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Richardson pushed to forefront for Colts with Bradshaw out

The Canadian Press

9/27/2013 4:56:07 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -- Trent Richardson wanted more work in Cleveland. He's about to get his wish in Indianapolis.

Less than two weeks after being traded from the Browns, the 2012 first-round draft pick will be given more carries and a bigger role Sunday after starter Ahmad Bradshaw was ruled out with a neck injury.

Richardson, who has been studying his playbook relentlessly, said he's ready.

"I've been learning the game plan every day and sticking my face in that playbook two hours after practice, an hour before practice, at the meetings and stuff," Richardson said. "I've been studying hard so I feel like that work load, I'm ready to go for it."

The Colts (2-1) don't have much choice.

Their original starter, Vick Ballard, went down with a season-ending knee injury before Indy's second game. Bradshaw started in a loss to Miami and again last week against San Francisco, four days after the Colts sent a 2014 first-round pick to Cleveland for Richardson.

Bradshaw responded with his best game since joining the Colts in June, rushing 19 times for 95 yards and a late touchdown. But he took a big shot early in the game. Initially, he tried to get up before falling to his knees.

Coach Chuck Pagano wouldn't say whether that was the play on which Bradshaw was injured.

So when the Colts practiced Friday, the only healthy running backs on the active roster were Richardson, Donald Brown, another former first-rounder, and fullback Stanley Havili. Indy could activate rookie Kerwynn Williams, a seventh-round draft pick, from the practice squad.

Pagano wouldn't say if the Colts would do that or how the carries would be split up, only that Richardson has to be ready for more work at winless Jacksonville (0-3).

"He's got no choice," Pagano said when asked if Richardson had enough time to learn the offence. "David Walker is a great football coach and a great teacher. He did an unbelievable job getting Trent ready for last Sunday and he'll do the same for this week. Between him and Donnie and the rest of the crew, we'll go down there and hopefully get the job done."

Bradshaw won't be the only starter missing Sunday.

Pagano said Pro Bowl safety LaRon Landry would miss his second straight game with an ankle injury, while defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois was ruled out with a groin injury. Jean Francois left the San Francisco game early. Neither has practiced this week because of the injuries.

Last week, Delano Howell replaced Landry and played well as the Colts turned in their best defensive game of the season.

For Richardson, though, this is his first big chance to show the Colts he can be the workhorse back they expect.

Last week, he carried 13 times for 35 yards and scored on a 1-yard run on his first carry with the Colts, and was brought in to help pass protect when the 49ers blitzed.

This week, he'll be asked to do even more, and Richardson can't wait.

"I think every playbook runs some of the same plays as far as running, just with different terminology," he said. "Staying with that, you're going to have your inside zones, outside zones, your powers. But in the passing game, you've just got to know what you're doing."

NOTES: Indy listed safety Joe Lefeged as questionable with a knee injury, and receiver T.Y. Hilton as probable with a toe injury. ... Three more starters -- linebacker Pat Angerer (knee), safety Antoine Bethea (toe) and centre Samson Satele (elbow) -- are probable.