Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines are rising stars within the Indianapolis Colts’ backfield, however individuals neglect that Marlon Mack’s balanced recreation offers Indy a singular benefit.
The Indianapolis Colts are among the many NFL groups opponents must be involved about coming into the 2021 season.
Star linebacker Darius Leonard leads the Colts’ protection, and their offensive line is supremely proficient, with Quenton Nelson anchoring the unit at left guard.
Nonetheless, working again is a spot of intrigue in Indy.
Marlon Mack has turn into the forgotten man alongside Jonathan Taylor and Nyehim Hines. His skills make him the proper complimentary piece, probably making a three-headed monster within the Colts’ backfield.
Marlon Mack may give the Indianapolis Colts an unfair benefit at working again.
Getting into the 2021 season, Mack’s title isn’t introduced up when speaking in regards to the expertise in Indianapolis’s backfield — disrespectful given his monitor file and skill.
The USF product was constantly productive in 2018 and ’19 for the Colts. He rushed for 1,999 yards and 17 touchdowns in 26 video games over that span, solely fumbling twice. His 1,091 yards and eight scores in 2019 ranked within the top-10 amongst working backs. Moreover, he’s improved his receiving abilities, elevating his catch share every year since being drafted.
Mack has pulled off some sensational runs, most notably his whirling derby-Esque landing run in opposition to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2019. When wholesome, he’s been the point of interest of a Colts offense that established the now-famous mantra: Run the rattling ball.
Sadly, an Achilles damage within the Colts’ Week 1 loss to Jacksonville final season prompted Mack to overlook the vast majority of the 12 months. It was an terrible and abrupt finish to what was presupposed to be a breakout 12 months for then-fourth 12 months again.
Though the scenario was heartbreaking for everybody concerned, Mack’s damage did permit the Colts to understand the opposite distinctive skillsets their different working backs carry.
Taylor was sensational as the first again for Indianapolis in 2020 whereas Mack was damage. His physicality between the tackles and acceleration on the second stage allowed him to rack up 1,169 yards and 11 touchdowns on 5.0 YPC in his rookie season. The previous second-round decide proved to be one other draft gem discovered by normal supervisor Chris Ballard.
Hines was primarily the receiving again final 12 months with 63 catches, 482 yards, and 4 scores. He additionally confirmed his versatility on particular groups, excelling as a punt and kick returner. His smaller body and shiftiness give Colts followers their model of Darren Sproles, a Swiss Military knife who gave defenses matches for greater than a decade.
Ballard admitted early within the offseason it’d be laborious for the workforce to maintain Mack. Fortunately, they had been capable of carry him again on a one-year, $2.5 million deal, a steal given his all-around expertise. It’s not the payday he hoped for, however it’s gasoline for the 25-year-old again. Nearly a 12 months faraway from the damage, he’s coming in able to show he can enhance upon his earlier kind.
If Mack can return from his damage equal or higher to his prior state, it offers Indy an unfair benefit within the working recreation.
Marlon Mack will be a superb piece within the Colts’ working again puzzle.
Mack has confirmed that he could be a three-down-back, which is strictly what Indy wants coming into this season. His potential to run inside or out with out sacrificing velocity or expertise makes him such a balanced runner. To not point out his persistence works nicely with an Indy O-Line that mashes individuals upfront to create working lanes.
The Colts haven’t requested him to catch lately, however he can run routes out of the backfield if crucial. He’s displayed his nice receiving skills as a rookie and has been working to enhance as a pass-catcher for the reason that 2020 offseason.
Taylor showcased his immense potential as a rookie, which has Indy and its followers excited to see what’s he can do in 12 months two. There’s positively some recency bias in favor of Taylor, particularly since Mack hasn’t performed in nearly a 12 months. His incredible end to 2020 makes him the projected No. 1 again coming into 2021.
That doesn’t imply Mack gained’t get any shine, although.
If something, two distinctive runners make the Colts’ offense much more potent. A gradual rotation of Mack and Taylor will put on down defenses, making them weak by the fourth quarter. What’s higher is that each backs keep contemporary, lessening the wear and tear and tear they expertise yearly.
Think about the numbers Mack can put up behind a extra skilled Nelson, one other stud again in Taylor, together with new left sort out Eric Fisher when he’s 100% recovered from his personal Achilles tear. The working recreation for Indy has the potential to be the very best it’s been in a very long time.
Hines has confirmed that he can deal with the punishment of working between the tackles, however he’s higher used as a receiver and on particular groups along with his 5-foot-9, 196-pound body. So whereas Mack improves as a receiver, the Colts can nonetheless use Hines out the backfield, solely including extra weapons to their arsenal.
With Carson Wentz becoming a member of Indy, the Colts could need to ease him in through the use of the working recreation usually till he’s mastered the offense. That falls proper into Mack’s playbook, as he is aware of the ground-and-pound fashion Indy likes to make the most of.
General, Mack is a terrific match for the Colts system, given his data and well-rounded skills. There’s little purpose he gained’t present it in 2021.