which made him the third overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Although Richardson’s skills left more to be desired, he showed great pass protection when need be filling that void Ballard left. Bradshaw would wind up on injured reserve shortly after the Richardson trade and Richardson would be the lone solid pass protecting halfback left in the backfield.
Bradshaw and Ballard both return from injury and will share the backfield with Richardson in hopes to give the Colts a versatile run game coupled with experience in pass protecting.
In Ballard’s rookie season, he was a pleasant surprise as he ran the ball effectively and was impeccable in pass protecting for a shoddy Colts offensive line.
The three-headed dragon that is the Colts backfield will have two solid pass protectors to rotate at will as well as the experience and pass catching ability of Bradshaw.
With Richardson working to live up his potential, Ballard has been proven to be efficient in his short career and has excelled in many facets that Richardson has not.
There is a problem with the Colts backfield, but it is a great problem to have. The backfield is similar to the 2008 Giants who had Bradshaw, Derrick Ward, and Brandon Jacobs and were dubbed “Earth, Wind, and Fire” due to their versatility.
The Colts may very well have their version of this for years to come. You can never have too many players to protect the franchise quarterback in Andrew Luck and it’s beneficial due to the offensive line being a big issue the last several years.