INDIANAPOLIS – Joining the Colts last season in week three and being thrust even faster into the offense the following week, Trent Richardson was in a jam in learning how to make his new offense second nature.
In the second week of the club's off-season program, Richardson said the last few days afforded him a real chance to adapt at his desired level.
"It felt good. It's way different," said Richardson. "It's much easier and it's slowing down a lot, so it's making the game much better for me."
The Colts' offense, in the first season under coordinator Pep Hamilton, could not break pace in competition, so Richardson was forced to learn schemes, terminology and, not to mention, new teammates and a different environment.
"Just to get back at it and just to be out here with my teammates, it's a blessing," said Richardson. "To be taking everything slow and to know the real concept of the plays (is helpful). (It's) not just going week-to-week and just really knowing why the quarterback is doing this, or why they're thinking that, or why do we got these audibles set up in this play, or why the offensive line is making this call, not just if they make this call, I go that way and make sure I block this person."
The details Richardson used to answer yesterday's question were but a fraction of the offense he was deciphering in 2013.
After thriving at Alabama, he was learning a new offense in Cleveland. As the third overall pick in the 2012 draft, some viewed him the answer to a franchise's dreams.
"Being a high-profile guy coming in, they were looking for him to be a miracle worker," said D'Qwell Jackson, a Browns teammate then. "That's just not the case. He had his bumps in the road, but he was injured. He never really had an injury-free (year). He played through a lot in Cleveland."
Joining the Colts for a first-round pick that finds Cleveland holding this year in the 26th spot, many looked for the same quick results.
Richardson had moments both ways, but the lack of off-season orientation played a large role in times that were choppy.
Richardson in four games had a rushing average at or exceeding 3.4 yards. Other times yards were tougher to find as health on the offensive line and other injuries on the unit exacerbated the issue.
With two seasons behind and value weeks ahead, Richardson looks to keep trending in his fluency with the offense.
"I'm learning a lot, as much as I've learned in this last week, (it's) much more than I learned last year," said Richardson. "The off-season is very important because you have a chance to vibe with your team, to build that respect, to build that trust and then to build that team chemistry with your offensive line, with your quarterback.
"Knowing the concept of a play is the biggest thing because when it comes down to it, if you just remember what you're doing, that's not good enough. I remembered the playbook last year. I know it now. I'm learning a lot this year."
Richardson stood Wednesday in the same spot he did last year when fielding questions about his season.
Composed and cool then, he is feeling better now. About seven weeks remain for his assimilation, and the back that ran for 950 rookie yards sees prospects for fun in 2014.
"It's to be one of the best offenses out there," said Richardson. When it comes to goals, I'm pretty sure we're going to set that when it comes down to it in camp. The sky's the limit when it comes to how good this offense can be. That's really up to us.
"There's not too much what the play call is going to be or what the (coaches) are doing. When it comes down to it, it's about the people that are in this locker room. Our coaches, they're our coaches, our leaders. At the same time, we got to contribute. We got to know what we're doing through the off-season. We just got to be on point with everything."