Today’s news that Vick Ballard will miss the remainder of the season for the Indianapolis Colts due to a knee injury is bad. Very bad. Not only will the Colts miss his running ability, but he was the best blocking running back on the team. Usually, I don’t place much stock in injuries to non-quarterbacks. I feel the rest of most teams are replaceable. In this case, I worry about the Colts ability to replace someone like Vick Ballard. The good news is that Ahmad Bradshaw is getting up to speed with every day that goes by. He should be able to replace Ballard’s carries. Now, the Colts need someone to replace the other half of the carries (that Bradshaw and Ballard were originally supposed to split). Let’s look at the candidates:
Donald Brown – Most would call Donald Brown’s tenure with the Colts disappointing. He was a 1st round pick of the Colts, but has never materialized into a true #1 running back. Just as it appeared as if he was on his last leg with the Colts, he now could be thrust into a huge role. Brown didn’t even line up at running back in week 1 against the Raiders, but he is certain to get a good amount of carries on Sunday. Brown’s career rushing average of over 4 yards per carry isn’t the problem. Instead, it’s been his ability to block and ability to stay healthy that has led to question marks. Brown has to show that he can stay on the field for an extended period of time to make an impact. He also has to show that he can pickup blocks – this may be the most important thing that Brown has to show to remain in the team’s good graces.
Kerwynn Williams – The Colts activated Kerwynn Williams from the practice squad today. What an opportunity. He may not get the carries that Bradshaw and Brown will get, but he could be a nice change of pace back. I worry about William’s ability to pickup the blitz and to make key blocks, but on the current roster, the Colts have no other 3rd string options.
Delone Carter – Carter was released by the Ravens after he was traded by the Colts for WR/KR David Reed. While Carter may not have all the tools, he does have experience with the Colts. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Colts signed him – even on a short term basis. He would be nothing more than an emergency, 4th running back. Perhaps he would get some carries at the goal line. I wouldn’t see him getting much more action. I think this is a long shot at best.
Veteran Running Back – Guys like Willis McGehee, Michael Turner and other unemployed or underused veterans could give the Colts some needed depth. This could be a very likely route – especially if Williams doesn’t show enough – quickly.