Can Jonathan Taylor Shake Off Last Season’s Slump and Return to His Peak Form?

Will Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts return to his peak form this year?
Armond Feffer/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

2022 was an endless hellscape for a lot of Colts fans. I know we would all like to forget about it and leave it in the review, but we need to talk about it one more time and what it means for Jonathon Taylor’s expectations going into the 2023 season. 

Last Year’s Struggles

The Colts had a lot of problems throughout last season; uncertain QB play, horrid offensive line, and the league finally keyed in on Jonathon Taylor as a major threat. Teams began stacking the box. Opposing defenses felt safe playing the run first because they knew Matt Ryan or Sam Ehlinger or Nick Foles were going to have a hard time finding anyone deeper than 20 yards before the blitz made it through our paper thin offensive line.

As a result, Taylor’s production suffered severely. His production was basically put on life support. After the first game of the season us fans thought we were in another year of Bo Jackson lite in our backfield. He ripped the Texans for 161 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries, averaging 5.2 yards per carry. But that is as good as it would get for a while. After going down big early to Jacksonville the next week, Taylor only saw 9 carries for 54 yards.

Taylor would only cross the century mark once more after Week 1. That was when the team got the Jeff Saturday bump in Week 10 against Las Vegas. Taylor’s mediocre production would end when he got put on IR in December.

Looking Ahead to a Brighter Future

The bright side about Taylor’s lackluster 2022 is that it would be difficult for him to do much worse. Additionally, one new key piece to the offense could open a whole new world for Jonathon Taylor: Anthony Richardson.

Now, I’m not going to get into how explosive Richardson is and how the Colts offense can go from terribly dull to terribly titillating, for better or for worse, that has been talked about by other writers ad nauseam. But what does that mean for Jonathon Taylor? Obviously, a rising tide elevates all boats, but what is specific about our situation going into next season is the threat that Richardson poses with his legs. I see new coach Shane Seichen having a lot of fun with Richardson and Taylor in the backfield. I see a lot of read options in our future, making opposing defenses second guess which extremely hard to tackle player to go after. 

Related: Colts Rookie QB Getting High Praise

If our offensive line can return to the days of old, and Richardson be everything we hope him to be, I see the legend of Jonathon Taylor making his return.

Will he return to the 2,000 yard season he had in 2021? Maybe, but with Richardson taking some carries and taking deep shots down the field that might make it difficult for JT. What is likely, however, is that Taylor will return to be a productive member of this offense and even give us moments as sweet as his 2021 knockout punch against the New England Patriots. 

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