How Will The Colts Running Back Rotation Play Out In 2019?

How Will The Colts Running Back Rotation Play Out In 2019?

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How Will The Colts Running Back Rotation Play Out In 2019?

A closer look at how the Colts might handle their 5 running backs in 2019.



INDIANAPOLISIt’s a position group that has hardly seen any change to it this offseason.


One signing of veteran Spencer Ware is the only addition, or subtraction, that the Colts have made to the running back group since the end of last year.


Ware joined the likes of Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins and Jonathan Williams, all who ended the 2018 season on the 53-man roster.


The first thing we know about this running back group heading into 2019 is that Marlon Mack remains the ‘feature back.’


“Marlon is our main guy,” Frank Reich reiterated earlier this month, after Mack fully participated in the team’s spring offseason program.


But what about after Mack?


In 2018, the Colts mainly used Hines in a gadget/hybrid role, splitting time at running back and wide receiver.


Hines, who caught 63 passes in 16 games last season, looks to be in line to continue his passing-down duties.


“Nyheim is the main third-down guy because of the stuff that he can do,” Reich says, while also noting that rookie Parris Campbell could impact how much the Colts use Hines as a slot receiver.


So where does that leave the remaining trio of runners?


“Other than that, Jordan and Jonathan and Spencer are vying for that other spot to be Marlon’s mixer,” the head coach adds.


That other spot didn’t lead to a whole lot of action last year though.


Once Mack got healthy in mid-October, Wilkins moved from a starter in the season opener to the No. 3 back. And Wilkins finished the rest of the year averaging around 11 snaps and 1.5 carries per game.


Now, Ware wasn’t obviously in the mix in 2018. So the resume, and running style, he now brings, is notable.


“He’s a very natural back there,” Reich says of Ware, who has a 4.6 yards per carry career average. “He understands the game. It comes easy to him. He sees it easy. I was also very attracted to his physical toughness. You can’t see that as much out here, but just knowing his past, watching tape on him and his mentality. He fits our mold. This is a tough dude – tough yards, not afraid to block. He is the kind of guy – not that we do much of this – but if you ever wanted to get into an I-formation, you can put him there. He is the kind of guy you can count on to get tough yardage. He has proven that in his career.”


Will Ware’s arrival change Reich’s approach to using a third running back?


How about a bigger Wilkins re-inserting himself into a consistent role?


Is Williams, who is a favorite of Chris Ballard, show something in camp?


The roles for Mack and Hines are pretty straightforward, but some remaining questions are there to round out this group.






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