The stat often attached to Indianapolis Colts rookie Anthony Richardson, other than perhaps some of his amazing NFL scouting measurements, is that he has had 13 collegiate starts.
It’s hard for any rookie quarterback to find instant success in the NFL, let alone one who didn’t play much in college. Richardson’s inexperience showed on his first NFL preseason possession against the Buffalo Bills.
Richardson started, the fourth overall pick in the draft. This is a sign that he is in line to start the first week of the regular season. The Colts would like to see Richardson have a promising preseason before then, but it started with a bad interception.
On the Colts’ first possession, Richardson hesitated, then randomly threw a pass from his back foot that looked like it was meant for Bills cornerback Dane Jackson because none of the Colts’ receivers in the area were close. Jackson picked it up and that’s how Richardson’s first pre-season drive ended. The Bills converted that into a touchdown from running back James Cook.
It was a terrible play for Richardson, but pre-season is a good time to fail and learn.
The Colts used a lot of offensive creases that you don’t often see in the preseason. Richardson’s first play was A Choice to Read. His second play, he was at the gun with a blank background. Indianapolis used a no-huddle cadence right away. If Richardson is going to start when the regular season starts, he needs to get some reps to do what the Colts plan to do when games count.
Other than the interception, Richardson’s day was up and down. The Colts mostly tried to make short, quick passes. He hit some of these and was inaccurate in others. He was 7 of 12 for 67 yards, which would have been a reasonable preseason start if it weren’t for the interception. He played all three series in the first quarter and then took a bench. A large part of Richardson’s game would be running, and the Colts didn’t want to have him get any more hits in preseason plays. He ran twice for seven yards and had a seven-yard run that was called back for catching. He’ll probably run a lot when the games count.
Richardson almost had one great advantage. He threw a great touchdown pass to Alec Pearce that Pearce should have held on to, but it was dropped. Had Pierce made that play it could have made Richardson’s day a lot better, but the Colts had to get excited with the sweet touchdown pass in coverage.
The Colts have some teaching points for Richardson after his first preseason game. He cannot throw this objection again. They will work on passes he inaccurately threw. The future looks bright for Richardson, even if there are some inevitable mistakes as he learns.