The Indianapolis Colts surprised everyone last season with their storybook run to the AFC Playoffs. After finishing with the NFL’s worst record in 2011, the catalyst for their quick turnaround in 2012 was stability at the quarterback position in the form of Andrew Luck. They still lacked one key element — a running game — that prevented them from taking the next step. The Colts had a 100-yard rusher only once in 2012 and finished the season with the 22nd ranked rushing offense in the league.
Enter Ahmad Bradshaw.
The Colts picked up the unrestricted free-agent on Tuesday, immediately bolstering the talent in their backfield and the level of leadership in the lockerroom. Bradshaw has run for 1000 yards or more in two of the last three seasons with the Giants. He also won two Super Bowls during his time in East Rutherford.
Bradshaw will likely shoot straight to the top of the Indianapolis depth chart once he arrives in Indy. At 27, he’s still got some good football left in him and should be an upgrade over Vick Ballard and Donald Brown.
Bradshaw’s skills also mesh well with what Indy wants to do this season. Head coach Chuck Pagano is on record as saying his offense will have more of a West Coast Offense feel in 2013, meaning not only shorter passes to his receivers but more frequent passes to his running backs out of the backfield. Last season, Colt running backs logged less than 40 receptions total. Bradshaw averages over 34 receptions a year over the last three seasons.
The Colts and their fans would love to see Bradshaw put up the numbers he did in 2010. That year, he logged 1235 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground while catching 47 passes for 314 yards.
Even if he fails to reach those numbers, the addition of Bradshaw as a consistent threat and playmaker in this offense puts more pressure on the Houston Texans as the consensus frontrunners in the division. With questions about Ed Reed’s health, I am of the opinion that no offseason acquisition will have more of an impact on how the AFC South shakes out than Bradshaw to the Colts.
BY J.P. SCOTT ON JUNE 12, 2013