As the 2018 NFL season continues to draw closer, the Indianapolis Colts still have a ton of questions surrounding them. It all starts with quarterback Andrew Luck and the shoulder injury that kept him out all of last season, but the Colts also have to figure out which running back will shoulder the bulk of the load in the backfield.
Marlon Mack is currently projected to be the Colts’ starting running back. Indianapolis also has a couple of other young options at the position in rookies Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins. Both of those players could push Mack for some playing time.
New head coach Frank Reich has a lot of work to do in order to get his team into playoff contention. Most don’t think the Colts have a chance this season, but Mack will have a big part to say about their fate in the 2018 season.
2017 Season Review
He showed flashes of big-play potential last season for the Colts. In 14 regular season games that he played in, Mack carried the football 93 times for 358 yards and three touchdowns, while also catching 21 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown, according to ESPN statistics.
Standing in at six-foot and 210 pounds, Mack received a lot of criticism for his size. There are quite a few who don’t think he is big enough to withstand the pressure of being an every-down running back. Despite the criticism, Mack has always found ways to overcome his doubters and prove them wrong.
Last season saw Mack get banged up a few different times. He even had to have offseason surgery. Those things are not going to help get rid of the pressure facing him from the critics who don’t think he can handle the role.
2018 Season Outlook
As for what fans should expect from Mack in 2018, they should see him prove his doubters wrong once again. Indianapolis will have a pass-heavy offense, assuming Luck stays healthy, which will open up the ground game for Mack.
Reich is also known for being extremely crafty with his offense. Mack is not going to be asked to run against a stacked box. He will also be utilized for his abilities as a receiver out of the backfield, which will give him more opportunities to have the ball with space to work.
Mack should have a chance to rack up around 800 rushing yards and 400 receiving yards. There is a chance he could have a bigger season, but Luck is still the focus of the offense.
Indianapolis has a lot of questions, but Mack will answer the running back dilemma immediately to open the season.
Training Camp Projection
Mack will enter training camp as the Colts’ starter and will not relinquish his hold on the job. Indianapolis will see what they need from him and he will have the chance to prove that he is a starting-caliber NFL running back in 2018.