Anybody who has ever been within 100 feet of a computer with Arrowhead Guys on the screen knows that I love Minshew. I believe he’s a low end starter who is being treated like a low end backup by the league and have long advocated for the Chiefs to bring him in as a backup. So it should come as no surprise that I liked the Colts to bring him in.
What is surprising is that I don’t think they should start Minshew.
I really like Anthony Richardson as a prospect. He was my 2nd ranked quarterback in the 2023 draft behind only CJ Stroud. Naturally I of course also was a big fan of the Colts selecting him 4th overall with Stroud off the board. And while I do feel like Minshew is underrated, even I can’t argue that his potential is in the same universe as Richardson’s. Richardson has all of the physical talent in the world, and to my eye he has a very good feel for the game.
The major issue Richardson has is a lack of experience, as evidenced by his mere 393 pass attempts in college. For comparison, Mahomes had 400 pass attempts after 10 games last season.
This is a setup to one of the worst things NFL teams routinely do, sitting their highly drafted rookie behind a crappy veteran. For some reason teams are absolutely convinced that a young player doesn’t learn by going out there and gaining real world experience, but instead by sitting on the bench and watching. This bizarre desire to put that major investment on the bench in favor of losing games with the veteran gets intensified when you start talking about a prospect who’s a “project” like Richardson.
Everything the Colts do this season should be with the sole aim of making sure Richardson has a successful NFL career. With so few snaps of high level football under his belt, what he needs most of all is playing time. And that means starting him even if he struggles. That means starting him even if Minshew is better week 1 (which he might be).
This is what the Bills did with Josh Allen. It’s hard to remember now, but Allen sucked as a rookie. He was absolutely horrible. He improved in his 2nd year, but only to the point where he was playing at a backup level. It wasn’t until his 3rd year where he really came into his own and rewarded the Bills for giving him those 2 seasons of playing experience despite the poor results.
The Colts have to be strong and do the same thing. If they can stick with Richardson through a year or two of struggles, there is every reason to believe he’ll come out of it a quality quarterback they can depend on for years to come. But if they give in to the pressure to play Minshew, they will end up like the 49ers with Trey Lance, another quarterback with little experience coming into the league who was denied the opportunity to gain that experience and thus be a waste of the draft capital spent on him.