ANDERSON – The Indianapolis Colts thought highly enough of Donald Brown to make him a first-round draft pick in 2009. Three years later, Indianapolis is still trying to find out whether Brown can deliver.
The man who once looked like a first-round bust is hoping to resurrect his career in a backfield that has no proven starter. He will get to play under a new offensive coordinator in Bruce Arians, too.
I love the system, said Brown, who caught a 63-yard touchdown pass on Andrew Luck’s first throw Sunday. I’m very comfortable with it.
I’m excited to get running and especially with the big guys that we have up front.
With the Colts opting to cut its ties with former starter Joseph Addai after the 2011 season, the door is wide open for somebody to take over as the team’s primary back.
Delone Carter, a fourth-round pick in 2011, and undrafted free agent Darren Evans are among those expected to challenge Brown for playing time.
In addition to the TD catch, Brown carried the ball twice for 7 yards in Sunday’s 38-3 preseason opener against the St. Louis Rams. Carter had 17 yards on five carries and Evans 25 yards on eight carries.
Indianapolis also added veterans Deji Karim and Mewelde Moore from Jacksonville and Pittsburgh, respectively, in the offseason. The Colts selected former Mississippi State running back Vick Ballard in the fifth round of April’s draft.
Karim had 14 yards on four carries, Moore 4 yards on two carries and 28 yards on six carries.
It’s very exciting for the backs, Brown said. We have a great backfield right now and guys that bring many different things to the table.
The Colts could use it all after going 2-14 last season. They hope Arians will help provide a balanced attack with rookie quarterback Luck at the controls.
Indianapolis’ coaching staff doesn’t want Luck to feel as if he has to carry the team on his shoulders right off the bat.
We want to be able to run the football when we want to run the football, Arians said. You know we aren’t running 35 times ... every game dictates different numbers. When we want to run it, we want to be able to run it, and be able to be physical. Old school football, double team, kick out and hit it up in there.
Brown likes that approach.
Just some downhill, smash-mouth running. That’s what I’m comfortable with. That’s what I’m excited about, he said.