I want Anthony Richardson to succeed as much as the next Colts fan. There's nothing I would like more than for him to be our franchise quarterback for the next 15-20 years. That's the dream. Which is why I'm saying, PLEASE do not start Anthony Richardson in Week 1.
I've been seeing a lot of great Anthony Richardson PR lately. I love to see it.
Good things are good. But you need to consider the situation at hand. The Colts starting quarterback position is essentially between 2 people: Anthony Richardson & Gardner Minshew. I'm no longer acknowledging Sam Ehlinger as an option, and I hope the Colts aren't either. As far as fun quarterbacks go, the Colts got 2 of them. You're doing great Colts. Good job. You have my full attention.
Everybody agreed when we drafted Anthony Richardson that he was going to be a bit of a project. I don't think anybody has accused him of being a surefire NFL-ready quarterback who's going to make this team a serious contender in year 1. Sure, he has a ton of potential. Hopefully he's going come out of the gate making a bunch of cool as plays that'll make us all say, "Damn, that was a cool ass play." But there's obviously going to be a learning curve.
To be honest, I would probably be in favor of starting Anthony Richardson out of the gate in most situations. Give me a backup quarterback like Mike Glennon, and sure, why not. Let AR spin. But the Colts have one of the few backup quarterbacks who make me nervous. Gardner Minshew makes me nervous. It's not that I think Gardner Minshew has even close to as much potential as Richardson. And it's not that I don't like him. Of course I like him. Everybody likes him. But we know what Gardner Minshew is - a capable backup quarterback. But I'm scared of #MinshewMania.
Look at that guy! Look how likable he is! You can't help be cheer for a guy like that. Not only does he love his dad, but there are so man other weird silly quirks about him that just makes you want to cheer for the guy. For example:
- His name is Garder Minshew II, but there is no Garner Minshew the first. Very strange. Very fun.
- He exercises naked. How bizarre.
- He broke his hand non-throwing hand with a hammer so he could get an extra year of eligibility in college. Fucking legend. Football guy.
- But more importantly, he has a fun mustache
I know that doesn't seem like much, but Minshew is a guy who everyone cheers for. Everyone wants to see him succeed. Especially because of the mustache. People go fucking nuts for mustaches for some reason. Students at Washington State wrote a whole ass song about it.
Here's what I'm afraid of. I'm afraid of Anthony Richardson having a dog shit start to the season. Say he plays the first 5 games and kind of looks like crap. But still the Colts manage to pull out a couple of wins, bringing them to 2-3. Colts fans start thinking, "Damn, this Anthony Richardson guy doesn't look great, but the Colts as a whole are kind of ok. Well… we do have the ever-so-likeable Gardner Minshew on the bench…"
That's when #MinshewMania takes over. That's tough as a rookie quarterback to have this #MinshewMania lore looming over your shoulder. And if there was ever a fan base that was going to go fucking crazy over a quirky backup quarterback with a nice mustache, it's Indianapolis. Indiana is the home of Ron Swanson. Again.. people fucking love mustaches.
If you start Anthony Richardson Week 1, and he starts out slow, this idea of Gardner Minshew and #MinshewMania becomes a whole thing. Nobody has really seen Minshew play in a while, but we all have these memories of him electrifying Jacksonville, and hugging his dad in Philadelphia, and having a mustache, and all that fun shit. That's when fans start to think, "Gardner Minshew might actually great. We love Gardner Minshew. Minshew Mania. Why don't we? He might be the game manager that the Colts need to make a playoff run. I'd love to buy a fake mustache, headband, aviators, and bring a giant #MinshewMania sign to the game."
You can't bench your brand-new franchise quarterback after the first half of his first season, and have your fan base salivate over this charismatic, eccentric quarterback. That can't be good for Richardson's mentals. I'd like to think the Colts wouldn't do that to him, but I just have this image of #MinshewMania taking over Indianapolis when the new guy isn't performing up to their liking. It scares me. Don't forget how stupid fans can be.
But if you start Gardner Minshew for the first half of the season (which is what they should do), that curbs all this. Water always finds it's level. If you let Minshew play for 8 weeks, then the Indianapolis fans will see what we already know, which is that he's an average quarterback. This pipe dream of Gardner Minshew overcoming all odd and leading the Colts to the promise land no longer exists. Let Colts fans get #MinshewMania out of their system early. That's when you bring in Anthony Richardson. You can't hang the idea of #MinshewMania over the head of your brand-new rookie-project quarterback. That's not fair to him. I know he's looked great recently. He hit all the god damn targets in mini-camp. But it's a marathon not a sprint.
Just do the responsible thing. Start Gardner Minshew. Let Richardson watch and learn from the sidelines for half the season. Then when the colts are 3-7, bring him in for the second half of the season, let him make some cool plays, and get him ready for next year. That's the smart thing to do. Do that Jim Irsay. Please.