Anthony Richardson showcased his extraordinary potential during 33 snaps on Thursday night, utilizing both his powerful right arm and impressive speed. Although the desired outcomes weren’t consistently achieved, the Indianapolis Colts‘ new starting quarterback concluded the preseason against the Philadelphia Eagles on a positive note as he embarks on his rookie season. (Read this also :Steelers Soar to a 24-0 Triumph Over Falcons, Setting the Stage for a Dominant Season Ahead)
In his second preseason appearance, Richardson took charge throughout the first half, steering the Colts to three scoring drives across five series, resulting in a halftime advantage of 17-13. He completed 6 out of 17 passes for a total of 78 yards and contributed an additional 38 yards through five carries. While his passing statistics might not have sparkled, they failed to capture the story of his enhanced composure and command over the offense.
Head coach Shane Steichen voiced his satisfaction, stating, “I thought he performed admirably. We managed to score on three out of the first four drives, which is certainly positive.” Steichen went on to acknowledge that there were areas for improvement, particularly regarding the two-minute drive. Despite this, he noted Richardson’s commendable actions and identified areas that needed refinement.
Perhaps most notably, Richardson’s confidence shone through after the Colts’ initial scoring drive. He celebrated with an “Fly, Eagles, fly” gesture, much to the chagrin of the Lincoln Financial Field crowd. This instant gained attention and buzz on social media. Nonetheless, his overall performance over two quarters provided a glimpse into the immense potential that positioned him as an appealing prospect.
Reflecting on the celebration, Richardson explained, “Sometimes, when you score, you get caught up and don’t know how to react. So, I was contemplating how to celebrate if I scored or if a teammate did. I sprinted there and simply flapped my arms, enjoying the moment and having fun.” He wished to clarify that his intent was purely to savor the game and the experience.
Richardson, designated as the team’s primary quarterback on August 15th, and the Colts initially struggled during their opening drive. However, as the fourth pick in the 2023 NFL Draft embraced a hurry-up offensive strategy in the subsequent series, he appeared entirely in his element. On the second drive, he completed both of his passes for 36 yards, culminating in a 3-yard touchdown run by Deon Jackson. In the third series, Richardson went 2 for 3, amassing 19 yards and initiating the march with a 16-yard run. The drive ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Evan Hull, concluding a 10-play, 75-yard advance.
Predictably, Richardson demonstrated moments of inaccuracy while demonstrating his arm strength. However, his ability to scramble was undeniably captivating and impressive.
Weighing in at 250 pounds, Richardson exhibited a bullish charge through potential tacklers, but what truly stood out was his agility and elusiveness on Thursday night.
Coach Steichen acknowledged Richardson’s knack for generating significant plays outside the pocket, stating, “That’s one of his strengths. His capability to create those major plays when outside the pocket is certainly an asset.” While the team needs to address scramble plays against blitzes, Steichen emphasized that Richardson’s mobility outside the pocket would undoubtedly benefit the team.
Much like Josh Allen’s early seasons with the Buffalo Bills, Richardson appears poised to offer a roller-coaster experience, marked by a plethora of exhilarating moments and occasional challenges.
Following a year of lackluster Colts games, Richardson seems poised to inject a more engaging style of football, promising a blend of highlights and the anticipation of improvement. While moments of brilliance are anticipated, the journey toward consistency remains a work in progress—a reality that’s unsurprising given Richardson’s developmental stage.
From his initial preseason appearance to his most recent, Richardson’s pocket presence and composure have clearly evolved. He exhibited comfort and confidence during his final rehearsal before the regular season.