Steichen's preseason finale plan includes starting QB Anthony Richardson

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Rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson will start the Indianapolis Colts' preseason finale Thursday at Philadelphia, coach Shane Steichen said following Tuesday's joint practice with the Eagles.

Richardson, the No. 4 overall pick in April's draft, also started the preseason opener at Buffalo, but sat out last Saturday's victory over Chicago because Steichen thought he had seen enough from the former Florida star during last week's two joint practices against the Bears.

“Yeah, he’ll play on Thursday, and it will be a case by case with a lot of these (starters),” Steichen said. "But a lot of the starters will get some reps.”

Steichen announced last week that Richardson had won the quarterback competition over free agent signee Gardner Minshew and three-year veteran Sam Ehlinger and would start the regular-season opener Sept. 10 against Jacksonville. It's the seventh consecutive season Indy has had a different starter on opening day — a streak they're hoping Richardson can break next season.

Tuesday’s practice ended early after Eagles center Jason Kelce and Colts linebacker Zaire Franklin got into a fight. Steichen spent the previous two seasons as offensive coordinator for Philadelphia coach Nick Sirianni, who was hired away from the Colts.

“Obviously, we don’t want that in practice, we don’t want fighting,” Steichen said. "So, I’ve got to go back, look at it and review it and, hopefully, it’s all on film.”

Richardson's ill-advised third pass at Buffalo was intercepted, but he wound up going 7 of 12 with 67 yards while leading the Colts into Bills territory twice in a solid debut. While Richardson had two up-and-down days against the Bears defense, he still managed to show glimpses of why the Colts wanted him.

The 6-foot-4, 244-pound Richardson dazzled fans with a pre-practice display by effortlessly throwing one 60-yard pass after another as well as his ability to run. He also made some rookie mistakes.

“I’m a competitor and I like to play, but it also opened up my world for me — teaching me how to be more of a leader, a more vocal leader — bringing the energy for the squad if the energy is not there,” he said of not playing last week.

Richardson went 6-7 and completed less than 55% of his throws with the Gators before impressing scouts with what some called the most athletic performance by a quarterback in NFL scouting combine history. Critics question whether he can improve his accuracy at the pro level.

Steichen also acknowledged he was aware of Monday's reports the Colts have given All-Pro running back Jonathan Taylor, the 2021 NFL rushing champ, permission to seek out a trade partner. Steichen declined any further comment.

“Again, those are the reports right now and we’re working through those things,” Steichen said. "Like I said, I’ll refer all those questions to (general manager) Chris Ballard.”

Taylor has been on the Colts' physically unable to perform list since reporting to training camp July 25. He has not participated in any of the team's workouts since undergoing offseason ankle surgery and remains mired in an ugly contract dispute as he enters the final year of his rookie contract.

The former Wisconsin Badgers star has complained publicly about the low value NFL teams have put on running backs in recent years, citing the $10.1 million franchise tag — the lowest number for any position other than kickers or punters.

The 24-year-old Taylor rushed for nearly 3,000 yards over his first two seasons but missed six games last season because of injuries and wound up with 861 yards, an average of 4.5 yards per carry and four TD runs — all career lows.

On Sunday, Steichen said Taylor was expected to travel with the team to Philadelphia.

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