Colts Running Back Donald Brown Says He's Ready for Sunday Whatever His Role
INDIANAPOLIS – Donald Brown said he's ready if needed.
And while Brown could get extensive action, and while it's possible he could made the second start of his NFL career on Sunday, the Colts' second-year veteran running back said he won't go to extremes to place a huge emphasis on the opunity.
It's a game. He has prepared.
And he said that's how he'll approach Sunday.
"I'm excited – it's going to be a good game," Brown said Friday following the final full practice of the week for the Colts (5-2) while preparing to play the Philadelphia Eagles (4-3) of the NFC East at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday at 4:15 p.m.
"I'm prepared – regardless of the amount of plays I play, I've prepared this week to be ready for any situation."
Brown, a first-round selection in the 2009 NFL Draft, practiced on a full participation basis all three days this week after playing as a backup Monday in a 30-17 victory over the Houston Texans.
Brown had missed the previous three games with a hamstring injury.
With running back Joseph Addai out with a neck injury, third-team running back Mike Hart made his first career start against Houston, rushing for 84 yards on 12 carries.
Hart and Addai each missed all three days of practice this week.
"Nothing changes," Colts left tackle Charlie Johnson said of the running back position. "We're just going to go out and we're going to block the plays that are called. Whoever is running is going to do a good job of making yards. Nothing really changes."
Johnson said that's true whatever the differing styles of the runner.
"They're going to run the way they run," Johnson said. "We're going to block it the same way every time. It doesn't matter who's back there."
Brown, college football's lone 2,000-yard rusher in his final season at Connecticut in 2009, started one of 11 games played last season, rushing for 281 yards and three touchdowns on 78 carries before rushing for 46 yards in three post-season games.
He made his first start in the regular-season finale against Buffalo.
He played extensively as a backup to Addai in the first four games this season, rushing for 97 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries. He said he doesn't yet know if he will start Sunday.
"I'm just going out there and looking forward to playing" he said. "It's like any other game. It doesn't matter if you start or come in on the third series. You just need to play well and when your number is called, make the most of every opportunity."
For Brown, the opportunity will come in front of more familiar people than usual. His hometown of Atlantic Highlands, N.J., is less than a two-hour drive from Philadelphia.
"I have a nice-sized crowd going," he said. "A lot of family and good friends from back home (are) coming. It will be nice to see them and nice for them to come see us play. It will be nice."
With Addai and Hart each out late last week against Houston, rookie running back Javarris James – a free agent from the University of Miami – played in the fourth quarter. He rushed for four yards on three carries, and had a seven-yard run that he nearly broke for a longer run.
"It helped me out a lot," James said of the experience. "Since I got here, once again with the guys getting hurt, I've been getting more and more reps in practice and getting the chance to get more and more reps with (quarterback) Peyton (Manning). It's been helping me all the way up to this point."
James, the cousin of Colts all-time leading rusher Edgerrin James, signed with the Colts as a free agent shortly after he 2010 NFL Draft. He was released shortly before the regular season and after spending time on the practices squad with New England and Washington, he signed to the Colts' active roster in early October. He has been active for the past three games.
He rushed for 85 yards on 26 preseason carries.
"Last week, I finally got to the point where I wasn't nervous," James said. "I wasn't thinking. I was just going out and playing. The thing Joe and all the rest of the guys always tell me is, 'Approach it like you're the starter.' Especially playing the running back position, you never know what can happen.
"The experience I got last game, it got around to the fourth quarter and I didn't think I was getting in. I saw Mike come out and I figured Donald was going in. (Running backs) Coach (Gene) Huey called by number, and I was excited, but once I got in there I calmed myself down and realized I had a job to do.
"I felt like I did good."
James said he feels more prepared each week and said he confident if needed he will perform consistently Sunday not only running, but pass blocking, too.
"For me, to not go out there and be thinking, and being comfortable with the playbook, that's important," he said. "I can just play my game and that takes a lot of stress out of me. Being in the backfield, you have all of those checks and calls – I know my assignments, and that helps a lot.
"You only get so many opportunities. This is my opportunity right here. I'm going to make the best of it. Hopefully, Joe and Mike can come back as soon as possible, but for the time being, I just want to go in and do my thing."