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Last season will hold on as a stain in the memory of Colts fans for quite some time. From Frank Reich to Jeff Saturday, Matt Ryan to Sam Ehlinger to Nick Foles, the team had a bottom 5 scoring offense and a bottom 5 scoring defense and finished bottom 5 in the league’s standings. The last time that happened for Indianapolis was in 2011 when the Colts went 2-14 and secured the rights to draft Andrew Luck. Now the team has a new head coach in Shane Steichen and a shiny new rookie QB in Anthony Richardson. The number four overall pick will be starting in the regular season opener against Jacksonville, right? Enter veteran quarterback Gardner Minshew, who the Colts signed back in March. In an interview on The Pat McAfee Show Monday afternoon, Colts Owner Jim Irsay had plenty to say about Richardson and Minshew.

“Peyton is here and we are 3-13 the first year and that is a guy that played a lot of college games and was really prepared- as much as he could be for the league. So for Anthony Richardson, its going to be tough, we know that, but he has to play to get better… Gardner could come out and obviously play better early on, just being a veteran, but we have to get Anthony on the field and that’s Shane’s call when he decides to do it,” Irsay stated.

Jim Irsay’s comments here showed exactly the struggle that Shane Steichen and the rest of the coaching staff will have to wrestle with as training camp opens at the end of the month. Do they take the Peyton Manning approach and let the 21-year-old quarterback start out of the gate, but possibly struggle and lower the team’s chances of making a run at the AFC South this year? Or do they take the Patrick Mahomes approach and let him sit for almost the entire season to soak everything up before getting the chance to prove himself? On Tuesday’s edition of the Fan Midday Show, Jimmy Cook and Will Haskett made the case that the Colts need to stick closer to the former approach rather than the latter.

Cook argued that “The only reason Gardner Minshew should be starting is [if] Anthony Richardson is not ready. It should not be ‘oh we might win a couple more games weeks 1-3 because Minshew is more polished’… the reason should be that Anthony Richardson is not ready and we want him to get more comfortable with life in the NFL, the routines in the quarterback room, sit behind Minshew and be more stable when it is time to go.”

How patient is the Colts’ front office willing to be? Will Irsay truly sit back and let Shane Steichen and the coaching staff take Richardson’s development at their own pace? The show hosts made the point that Irsay’s approach last year was quite the opposite of what he described with McAfee. I’m not sure that Colts fans are willing to see Gardner Minshew for more than 2-3 weeks unless he is putting up incredible numbers and Indy is winning games. Mike Chappell of CBS4 and FOX59 in Indianapolis called in to discuss Irsay’s comments and his thoughts on the QB battle and he had a similar opinion as Cook.

Chappell stated that “As long as this kid is progressing, I just think you give him most of the reps and let him go.”

Chappell then included that “Richardson will have to prove that he is not ready,” arguing that the starting quarterback job is the rookie’s to lose more than earn. All three agreed that if it is at all close between him and Minshew, then Richardson needs to get the starting job in week 1. As long as there is no risk of forming poor habits, let the kid play. Haskett made the point that if Richardson can look at the first three reads, and then decide from there whether to throw it away or make the play, then he should be able to start over Minshew. To hear the Irsay bite and the ensuing conversation, download the podcast below!

In the meantime, the Colts’ number four overall pick appears to be in incredible shape, dunking on random guys at the local YMCA (which I got to see in person). James Boyd of the Athletic was one of those random guys on Monday, and he will be co-hosting the Fan Midday Show on Thursday and Friday with Jimmy Cook. You can always listen to the Fan Midday Show from 12pm-3pm on 93.5/107.5 The Fan, but you can watch and interact with the show by going to the 107.5 The Fan YouTube Channel.


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