With Joseph Addai leaving the game today with what appears to be a hamstring injury, the Colts will likely look to rookie Delone Carter from Syracuse to step in and fill for Addai along with Donald Brown.
In the absence of Peyton Manning, the Colts would love to be able to run the ball effectively to take pressure off of either Curtis Painter or Kerry Collins. However, they have been trailing so much this season that they have had to abandon the run and try to win through the air.
Coming into today’s game, the Colts were averaging just over 20 carries per game, 31st in the league.
So even with Addai, there weren’t too many carries in the Indianapolis offense to be had. Without Addai, Carter will battle with third-year UConn product Donald Brown over those few carries.
Brown has yet to impress in his previous two seasons in the league, so Carter could see a bulk of those carries in Addai’s absence, assuming he can build on some of the flashes he has shown early this season.
Beyond his production as a rusher, what made Addai so valuable to the Colts was his impressive abilities in picking up blitzers as a blocker.
In the Indianapolis offense, all things eventually come back around to what you can do to help Peyton Manning, so blitz pick up is a huge part of a running back’s responsibilities. That part of the scheme doesn’t change much with Peyton out and Painter in.
Donald Brown has so far failed to live up to the standards set in Indianapolis as a blocker, which is part of why the Colts picked up Carter in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Passing downs may give Carter his best chance to see regular action on the field. However, Carter will also get his chances to carry the ball, as Brown hasn’t exactly been all that impressive at that either.
Depending on how long Addai is out, this could be a huge opportunity for Delone Carter to make a name for himself as a rookie on a team struggling to find some answers.