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Running Back Burning Questions Heading Into Colts Training Camp

Posted Jul 11, 2017

Intro: We are a little more than two weeks away from the start of the Colts 2017 Training Camp. Our burning questions series is back, with the second look at the running back position.


INDIANAPOLIS – The 2017 Training Camp is a little more than two weeks away.

On Saturday, July 29, the Colts will report to work at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, for their first Training Camp “at home” since moving to Indy in 1984.

Over the next week and a half, Colts.com will take a look at the “Burning Questions” for all position groups heading into the 2017 Training Camp.

Here’s a look at the running back burning questions with the 2017 season nearing:

  • Will Frank Gore once again eclipse 260 carries for the Colts?


In Frank Gore’s first two seasons with the Colts, the future Hall of Famer runner has had seasons of 260 and 263 carries.

That equates to a little more than 16 carries per game for a 16-game regular season.

Gore is fresh off a 1,000-yard season and is still this team’s starting running back at the age of 34.

On paper, 16 carries doesn’t look like a whole lot. But only six NFL running backs had more carries than Gore last season.

But what the Colts have going into 2017, that they didn’t necessary have at the starts of the 2015 or 2016 seasons, is a proven backup they feel very comfortable using.

With Gore a year older, it would not surprise if the Colts scaled him back by a couple of carries a game.

It’s no knock on Gore, but more so a reward for Robert Turbin and the intrigue of Marlon Mack giving the Colts some different looks from the running back position.

Gore’s durability and consistency is still at too high of a level not to have him start, but the Colts have capable options to keep the 13-year vet rested for December, and possibly January, football.

STAT TO NOTE
: With 620 rushing yards in 2017, Gore will move into 5th on the NFL’s all-time rushing list.

  • How much will the Colts expand the role for Robert Turbin?


This question plays right off the first one.

Once Turbin locked up the backup role in 2016, he flourished in a variety of areas for the Colts.

The Colts have talked about furthering the usage of Turbin this coming season.

After the team’s 2017 offseason program, both offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski and general manager Chris Ballard were extremely high on Turbin.

Of course, more Turbin means less Frank Gore.

So Chud and the Colts will have to decide just how much they want to expand Turbin’s reps.

Using Turbin on earlier downs and possibly having him start a series or two makes complete sense.

Look for more Turbin in 2017, with the Colts finally having the luxury of dividing up the running back reps with quality/trustworthy options.

STAT TO NOTE
: Turbin came into 2016 with three career touchdowns in four NFL seasons. He had eight total touchdowns with the Colts last year.

  • Will rookie Marlon Mack definitely have a role in the offensive game plan?


Mack brings a burst the Colts have longed for at the running back position.

What the Colts must figure out in Training Camp is if Mack can handle playing without the ball at the professional level.

The blocking part of the running back position was not pressed on Mack too much at South Florida. It will inevitably be needed in his time with the Colts.

If Mack can show an understanding of blitz pick up, it’s only going to shorten his learning curve in getting on the field this year.

Incorporating a third running back into the game plan each week is not easy, but Mack’s ability might be too unique to keep sidelined.

The home run style to Mack’s running would be welcomed to the Colts offense and provide a missing ingredient.

Accurately projecting Mack’s rookie workload right now is no sure thing.

STAT TO NOTE
: Mack set South Florida records for all-purpose yards (4,107) and most 100-yard rushing games (20).


ICYMI: Quarterback Burning Questions






The analysis from those producing content on Colts.com does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by Colts.com content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.

 

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