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Comeback Player of the Year Candidate – Anthony Richardson

After an unfortunate end to his rookie season, Anthony Richardson is on a mission to come back better and stronger than ever.

The Indianapolis Colts star rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson is on a comeback mission going into his second year in the league. In an article by ESPN’s Stephen Holder, Anthony Richardson says, “I’ve never waited this long to get back to playing football… I’m just on a mission this year. Once that mission’s complete, then I’ll be good.” The mission is to be back healthy for his team and play to the standard he set for himself.

In 2023, Anthony Richardson was only able to finish one game in his rookie season. His misfortune would continue as he also went down with season-ending shoulder surgery in week five against the Tennessee Titans. Richardson was drafted by a team desperate for a quarterback. Therefore, his season-ending injury and the fact that he struggled to stay healthy in the four games he was able to play was demoralizing. For his second year in the league, though, Anthony Richardson is looking for a comeback. If he can accomplish his mission, he could be a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year.

Why Anthony Richardson Could Be Comeback Player of the Year

He Is on a Mission to Come Back Healthy

During his End-of-Season Press Conference, Anthony Richardson spoke about his injury-laden rookie season and coming back in year two. To paraphrase, Richardson learned the importance of being healthy for his team. His mindset is 100% all steam going into this offseason. In February, Richardson started throwing for the first time since injuring his shoulder last October. Since February, he has continued to progress physically and mentally to be back at full strength in 2024. The key, however, is that he stays healthy once the season starts. The hope would be for him to play all 17 games to silence his critics. It would also instill confidence in his team that he is not injury-prone. If Anthony Richardson can display the same glimpses of brilliance that he displayed during his rookie season and stay healthy, he could be a top candidate for Comeback Player of the Year.  

He Displayed Elite Playmaking Abilities

Due to the unfortunate end to Richardson’s rookie season, it is often easy to overlook the high-powered potential that he showed when he was on the field. Before his injury, Richardson was on his way to making the case that he was the best quarterback taken in the 2023 NFL Draft. He displayed quick edge speed when moving outside the pocket. He displayed better accuracy than people gave him credit for. Also, he showcased his deep ball ability by displaying touch and accuracy to fit the ball into small windows. 

Through four game appearances in 2023, Richardson finished with a pressured catchable pass rate of 56%. This ranked best amongst his fellow rookie quarterbacks. With a clean pocket, his catchable pass rate was 72.6% which was a close second best behind Houston Texans rookie quarterback CJ Stroud. It should also be noted that Richardson’s deep ball accuracy rating (6.0), his under-pressure accuracy rating (7.0), and his red zone accuracy rating (8.3) were all the best among his fellow rookies. 

Keeping in mind that Richardson only started 13 games in college, it is impressive that he was able to accomplish any of these feats at the NFL level. The Colts have certainly found their franchise quarterback for the future. If he can stay healthy in 2024, Anthony Richardson will no doubt be a top candidate for Comeback Player of the Year.

Main Photo: Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar-USA TODAY NETWORK


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