Ballard will start for the emotional Colts this Sunday against the Jets in New York, according to Indianapolis Star's Phillip B. Wilson, because Brown underwent a knee scope and will miss 2-3 weeks of action.
Ballard may be a rookie, but Brown wasn't lighting up the Colts' ground game. In fact, the Colts have been hampered by their lack of ground game.
The team is relying too much on rookie QB Andrew Luck and superstar WR Reggie Wayne to carry the offense. Luck desperately needs a rushing attack to ease the pressure, keep the offense balanced, keep the opposing defense on its toes and utilize the play-action pass.
Brown is better suited as a third-down back due to his receiving skills which, next to Mewelde Moore, are the best of the team's RB corps. Brown isn't an ideal back for first and second downs, as he prefers to bounce outside instead of pounding the rock between the tackles.
That's why Ballard and, to an extent, Delone Carter are better fits dominating the carries for this offense.
The Colts desperately need somebody they can rely on to punch the rock straight into the gut of the defense.
Ballard was a workhorse at Mississippi State and is used to receiving a bulk of the carries. He may not have ideal speed, but he has the frame and power to remain a durable and consistent back for the Colts—somebody who can churn out tough yards when they need to ease the pressure on Luck.
The former Bulldog enters a solid situation, as he'll face a Jets team that is simply reeling on defense. The Jets have been gutted on the ground to open the season, and one would assume that Rex Ryan will look to rattle Luck—not Ballard—with comprehensive blitzes on Sunday.
The best way for the Colts to counter the blitz is to run Ballard up the middle.
With Brown out the next three games, Ballard will have the luxury of going against the Jets, Browns and Titans. The Jets currently give up more than 170 yards on the ground, while the Browns and Titans each currently surrender more than 140 yards rushing.
To say this was the perfect time for Ballard to step into a starting role would be an understatement. He'll provide a boost to the Colts rushing attack and will force the coaching staff to place Brown in a third-down role when he returns from injury.