More than a year after the trade that brought Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round pick, Richardson is losing his grip on the primary running back job.
The Colts have been decimated by injuries at running back. Both Ahmad Bradshaw and Vick Ballard suffered season-ending injuries since training camp.
Instead of increasing the workload for Richardson — a former No. 3-overall draft pick who they traded a fortune for — they have given the extra carries to Boom Herron.
Herron is a third-year player who was taken 191st overall in the 2012 draft, 188 picks after Richardson. He went to Ohio State and had nine career rushing attempts coming into the 2014 season.
After playing primarily on special teams with the Bengals and Colts during his first two seasons, he has been getting a solid chunk of the carries for Indianapolis in the last two weeks.
Richardson and Herron are now essentially splitting carries.
In Week 12 Herron had 12 carries for 65 yards. Richardson had 13 carries for 42 yards.
In Week 13 Herron had eight carries for 88 yards. Richardson had eight carries for 12 yards.
That came after Richardson’s six-carry, 0-yard performance against the Patriots in Week 11.
Richardson is averaging 3.1 yards per rush since the trade, which is an abysmal number for any running back. As a result, his workload had diminished in recent weeks, even in light of the latest Bradshaw injury. Richardson averaged 14.4 carries in the first seven games a year. He has averaged just 8.5 carries per game since.
Coach Chuck Pagano raved about Herron after the game, telling IndyStar, “He’s a talented, talented guy, and I think we’ve seen that out of him. He’s quick, he’s fast to hit the hole and once he gets outside, he’s got some long speed; I think we all found that out.”
After Richardson was booed by the home crowd, Colts beat writers were openly wondering if the Richardson era is all but over:
Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star called for him to be benched outright on Monday, writing, “This is Einstein’s definition of insanity: Giving the ball to Trent Richardson again and again and expecting different results.”
Even the Colts, who have been remarkably patient with Richardson, can’t justify continuing to give him the ball given his performance over the last 14 months. The fact that they have him splitting carries with Herron — a career special teams player who has had fumbling issues — shows just how far Richardson’s stock has fallen.
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