The stat most often attached to Indianapolis Colts rookie Anthony Richardson, other than perhaps some of his astounding measurables from the NFL scouting combine, is that he had 13 college starts.
It’s hard for any rookie quarterback to have immediate success in the NFL, much less one that didn’t play much in college. Richardson’s inexperience showed on his first NFL preseason possession against the Buffalo Bills.
Richardson, the fourth overall pick of the draft, got the start. That’s a sign he’s in line to start Week 1 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 haphazardly threw out a pass off his back foot that seemed like it was intended for Bills cornerback Dane Jackson because neither Colts receiver in the area was close. Jackson picked it off and that’s how Richardson’s first preseason drive ended. The Bills turned that into a touchdown from running back James Cook.
It was a truly terrible play for Richardson, but preseason is a good time to fail and learn.
The Colts used a lot of offensive wrinkles you don’t often see in the preseason. Richardson’s first play was a read option. His second play, he was in shotgun with an empty backfield. Indianapolis used no-huddle tempo right away. If Richardson is going to start when the regular season begins, he has to get some reps doing what the Colts plan to do when games count.
Other than the interception, Richardson’s day was up and down. The Colts mostly had him attempting short, quick passes. He hit some of those and was inaccurate on others. He was 7-of-12 for 67 yards, which would have been a reasonable preseason debut if not for the interception. He played all three series in the first quarter and then took a seat. A big part of Richardson’s game will be him running, and the Colts didn’t want to have him taking extra hits on preseason plays. He did run two times for seven yards and had a seven-yard run called back due to holding. He’ll probably run a lot more when the games count.
Richardson almost had one great highlight. He threw a brilliant pass downfield to Alec Pierce that Pierce should have held onto, but it was dropped. Had Pierce made that play it would have made Richardson’s day a lot better, but the Colts had to be excited by the beautiful touch pass in coverage.
The Colts have some teaching points for Richardson after his first preseason game. He can’t throw that interception again. They’ll work on the passes he threw inaccurately. The future seems bright for Richardson, even if there will be some inevitable miscues as he learns.