Indianapolis, IN - The Indianapolis Colts have been struggling at the running back situation ever since Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai formed a dangerous tandem in the backfield during the Colts’ run to a Super Bowl win a few years back. Edgerrin James was really the last feature back that the team has seen.
This off-season the Colts did something that they don’t normally do, and that is signing some bigger named free agents. Ahmad Bradshaw was signed to come in and hopefully take care of the feature running back slot, but he was coming off of a fairly serious foot injury that held him out of the entire preseason, and was activated just in time for Indy’s Week 1 game against the Raiders. He was able to play but just totaled 26 yards on seven carries.
Vick Ballard was the starting running back versus the Raiders and put up a solid 63 yards on 13 carries. Ballard took over the starting role for the Colts last season after Donald Brown failed to perform up to par and became a huge piece of the Indianapolis offense. He’s a big back who can break tackles and make things happen, and is also able to make plays as a receiver out of the backfield. There are many fans in Indianapolis that would like to see Ballard solidify himself over Bradshaw as the starting back, but that does not appear to be very likely.
Something to consider for the Colts would be having these two form yet another formidable two-man system. A healthy Ahmad Bradshaw is capable of being a feature NFL running back, there’s no question about that, but the question becomes can he regain his form from early last year and the few years before that. Both Ballard and Bradshaw bring different talents to the table, and it could be a nice change of pace from one to the other.
Only time will tell what Chuck Pagano and the Colts’ coaching staff decides to do, but there is no doubt that both of these guys are capable of being NFL starting running backs. Honestly the best system might be to start Bradshaw and alternate series with each guy getting the majority of the carries every other drive. That could lead to a lack of comfort between different players in the offense, but if it did work like it has in the past, then this could be a very good way to get the job done in the ground game.