When I first read news of Trent Richardson being traded to the Indianapolis Colts, my immediate reaction was joy. Richardson was my first pick on one of my fantasy teams, so seeing him go to the Colts who will utilize him better than his previous team, brought me excitement. My next thought was, ‘wait a second; the 49ers are playing the Colts in Week 3 and will have to go up against him this weekend!’
Before Richardson’s trade, the 49ers task of stopping the Colts’ rushing attack was not going to be all that difficult. Indianapolis only had one healthy running back, Ahmad Bradshaw, who would pose a challenge to the Niners defense. With Richardson now in the Colts’ game plan that will only make the task of limiting the damage done on the ground harder for San Francisco.
If you are thinking that there is no way Richardson plays this weekend or he will be limited because he is so new to the team and the offense, you’re wrong. Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said on Thursday about Richardson playing:
We did not bring him in here to be the water boy on Sunday, so he’ll be ready to roll.
Pagano also said that Richardson would play against the 49ers “as much as he can handle.” No matter what Pagano would have said about Richardson’s availability, Niners defensive coordinator Vic Fangio will have to tinker with the defensive game plan against the Colts to account for Richardson. The Colts’ offense was one-dimensional before the Richardson trade, as Andrew Luck set rookie passing records last season for yards and attempts. So now the Niners have to adjust because Richardson makes their offense more balanced and more run-oriented.
Richardson carried the ball 298 times for 1,055 yards with 11 rushing touchdowns in 17 career games for the Browns. He possesses a rare combination of power, speed and great hands for a running back. So far this season, he has 31 carries for 105 yards (3.4 per carry) with no touchdowns. He also has seven receptions for 51 yards.