It’s already been an exciting week 3. The Indianapolis Colts traded their 2014 first-round pick to the Cleveland Browns for running back Trent Richardson. Richardson was the 3rd overall pick in 2012, behind Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.
Richardson was thought to be the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson and he will be playing alongside Luck, who was the most anticipated quarterback prospect since John Elway.
This could be a potentially great duo, the likes of which the league has never seen, or at least hasn’t seen since the Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith days (or the Peyton Manning and Edgerrin James days). Bringing in such a talented player is never a bad thing, but, nothing against Richardson, there could be some unwanted consequences because of it, which we will get into further along in this article. But first, let’s dive in and take a look at this matchup the Colts have coming up on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, which Trent Richardson will be playing in.
And, oh boy, is it a tough matchup. Not only because of the immense amount of talent the 49ers have throughout all facets of their roster, but because the 49ers are coming off a disappointing loss to their arch nemesis, the Seattle Seahawks. They will be looking to bounce back, and bounce back strong, against the Colts. The Colts will have to put together an impressive game plan, and execute it efficiently, to pull out a victory this weekend.
However, my concern IS the game plan. Mainly on the offensive side; last week we saw offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton call one receiver sets repeatedly within his own territory. I won’t go in depth about it, as I have already written on Hamilton’s struggles, but with the addition of Richardson, I am afraid we will continue to see more of these jumbo sets.
Hamilton can’t expect the Colts’ offensive line, which recently lost guard Donald Thomas for the season, to battle the formidable front of the 49ers defense in the trenches and come out victorious. He needs to get creative, deceptive and balanced. Richardson will make defenses respect the Colts’ run game more now, but it’s the offensive coordinators job to take advantage of that properly.
On the defensive side of the ball; learn from your past. Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky (who is the worst defensive coordinator in the league) needs to make sure his troops are prepared this time for a mobile quarterback, unlike week 1, where they let Terrelle Pryor run wild. Preparation and discipline are the secret ingredients of a good defense.
Bottom line is, if Luck doesn’t play a perfect game against his old college coach Jim Harbaugh and the defense doesn’t create some turnovers, this game could be over very quickly. I don’t trust Hamilton’s play calling yet and I will never trust a Manusky coached defense. Even though my gut is telling me that the Colts could pull off the upset, I have to go with what my brain is telling me:
49ers 31, Colts 14
I hope I’m dead wrong.