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INDIANAPOLIS – Question how willing of an in-between the tackles runner Marlon Mack was in 2017 came up often in analyzing his rookie season.
But there’s more to the story.
Mack revealed last week that the necessary shoulder surgery he had earlier this offseason came from an injury which first occurred during last year’s Training Camp.
Outside of missing two games last season (in Weeks 3 and 4), Mack played through that shoulder injury during his 14-game rookie season.
When new running backs coach Tom Rathman evaluated Mack’s rookie film, he graded out well in toughness, outside of the obvious explosion that the young runner is most known for.
“He played hurt all of last year, and I commend him for that,” Rathman said earlier this offseason. “You look at his pass blocking, I thought it was solid. Could improve, but after I found that he had a torn labrum, I understood.”
Coming out of South Florida, one con of Mack’s running style was if he could earn the tough yards in the dust that comes inside the tackle box.
The Colts loved the big play ability though from Mack and saw several glimpses of that in 2017.
Still, there were too many runs from Mack that never even crossed the line of scrimmage last season.
For Mack to secure Robert Turbin’s vacant starting job in the first month of 2018, the second-year back must show more consistency in the run game.
Mack is wearing a brace at Training Camp after missing the entire spring. He’s full go though as he tries to separate himself a bit from this running back by committee group. With the brace on his left shoulder, Mack has had some physical runs at Grand Park.
Even with the injured shoulder needing surgery in the offseason, Mack showed more of a physical nature to his game as last season reached the latter stages.
Cleaning up the pass protection mistakes is a must, but Mack still has to be viewed as the early favorite to start for the Colts in 2018.