Colts OC: Anthony Richardson’s offseason showed ‘we didn’t have a rookie on our

Last season, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson showcased all the skills that made him the No. 4 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Richardson completed 59.5% of his passes at an average of 6.9 yards per attempt, and he averaged 5.4 yards per carry. Alas, he only played in parts of four games due to a concussion followed by a shoulder injury. He finished his rookie campaign having thrown just 84 passes and rushed 25 times, though he totaled 713 yards, seven scores, one interception and one fumble lost on those plays.

Richardson has been rehabbing since last October, but according to Colts offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, that’s not all he’s been doing. Richardson has come into the offseason program with a different mindset and a different level of knowledge about playing the position.

“To hear him talk through some of the footwork things, all the fundamentals and details of the quarterback position, to hear what he had been working on with the guys that he works out with, and how he was doing that in conjunction with getting back healthy, it didn’t sound like a rookie quarterback who just showed up from the draft,” Cooter said, via The MMQB. “Anthony was extremely professional with how he was discussing those things with Cam Turner and some of the other guys around the building. … It was evident we didn’t have a rookie on our hands anymore. That was for sure.”

Cooter thinks the rehab process actually helped Richardson step back and look at the bigger picture of quarterback play.

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“There is real value in getting away,” Cooter says. “Anthony was so into what he needed to be into with the meetings and the practices and the games, that it was valuable for him to sort of get away and recharge mentally at the end of the season and focus on his health. And before too long, without us prodding, Anthony, he starts asking us what he can do. What can he look at? What can he do to get better? He’s ready to talk about this pass concept. ‘What tape should I watch? Who should I look at? What other quarterback should I watch?'”

As for how he can stay healthy in the future after suffering two injuries in a five-game span, Colts head coach Shane Steichen has some ideas.

“It’s just being smart on when to get down,” Steichen said. “There’s a happy medium. There’s a time and a place, where it’s fourth down and you gotta have it and the game’s on the line, where you gotta go get it. But if it’s first-and-10 — we had this conversation today — and you scramble, and you can make it second-and-4 and take a big hit, or make it second-and-6 and get down, hey, let’s make it second-and-6.”

Richardson’s ability to make plays with his legs both inside and outside the structure of the offense is a big part of what makes him so unique as a player. You don’t want to take that away from him. Richardson has more than enough size and strength to eke every yard out of every rushing attempt if he wants to, and as Steichen said, there are certain times and places where it’s probably not worth it to take a hit, and you can live to fight another down. If he can find that right balance, Richardson can stay on the field to provide the Colts with more of those types of plays.

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