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Associated Press

Hey, look who's here

Trent Richardson did not arrive on a white horse. Let's clear up that rumor straight off the jump.

What he is, what the Indianapolis Colts traded a 2014 No. 1 pick for, is a power running back who came out of Alabama packing sledgehammer promise, and either did or didn't deliver ball-peen hammer production. As the Cleveland Browns' No. 1 pick a year ago, he ran for 950 yards playing much of the season with a a couple of dinged ribs, and that was good; he comes to the Colts having gained just 105 yards in 31 carries this season, and that's not so good. That is, in fact, just a tad shy of 3.4 yards per carry.

Hardly savior numbers, in other words. But still a good deal for the Colts, if the dominoes all fall the right way.

It's a good deal, because, if he can stay healthy, Richardson will bring some juice to an offensive scheme ideally suited to his style. He's strong inside the tackles and, with 58 catches as pro, he's a threat running routes out of the backfield.

All of that will help a Colts offense that's already lost three players for the season, including running back Vick Ballard and tight end Dwayne Allen. And the loss of guard Donald Thomas does nothing for an offensive line that, despite the Colts' attempts to rewire it in the offseason, is having no more success keeping the wolves away from Andrew Luck's door than it did a year ago.

Luck's already been sacked seven times in two games, which works out to 56 across a 16-game season. That's 13 more sacks than the Colts' OL allowed a year ago.

Enter Richardson, who will give the Colts a second power back to go with Ahmad Bradshaw, and provide a safety valve for Luck under duress. If he can provide the running game a sizeable boost -- one of the cornerstones, remember, of new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton's scheme -- opponents won't be able to simply tee off on Luck at every snap. And that will give the offensive line half a shot at slowing down the pass rush when circumstances call for it.

If that happens, this team's looking at the playoffs again. If doesn't, it's not.

And that's exactly why Richardson's in Indianapolis today, white horse or no white horse.

Ben Smith's blog.

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