INDIANAPOLIS – Colts running back Trent Richardson already has added an edge to his new team.
The scary thing is, he's still learning.
The Colts have leaned heavily on quarterback Andrew Luck's arm since drafting him in 2012, but they have adjusted their identity a bit and become more of a power running team the past two weeks since adding Richardson in a trade with the Cleveland Browns.
"He's been able to do some heavy lifting for us," offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said Thursday. "The major positive in terms of Trent being able to make the transition is that he's been able to avoid the negative plays. He's a physical, inside-the-tackles runner."
Richardson hopes to take another step forward Sunday at home against the Seattle Seahawks. Though he has rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns since the move, he has averaged just 2.9 yards per carry. He expects the statistics to improve soon, even with the stout Seattle defense on deck.
"I know the 100-yard games are going to come," he said. "And I do say games, because I know there's going to be more than one. When it does come, it's going to keep coming."
Richardson said he understands the game plans, but he's still learning the playbook.
"I know these guys are way ahead of me," he said. "They're six months ahead of me. It's a work in progress. "
Richardson ran for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns as a rookie with the Browns last season, and played two games with Cleveland this season before the trade. He scored on his first carry as a Colt, a 1-yard plunge against the San Francisco 49ers, and finished with 35 yards on 13 carries as a backup to Ahmad Bradshaw.
Bradshaw missed last week's game against Jacksonville with a neck injury, so Richardson started and ran for 60 yards on 20 carries.
Hamilton called Richardson a key part of the offense and says he isn't concerned about the numbers.
"I think that he's on schedule, and he's bought into the fact that it's going to be a grind, and just be patient, and continue to chip away and burrow and find a crease and really, just strain for the positive yards, and in time, the long runs will come," he said.
Richardson said he's getting better, but he wants to do more.
"I criticize myself a lot," he said. "I'm going to always be my biggest critic. I know that my game has got to elevate. There's got to be a reason why they wanted to come and get me. I know I've done good, but I don't know if it's good enough for my standards."
Because of Richardson's presence, opponents are defending the Colts differently than in the past. That opens things up for the passing game.
"The last two teams have been stacking in the box," he said. "We've got a guy named Luck who's going to throw it, and a guy named Reggie Wayne and T.Y. (Hilton) and DHB (Darrius Heyward-Bey) that's going to catch the ball. We got guys who are going to do their job, and we're all on the same track. It's no other way but to win."
Though his numbers haven't been flashy in the past two weeks, Richardson has played a role in helping Indianapolis run out the clock.
"We've had the luxury the past couple of games of being able to run the ball in the fourth quarter, and for us, that is our ultimate goal," Hamilton said. "We want to finish the game running the football."