Colts general manager Chris Ballard sat down for an extensive interview on this week's Official Colts Podcast, which included his thoughts on what he saw from quarterback Anthony Richardson before and after the season-ending shoulder injury he sustained in October.
Ballard said Richardson's surgery went well and his rehab is going well, and that prior to the injury the 2023 No. 4 overall pick "exceeded my expectations" with some of the things he did on the field. Specifically: Richardson's accuracy, instincts and ability to create jumped out, and he confirmed plenty of traits that drew the Colts to him through the pre-draft process.
Still, that doesn't mean Richardson is a finished product, as Ballard explained.
"There's no doubt things he has to work on, protecting himself being one," Ballard said. "He'll learn that — I think all young quarterbacks have to learn that, that you don't have to take the unnecessary shots in this league that you don't have to take. It's okay to slide, it's okay to step out of bounds. I think those are things he'll learn as he plays. But really encouraged about the small glimpse we got of him."
Even though Richardson's rookie season saw him play in just four games, Ballard said the Colts were able to glean enough information about him to know how they can best build around him when he returns to the field in 2024.
"Until you're around somebody, no matter how brilliant people are in this league, the more you see and when you get to see them play, a light goes off — okay, this is what we need to do to get this guy going," Ballard said. "You anticipate and you project but until you are with them and live with them and watch them play daily, understanding what a player can and can't do especially at the quarterback position and how you got to build around it, I think we got a pretty good handle on him and what he can do and what we need to do to build around him."