Sports Out West

What will Trent Richardson do in Colts debut against 49ers?

Photo Credit: Mitch Stringer/USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, the Indianapolis Colts acquired Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson, the No. 3 overall pick in last year’s draft, for a 2014 first-round draft pick. Acquiring him just days before their Week 3 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, how will Richardson perform against the 49ers?

A powerful, stocky running back, Richardson fits in very well with the Colts’ power running game. In hopes of cutting down the number of throws made by quarterback Andrew Luck this season, this acquisition helps balance the team’s offense by giving the team a punishing runner who can pound the ball inside and earn rush the ball in-between the offensive tackles.

Colts head coach Chuck Pagano mentioned soon after the trade that Richardson will play “as much as he can handle” in his debut. The Colts and Browns have similar run plays and pass-protections, so it is quite reasonable to believe that Richardson could see the majority of carries against the 49ers.

Assuming he gets most of the Colts’ carries, Richardson has little competition for his featured back spot. Vick Ballard’s on injured reserve with a torn ACL, Ahmad Bradshaw is entrenched as the team’s No. 2 back and Donald Brown has a very small role on the team due to his struggles in pass blocking and receiving.

Richardson gives the Colts another weapon in the team’s already-dynamic passing game featuring Luck, Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton and Coby Fleener. Now on a more balanced and effective offense than what he was used to with the Browns, Richardson has a good chance at matching his very good rookie numbers. He could particularly make strides in the yards per carry category, a number that was below average with Cleveland since teams would stack the box against him.

As for the Week 3 matchup against the 49ers, despite not having a lot of time for preparation and learning the playbook, expect Richardson to have an impact in the game. A prized talent when healthy, he should be able to contribute in the team’s running game with plays similar to what he had with the Browns and add to the team’s pass protection coverage slowing down the likes of Aldon Smith, Justin Smith and Patrick Willis.

Photo Credit: Mitch Stringer/USA TODAY Sports

Follow and interact with Austin Chang on Twitter @_austinchang.

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Austin Chang

Austin Chang is the Associate Editor of Sports Out West and a San Francisco Bay Area-based sports journalist. His work can also be found on Yahoo! Sports and RamsTalk. Follow him on Twitter @_austinchang.