Week 1 of the NFL was truly a show that you couldn’t miss, but then again, that was pretty obvious. You had players with poor performances like Daniel Jones against the Dallas Cowboys or you had Deshaun Watson of the Cleveland Browns.
But then there are those really impressive performances. Going into a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, I didn’t know what to expect out of the young, yet promising, Anthony Richardson. As an NFL fan, you hear about his world class athleticism and the clear comparisons to former Panthers star Cam Newton, yet he was also raw as a prospect. With not many talented options at quarterback in 2023, he was expected to be the clear savior of a franchise that was coming off a 4-12-1 season and hasn’t had a true star at the quarterback position since the retired Andrew Luck.
With a new head coach in Shane Steichen, there were plenty of possibilities for the Colts to capitalize on the abilities of Richardson in the passing game and the run. It took just one game to see that and it not only was a great debut out of the former Florida quarterback, but it impressed me the most out of any quarterback all weekend and there were certainly some electric performances to choose from.
Now, I’m not gonna sit here and say that Richardson had a perfect game. He did still lose by 10 and his fourth quarter interception with just over five minutes left would prove to be the dark moment of the game for the rookie. But, those mistakes are going to happen and the bright spots certainly stuck out to me more than his blunders in Sunday’s loss. It’s certainly not something to get super discouraged by in Week 1 of a long NFL season.
In just his first game, Richardson had to duel one of the game’s brightest young quarterbacks in Trevor Lawrence and truly made it a competitive game. To top it all off, Jacksonville’s defense was not doing the rookie any favors as they made quick work of a poor Colts offensive line. It forced no. 5 and Steichen to start getting creative with their playcalling and it would force the Jaguars to have to quickly adapt to the varying moves.
It was particularly awesome to watch him execute his run-designed plays throughout the game. Going into Sunday’s matchup, everyone knew that Richardson’s mobility was a key asset of his game and it was going to play a big role in whether Indy was going to win or lose this one. While it didn’t end up going the way that Colts fans were hoping for, their young quarterback’s mobility was certainly not a negative. That attribute quickly allowed him to navigate out of trouble despite pressure from Jacksonville, whether no. 5 had to scramble to get off a pass or getting ready to cruise for one of his 10 rushing attempts for 40 yards.
Richardson’s second half certainly highlighted what he needs to clean up and that was his passing. While he was certainly getting pressured a ton, the accuracy issues were clear for the Miami native and it would lead to several poor drives. Ideally, he’ll need to stay calm under pressure and make improvements to his passing accuracy to continue on a positive trajectory for his rookie season and career.
Long story short, despite not knowing what to expect from him, I’m super excited to see what the former Florida quarterback’s future holds. His game looked much more polished than I expected, despite being considered incredibly raw throughout the draft process. As long as the rookie cleans up his passing and takes Lawrence’s advice to protect himself from the threat of injury, the sky’s the limit for what Richardson could achieve as a member of the Colts. Just wait and see.