INSTANT REACTION: Vick Ballard placed on injured reserve
It’s not even Week Two of the regular season but the Colts “Next Man Up” philosophy is already being put into action.
Head Coach Chuck Pagano announced Friday afternoon that running back Vick Ballard will be placed on injured reserve after suffering a knee injury during Thursday’s practice.
How does Ballard’s injury impact the Colts going forward?
First, losing Ballard is an obviously blow to the Colts offense.
He played well beyond the No. 170 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Late in his rookie season, Ballard was the main bell cow for a depleted Colts backfield.
Everyone knows what Ballard has done from a rushing standpoint (over 800 yards in 2012) but he’s a valuable blocker, and both Pagano and Andrew Luck raved earlier this week about the second-year back’s ability to block.
Moving forward, Ahmad Bradshaw and Donald Brown will be the guys to count on at the running back position.
Bradshaw had seven carries for 26 yards last week against the Raiders and that load will certainly increase beginning this weekend.
At 5’10” and 214 pounds, Bradshaw has rushed for at least 1,000 yards twice in the last three seasons and achieved that mark in 2012 despite playing in 14 games.
Bradshaw has played some of his best football on the game’s brightest stages and there’s no question that the seven-year veteran will be counted on heavily in 2013.
He is known as one of the better blocking running backs in the NFL and has also caught 125 passes over the last four seasons.
In his fifth season with the Colts, Brown should first be commended for how he’s accepted his role on special teams in 2013. He is the team’s punt protector and has excelled on special teams during the preseason and in Week One.
Now, Brown will see his role expand offensively after playing just one offensive snap in the Colts opening week victory.
Brown has 449 carries for 1,840 yards in his Colts career and has caught 56 passes out of the backfield.
Running backs coach David Walker stressed during the offseason the importance of finding a third running back how that would inevitably be needed over the course of a 16-game schedule.
That unfortunately comes in Week Two and the Colts will now deal with their first major adversity beginning on Sunday afternoon.