Four-Down Friday: Who’s The Colts Starting Running Back In 2014?

Posted Jul 4, 2014

Intro: What’s on the minds of those in Colts Nation? Who will be the Colts starting running back in 2014? How much of a difference will a healthy Dwayne Allen be for the Colts offense?

INDIANAPOLIS – You asked them and we answered them.

Here’s “Four-Down Friday” which is a weekly Twitter Q & A piece that will run every Friday.

This week’s installment of questions focuses on the Colts offensive skill positions and the depth on the defensive front.

Most teams around the NFL carry five or six receivers on the 53-man roster. Those final few spots at receiver will have to play a major role on special teams.

The obvious spots at receiver go to Reggie Wayne, Hakeem Nicks, T.Y. Hilton and third-round pick Donte Moncrief. That means guys like Da’Rick Rogers and Griff Whalen are knocking on the door to round out the group. Both Rogers and Whalen were called upon late last season and answered. When a player of Moncrief’s skill set doesn’t have to play a major role in 2014, it’s an indication of the quality depth at receiver.

When tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts was posed this question a few weeks back, his eyes lit up. “It makes us a better football team. Getting (Allen) back is like getting a brand new player,” Roberts said.

A return of Allen allows the Colts to do a variety of things from a formation standpoint and be unpredictable. Allen can line up in the backfield, be an in-line blocker and still impact the offense as a blocker and/or a receiver. Throw in Coby Fleener as an “outside” guy and the Colts offense can do some creative things with the tight-end friendly system that Pep Hamilton runs.

Take a look at the last two years and the Colts starting running back to begin the regular season was not the team’s leading rusher at the end of the year. If healthy (something impossible to predict, especially at the running back position), I would expect Trent Richardson to be the bell cow in Week One. Again, if healthy, I see no reason why Richardson wouldn’t be the starter when the team closes out the regular season.

Of course, there will be times during the year, and more than likely each week, that Ahmad Bradshaw and Vick Ballard will play pivotal rolls. Whether it’s Bradshaw closing out games like he did against San Francisco or even Ballard finishing the Texans off back in the 2012 season finale with a nine-minute drive, there’s no doubt the Colts have three very capable backs to play leading roles.

Over the course of a 16-game schedule, the Colts are inevitably going to have to rely on at least a handful of bodies up front. That’s why the loss of Fili Moala was significant, especially when you consider he played nearly 50 percent of the Colts defensive snaps last year.

Let’s say your starters in the base defense across the three-man front are Arthur Jones, Josh Chapman and Cory Redding. Guys like Ricky Jean Francois, Montori Hughes and Jeris Pendleton in all likelihood have to be counted on in some capacity each week. The good news for the Colts defensive front is there are versatile pieces that have the body types needed to fit a three-man front.

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