Heading into the Colts Week 1 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars, there was plenty of speculation over what their running game would look like sans-Jonathan Taylor.
The final verdict? Not great.
Outside of rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson, who showed off his playmaking ability on the ground, the Colts running game was abysmal. Deon Jackson, who got the start, ran 13 times for a paltry 14 yards, an average of 1.1 yards per carry. Jake Funk added 10 yards on 2 carries, while rookie Evan Hull had 1 carry for 1 yard.
That means that Colts rushers not named Anthony Richardson ran the ball a total of 16 times for 25 yards. Yikes.
Obviously, Zack Moss, the most experienced back for the Colts right now, did not play as he recovers from a broken arm. Still, it is hard to imagine that he would have fared much better on Sunday. The Colts complete ineffectiveness on the ground does make one wonder if they might have changed their stance on Jonathan Taylor?
Sure, there is no real expectation that the Colts will offer him a long-term deal with the annual salary that he thinks he is worth, and that will probably remain the case. However, after watching their rookie quarterback essentially have to do it all himself, could the Colts not at least consider giving Taylor a 1-year deal worth, say $17 million or so, just so they don’t leave the future of their franchise hanging in the wind?
This season is not about wins or losses. Everyone is aware of that. The only thing that matters is developing Richardson. That task becomes a whole lot harder if the running game, often described as a quarterback’s best friend, is anemic at best. Taylor may not have changed the outcome yesterday; he may not have even had a big game. What he could have done is provide the Colts with another weapon to keep the Jaguars defense honest. Instead, they keyed in on Richardson, and as we all saw at the end of the game, that can have consequences.
The Colts can only hope that those consequences don’t come back to bite them. Or they can pay Taylor. Either way, it’s clear that even an offensive mind such as Shane Steichen can’t rely solely on scheme. At some point, you need talented players.
During Monday’s edition of The Ride With JMV, John spoke to both former NFL GM Michael Lombardi and Stephen Holder of ESPN about the Colts loss to the Jaguars, the health of Anthony Richardson, Jonathan Taylor, and more. Listen to those conversations below, and tune into The Ride With JMV weekdays from 3-6pm on 93.5/107.5 The Fan!
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