All of the talk surrounding Anthony Richardson in the lead-up to, and even following the NFL Draft has been about how long he might need before he is ready.
Comparisons to Patrick Mahomes have been made. After all, Mahomes was also an ultra-talented arm talent with question marks about his mechanics and ability to adapt to the pro game. He would sit for most of his rookie season, learning from veteran Alex Smith, before starting the final week of the season after the Chiefs had qualified for the playoffs.
The move obviously paid off. Mahomes, now a 2-time league MVP, and with 2 Super Bowl MVP’s to his name as well, clearly benefited from learning from a solid veteran like Smith, as well as from one of the best offensive minds the game has ever seen in Andy Reid. His 2nd year remains one of the biggest surprises in recent memory, when he won his first MVP and took the Chiefs to the AFC Championship.
Conventional wisdom says that Richardson should follow this blueprint and use his rookie year to learn and grow from the bench. With Gardner Minshew on the roster, there isn’t a need to rush Richardson out there if he isn’t ready. As much as a young QB can learn from live game experience, they can also be irreparable damaged if the situation around them isn’t ideal.
The Colts, despite Chris Ballard seemingly pumping the brakes shortly after the first round of the draft, might end up eschewing conventional wisdom. Coach Shane Steichen has made comments indicating the Colts aren’t ruling out Richardson starting Week 1. Richardson’s freakish athleticism might be a leading factor in that. While there is no doubt that he has room to grow as a passer, his running ability could help cover many of the holes in his game. Steichen is well aware of this; Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts took a massive leap last year, in large part to Steichen’s offense that took advantage of Hurts’ mobility. The Colts could be hoping that Richardson will take a similar leap if given the same opportunity to grow while playing.
Realistically, Richardson will see the field at some point this year. He may not be starting, but he’s too athletic and gifted to not get him on the field for at least a few gadget plays. Minshew is a solid veteran that can hold down the fort while Richardson learns. However, it wouldn’t be all that shocking if the Colts decide to let Richardson grow through experience, start him Week 1, and live with the highs and lows that will come with that.
Dan Orlovsky of ESPN joined The Ride With JMV during Monday’s show. Dan is firmly of the belief that the Colts should let Richardson play early, and learn on the job. John and Dan discuss that topic, where Dan would’ve taken Richardson if the choice had been his, and what he thinks Richardson can turn in to.
Listen to that conversation and more below, and tune in to The Ride With JMV from 3-6pm on 93.5/107.5 The Fan!
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