Bradshaw and Richardson nearly even in touches in first game together

9/23/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Blog Photo - Bradshaw and Richardson nearly even in touches in first game togetherThere were plenty of questions regarding Trent Richardson's potential workload leading up to his debut with his new team, the Indianapolis Colts, this past Sunday. The 23-year-old runner has an impressive, dynamic skill set, but he was acquired in a trade with the Cleveland Browns just a few days prior to Sunday's game, leaving him with just two days to practice in his new offense. The Colts have another capable runner in Ahmad Bradshaw, who they knew they could lean on if they wanted to ease Richardson into his new situation.

Richardson ended up playing 28 snaps on Sunday, while Bradshaw finished the game with 30. It is actually a pretty impressive total for Richardson, who nearly matched his more experienced teammate's snap count despite Bradshaw being the man called upon to kill the clock when the game was all but over.

What was much less impressive, however, was Richardson's production. The former third overall pick racked up just 35 rushing yards on 13 carries, though he did manage to punch in a touchdown from one yard out. Bradshaw, on the other hand, was surprisingly effective against a shockingly porous 49ers run defense, finishing the game with 95 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.

Fantasy owners who have been frustrated with Richardson to this point in the year don't need to worry just yet. In what was likely a very stressful week, Richardson had very little time to learn his new offense and get used to his new blockers. The fact that he still played about the same number of snaps as Bradshaw suggests that the Colts really plan on working him to the bone once he gets fully acclimated to the playbook.

Richardson - a very capable receiver out of the backfield - did not have a catch on Sunday, but his role in the passing game should grow quite a bit as the season goes on. It makes sense that a running back would take longer to get a grasp of a new team's passing plays, which involve specific routes and timing with the quarterback, than running plays, which are pretty straightforward.

If the Colts wanted to split snaps equally between Richardson and Bradshaw, they would not have given up a first-round pick to bring Richardson to Indianapolis. Richardson's snaps and touches should rise steadily until he is taking on a full workload, while Bradshaw's will likely dwindle down to a number that will prevent reliable fantasy production.
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