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Colts Mailbag: Jonathan Taylor, Zack Moss and what's next at running back

The Colts mailbag is back for Week 6 with questions on how the Colts will handle touches for Jonathan Taylor and Zack Moss going forward. 


The Colts Mailbag is back! readers can submit their questions to have a chance of them being answered in our Mailbag series.

Missed out this week? Not a problem — you can submit your question(s) for the next Colts Mailbag by clicking here. I'll also be checking the comments on our Official Colts Podcast YouTube page and will answer some listener questions in here, too.

Let's get after this week's questions:

Brett Dobson, Fort McMurray, Canada: This week does JT's touches go up to a more 40/60 with Moss or does JT stay at around 20% of snaps after Moss's big week last week?

JJ Stankevitz: The Colts are ramping up Jonathan Taylor's workload in practice this week, per head coach Shane Steichen. Taylor played 10 of 66 snaps (15 percent) in his 2023 debut last weekend against the Tennessee Titans, and it's likely his snap share will increase this week and then as the season goes on.

But as for how the split will go with Moss, I don't know if the Colts have an exact percentage on how they want it to go. It could become a drive-by-drive basis type of thing, where Taylor gets one possession and Moss gets the next – which would lead to snap percentages and counts being skewed based on how many plays those possessions go for. We'll see.

Harold Miller, Bedford, Ind.: With our RB room now do you see a running back by committee or do you see a lead back?

JJ Stankevitz: Continuing the theme here – Taylor, for what it's worth, was listed as the Colts' starting running back on the Week 6 unofficial depth chart. But Steichen can legitimately ride the hot hand going forward: Last week, it was Moss (23 carries, 165 yards, two touchdowns). It might be Taylor another week. Ultimately: This is a good "problem" to have.

Jordan Kennerknecht, Roanoke, Va.: With JT back on the team do you think we will see JT & Zack Moss on the field together?

JJ Stankevitz: Now here's a thought. In previous years, the Colts had a package of "pony personnel" plays for Taylor and Nyheim Hines – but those were two running backs with more different skillsets than Taylor and Moss. And plays with two true running backs on the field are generally pretty rare around the NFL: Using Pro Football Focus' data, I pulled 172 plays with two running backs this season out of a total of 9,910 plays (1.7 percent).

Could there be opportunities? Sure. But it's probably not something that would become a staple of the Colts' offense. Even the Atlanta Falcons – who have a dynamic duo of Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier – have only ran a league-high 32 plays with those guys on the field, representing about 10 percent of their total plays.

David Kinder, Galveston, Ind.: How heavily do you think that the Colts will rely on the running game with two number one running backs already on the squad? Will that be necessary or can #10 run the whole offense?

JJ Stankevitz: The last time the Colts devised a gameplan around Minshew starting, Moss carried 30 times and Minshew threw 44 passes in a tough-as-nails overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3. Adding Taylor to the mix going forward should have a positive impact on the Colts' ground game and help take some of the load off Minshew – but the Colts also have immense trust in Minshew to operate their offense. It won't be exactly the same offense they ran with Anthony Richardson behind center, but more importantly: When Minshew needs to make a big-time throw, he's delivered – like his deep ball to Michael Pittman Jr. against the Ravens or a few key third-down conversions against the Titans last weekend.

Marcie Eadens, Terre Haute, Ind.: Will Richardson need surgery?

JJ Stankevitz: Steichen said Wednesday the Colts are still evaluating the next course of action with Richardson, who sustained an AC joint injury in the Colts' Week 5 win over the Titans. Richardson was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday, which will keep him out for a minimum of four weeks.

"We'll look at everything," Steichen said. "We'll see what happens, what the doctors say with the final deal."

Chris Sollars, Marion, Ind.: Who will be the backup quarterback if Minshew gets hurt?

JJ Stankevitz: Sam Ehlinger will slide into the QB2 role beginning this week against the Jaguars. Like Minshew, the Colts have plenty of confidence in Ehlinger, who's in his third year in Indianapolis and appeared in four games (three starts) last season, completing 64 percent of his passes for 573 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. It's notable that the Colts kept Ehlinger on their 53-man roster this year, showing Steichen and the new offensive coaching staff value his expertise and ability to step in and play if needed.

The Colts also signed 2021 third-round draft pick Kellen Mond to the practice squad this week.

Brian Lukich, Whiteland, Ind.: What's the name of the song played after the Colts score a touchdown? I need to have it dialed up at home while watching the road games on TV!

JJ Stankevitz: Maria (I Like It Loud) by Scooter. Do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do. It's been stuck in my head for a month. I love this idea – hopefully you're blasting it a lot while watching Sunday's game in Jacksonville.

Matt Stuthers, Houston, Texas: After watching Minshew give his locker room speech, and the excitement everyone shared, it's clear that there IS a Minshew Mania. It's also clear that the QB1 and QB2 spots aren't changing and shouldn't change. I'm hype and haven't lost faith. Will you join me?

JJ Stankevitz: Sunday's game against the Jagaurs at EverBank Stadium is about as big as it gets for an early-season divisional tilt. The Colts and Jaguars are tied atop the AFC South with 3-2 records; the Colts are 2-1 against the South while the Jaguars are 1-1, with that win coming Week 1 at Lucas Oil Stadium. A split with the Jaguars would put the Colts in a strong position a third of the way through the 2023 season.

The Colts feel like they've building an identity of relentless toughness and physicality, and have plenty of faith in what Minshew can do while Richardson is sidelined.

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