INDIANAPOLIS – With Anthony Richardson sidelined for at least a month, the Colts offense will have yet another adaptation.
Of course, this is nothing new to the 2023 Colts given how the offseason unfolded with Gardner Minshew taking a ton of starting reps, until Richardson was named the starter mid-way through training camp. And game reps have been there for Minshew, with Richardson in and out of the lineup.
But now the Colts know it’ll be Minshew, with 26 career starts (9-15 as a starter), leading the offense for at least the next 4 games.
In the long term, this Richardson news is obviously awful for the Colts, the development of their rookie QB and the future of the franchise.
In the short term though, you have to live in the reality with Minshew taking over the 3-2 Colts, as a massive game awaits on Sunday.
Let’s take a closer look at how the offense will change with Minshew:
Shorter, Quicker Passing Game
Simply, expect the ball out to come quicker from Minshew and for it not to travel too far down the field.
That’ll be a change from Richardson, who holds the ball a bit longer than Minshew and is more willing to challenge things vertically.
In 2023, Minshew has the smallest yards per attempt number of his 5-year NFL career.
Minshew’s strength is being an elite processor, relying on stringent timing and ball placement to lead the passing offense.
Staying Away From Turnovers
Another of Minshew’s strong suits is that you don’t get volatility in his play.
He’s consistent and, unlike most backups, he does a nice job of staying away from the turnover-type moments.
Minshew hasn’t thrown a pick with the Colts (83 pass attempts). His overall touchdown-to-interception ratio of 46-to-15 is darn impressive.
This allows for the Colts to stay in games with Minshew, and let other parts of the game do some heavy lifting (the run game, the defense, Matt Gay, etc).
If Minshew can keep this up, the Colts have the chance to keep themselves hanging around upcoming opponents who lack explosive offenses.
No More Leg Threat
The multiplicity of the Colts offense takes a major hit with this move.
Gardner Minshew offers nowhere near any sort of leg threat like Richardson.
That’s going to impact the Colts in short yardage, the ability to try and create plays off-script and even with hitting a big play.
Go back and watch the Zack Moss touchdown from last Sunday. You have multiple Titans defenders stuck worrying about Richardson, allowing Moss to get to the second level and hit a home run. That won’t happen with Minshew.
And it’s probably the biggest missing ingredient from the Colts offense sans Richardson.
-There’s no denying that Minshew is a high-end backup in this league. Honestly, he could probably start in a few locations. But you can’t ignore that there’s a drop off to him, and the Colts offense loses some juice with him under center. There’s a reason why Minshew had lost 10 of his previous 11 starts before the Baltimore game. Minshew can be steady enough to keep the offense in forward, while staying away from catastrophe. That’s helpful, but it also means your run game, defense and special teams have little margin for error. Is that enough in the AFC South?
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