The Colts Aren’t Doing Anthony Richardson Any Favors

The No. 4 overall pick out of Florida has been named Indy's Week 1 starter

Anthony Richardson of the Indianapolis Colts.
Anthony Richardson will start for the Indianapolis Colts this season
Getty Images

It’s been said that it’s not where you start, but rather where you finish. In the NFL, that’s certainly true when it comes to quarterbacks, as some of the best players to ever fling a pigskin — including Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady — began their surefire Hall-of-Fame professional careers on the bench as backups. That’s exactly where Anthony Richardson, who was selected No. 4 overall out of the University of Florida in April’s draft by the Indianapolis Colts, should be when the NFL season kicks off. Unfortunately for the 21-year-old, he won’t be ,as the Colts have already named him their Week 1 starter.

It’s a curious choice by the Colts but certainly fits a team that has rolled out seven starting quarterbacks (Jacoby Brissett,  Brian Hoyer, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, Sam Ehlinger and Nick Foles) since Andrew Luck’s surprise retirement before the 2019 season. Indy is desperate for a starting quarterback and will throw Richardson, who only started 13 games as a one-year starter at Florida, to the wolves.

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Based on what Richardson showed in the preseason, NFL defenses are going to eat him up — he completed just 13-of-29 passes (44.8%) for 145 yards with zero touchdowns and an interception in three games. Though Richardson was able to add 45 yards on seven rushing attempts and did lead a trio of scoring drives in his preseason final against the Eagles on Thursday night, he’s extremely raw and would probably benefit from sitting behind his backup, Gardner Minshew, who was 28-of-32 (87.4%) for 281 yards with two touchdowns and no picks in preseason action.

The defending NFC champion Eagles did not play a single starter on either offense or defense against the Colts, yet Richardson was still brutal as a passer (six-of-17 for 78 yards). He was better as a rusher (five carries for 38 yards), but the complete package is still fairly inadequate because of Richardson’s lack of experience. Richardson clearly has talent and his ceiling is high, but it will take him a while to reach it and his current floor is quite low.

Indianapolis head coach Shane Steichen, who is in his first year running things for the Colts, praised Richardson’s “ability to create outside the pocket is definitely going to help us” after Thursday’s game but did note there is work that needs to be done. “Shoot, I thought he did a solid job,” Steichen said. “We scored three out of the first four drives, which is good. The two-minute drive wasn’t what we wanted, but we’ll go back, look at the tape. I thought he did some really good things and some things we’ve got to clean up as well.”

If the Colts were smart, they’d let Richardson clean them up on the bench while he watches Minshew play.

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