The Indianapolis Colts will be without starting running back Donald Brown for a few weeks, which is a big blow to the offense considering backup Delone Carter has yet to prove he can be an answer for the Colts at the position.
Carter, a second-year player out of Syracuse, has had an underwhelming career so far as a pro, to say the least.
In his rookie season, Carter only amassed 377 yards on the ground and two touchdowns in 16 games with a measly 3.7 yards per carry average. This season he has yet to carry the ball once for the Colts, and for good reason.
Carter will see his first action of the season this week against the New York Jets and further reinforce the notion that he is not the answer in the backfield. Here's why.
Lack of Trust and Versatility
Carter has clearly failed to earn the trust of the coaching staff to this point, as evidenced by his lack of even dressing for more than one game this season. He entered the season as the No. 4 back on the depth chart and has yet to record a carry.
The issue the coaching staff has with Carter is not only his lack of production, but his lack of versatility. Carter is a big back at 5'9" and 225 pounds, and has a physical running style more suited for short-yardage situations.
The Colts coaching staff elected to bring in veteran Mewelde Moore as a third-down back courtesy of his excellent ability to catch passes out of the backfield and pass-block. Carter cannot do either efficiently, and the lack of trust and versatility likely mean 2012 will be his last year in Colts' blue.
Depth Chart Woes
Will Delone Carter ever be the answer for the Colts at running back?
As hinted at, Carter is getting lost in the depth chart at the bottom. He barely scraped by and made the roster this offseason as he battled Donald Brown, rookie Vick Ballard and Moore.
It should speak volumes about how the team feels about Carter that Ballard, a rookie, has been named the starting running back in Brown's absence instead of Carter.
Ballard will carry the load for the Colts while Brown is out, and Moore will be used as the third-down back, which means Carter will receive few opportunities, if any, to prove to the staff he can make a worthwhile contribution and that he has improved from his miserable offseason.
Forecasting the Future
For Carter, his time may be running out in Indianapolis unless he has a breakout game in the next few weeks.
Carter is 25 years old, but so is Brown, who clearly has a lock on the starting gig in Indianapolis when healthy. Ballard is a rookie and only 22 years old, meaning moving forward it appears to be a one-two combo of Brown and Ballard as the ground game for the Colts.
This leaves Carter as the odd man out. He's young and has a chance to turn his career around, but he better seize the moment in the next few weeks with Brown out or he'll have a hard time keeping a roster spot beyond 2012.