Fact: Trent Richardson hasn't been good since his trade to Indy. Some Colts fans are ready to give his starting job to Donald Brown. And yet, some - like Ben Muth - feel like Trent isn't the only one to blame.
Running backs are always taught to press the LOS on zone plays because it sets up big cutback opportunities. This was something Richardson was great at in college. He’d attack his land mark until the last possible second, setting up all his blocks, and then he’d squirt out the back side for a big gain. The patience was incredible for such a young kid. When he tries to do the same thing in Indy he just doesn’t have as much real estate to run into before he makes a decision.
In brief, the bigger problem might be his linemen (and playcalling). T.R. is asked to run between the tackles on nearly every rushing play, and given the monotony of Indy's playcalling (reverses and flea flickers excluded) ... there isn't really much for his to do. Plug in any other NFL runningback, and they struggle as well.
Maybe not as much, of course, but Mush's point is valid - it's not entirely Trent's fault. Remember, Brown pulls off better runs ... because defenses aren't prepared against the run when he checks in. It's as simple as that. More variety, and Richardson will get better opportunities - and then we can properly evaluate him.
I REALLY like Muth's stuff at FO and the technical specifics aside (on which I am unqualified to opine other than saying, "okay, that makes sense I guess"), I do think TR has mostly been running from the obvious run sets and situations, which isn't helping him.
One can certainly argue that "Hey, a 1st round #3 pick back is SUPPOSED to be able to make the yardage in those situations, as well as break off giant gains in the unexpected ones," but that is a different argument from "Is TR a good RB?" That is a draft slot/cost/value argument. We may have given up too much for him, but he is not necessarily the reason we're not really lighting it on fire in rushing (Luck is contributing an unconscionable % of yardage and TDs to our run game). And without him, I am not sure we're 5-2 at this point. While it's easy to look at Brown's YPC, it's also easy to look at his injury history and say "yeah, and what happens when he breaks his aorta in week 8 and we have no other RB on the roster?" or "how can we keep Ds remotely honest and not have them teeing off on Luck every single play without even a modest consistent threat at RB?"
I still think his age and the long-term view played a big part in that acquisition. It was almost like getting a faux sports car 18 months after the original buyer paid $50k for it thinking it was almost as good as a Porsche, only to discover it was a regular car that might look cool but performs no better than many other cars out there. So we get it for half price the next year. Or about what we should pay for a 1 year old pretty good car. Now we just have to get it out on the open road, and keep it away from traffic jams, before we can know for sure what it is.
@Bobman1 I like the analogy at the end, works perfectly.