How Will Ahmad Bradshaw Impact Indianapolis Colts' Offense?
The addition of free-agent running back Ahmad Bradshaw could make a positive impact for the Indianapolis Colts in 2013, but there are several other things to consider now that Bradshaw has signed with Indianapolis.
The buzz surrounding Bradshaw and the Colts began when the team's Twitter account released a picture of Bradshaw at the facilities on Thursday, June 6.
Naturally, when the team mentions that a certain free agent is working out with the team over its social media, you expect the two to start negotiating a deal fairly soon.
That's exactly what happened, as Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star said that the two were working on a deal.
#colts interest in RB Ahmad Bradshaw is real. Both sides talking $$$.— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) June 6, 2013
Update on a situation from the weekend: I'm told #Colts still in "heavy negotiations" with RB Ahmad Bradshaw. Easy to see how he'd help them— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 10, 2013
Finally, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that the deal was done on Tuesday, June 11.
Colts and RB Ahmad Bradshaw agreed to one-year deal.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 11, 2013
So, now that Bradshaw has joined the Colts, what happens to this offense?
Many have reacted negatively to the potential signing, but the more I watch Bradshaw play, the more I'm impressed.
Of course, that's when he is healthy.
Bradshaw can be used as a complete running back. He is a solid runner, good at making catches out of the backfield and an even more impressive player in pass protection.
According to Pro Football Focus, Bradshaw has allowed only three quarterback sacks since 2008. He's an aggressive back who isn't afraid to put a hit on a defender while protecting his quarterback.
Again, injuries are a concern with Bradshaw. He has missed six games in the past two seasons and has had several foot surgeries. At 27 years old, that kind of wear and tear is a big concern for a running back.
Assuming Bradshaw stays healthy, what would his role be on this team? There are already guys like Vick Ballard, Donald Brown and even Delone Carter in the backfield, so what will happen there?
It's hard to see anything happen to Ballard, who showed some serious potential in 2012. Even Brown has had his flashes over the past few seasons with the Colts, but his ability to stay healthy has been a problem as well. As for Carter, he may be in jeopardy of losing a spot on the roster.
It could be very possible that Bradshaw is used in a rotation with both Ballard and Brown. Although Ballard looked good last season, there is a chance that Bradshaw could get the majority of snaps.
Who should start at RB if Bradshaw is signed?
The numbers were still pretty good for Bradshaw in 2012 despite playing in only 14 games. He finished the season with 1,015 rushing yards and six touchdowns while averaging 4.6 yards per carry. He has only dipped below 4.0 yards per carry once in his career—in 2011—and has averaged 4.6 yards over his entire career.
Although the injuries are a concern, Bradshaw isn't ancient at age 27. He still has a few more seasons in him, and his ability to run, catch and block can make a big impact.
His ability as a receiver out of the backfield, in particular, could be big for Indianapolis. With the arrival of Pep Hamilton and the "No Coast Offense", it wouldn't be a shock to see the Colts use him as a receiver out of the backfield thanks to the scheme's utilization of some West Coast tendencies.
George Bremer of The Herald Bulletin chimed in with his own opinion of how Bradshaw would impact the Colts.
@T_Brookey I'd have to believe he'd be the third-down back immediately if for no other reason than pass pro.— George Bremer (@gmbremer) June 10, 2013
@T_Brookey If he's healthy, would imagine he'd push Ballard as starter. But Colts want to use 3 backs this year regardless.— George Bremer (@gmbremer) June 10, 2013
It will be interesting to see how the rest of this situation will unfold. If he continues to play like he has and can stay healthy, it's safe to say that Bradshaw could make a pretty big impact on the Indianapolis offense in 2013.
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