RB Vick Ballard - Free Agent
|5-10, 219||Born: 7-16-1990||College: Mississippi State||Drafted: Round 5, pick 170 (2012)|
2013 Week 1 vs OAK (13 / 63 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / -5 / 0 rec)
The Colts said they were going to ease Ahmad Bradshaw into his workload this season and they weren't lying. It was Vick Ballard who got the start and ultimately the majority of the carries. Finishing the day with 13, specifically 5 on the Colts opening drive, Ballard did what was asked of him. Colts backed up in their territory? Bradshaw would get 3 or 4 yards and give the offense breathing room. He did rather well in pass protection too, something Colts RBs are going to have to be solid in. He averaged 4.8 YPC, significantly better than his career average and he looked really good on his long run of 12 where he showed burst that he usually doesn't. Ballard was the back on their lone goal line opportunity, however it was before Bradshaw had even reached the field. it seems as if these 13 carries will be the most Ballard gets in a game if the Colts are serious about Bradshaw being the lead back in Indy; however Ballard isn't going to be phased completely out due to the injury concern that comes with Ahmad Bradshaw.
2012 Week 1 vs CHI (4 / 6 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Ballard could never really get started in this game, and every time he touched the ball, he was stuffed for minimal gain. His longest carry was just three yards, and he finished the game with four carries for just six yards.
2012 Week 2 vs MIN (6 / 13 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Ballard was used sparingly in the game and only to spell Brown on occasion. He didn't fare any better than Brown did either.
2012 Week 3 vs JAX (5 / 12 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Ballard showed good power, but had the same struggles with the Colts' overmatched offensive line as Donald Brown did. Ballard got two lanes to run through all day and missed one of them. He gained five yards on his first carry to the left, but lost yardage by not finding the better lane over the center. He gained eight yards when the offensive line gave him another avenue on a stretch play. It was definitely Ballard's best run of the day as he powered forward for four more yards after contact. Outside of those two carries however, Ballard was hit in the backfield with nowhere to go any other time he touched the ball.
2012 Week 5 vs GB (6 / 11 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 4 / 0 rec)
Ballard was mostly used as blocker, though he did spell Brown later in the game and had a big run in the fourth quarter which helped set up a Andrew Luck touchdown throw to tight end Dwayne Allen.
2012 Week 6 vs NYJ (8 / 25 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 17 / 0 rec)
After watching the 49ers and Texans gash the Jets' run defense, many were hoping the Colts could follow suit. However, the entire rushing attack had a difficult time gaining yards against a resurgent Jet front seven. Ballard came out with the starters and collected nine yards on his first two carries. The Colts called two runs inside the tackles and Ballard demonstrated the rugged running style that many were waiting to see. Ballard refused to be taken down by the first tackler and kept his feet churning for additional yardage. On Ballard's second series, he took a stretch play left, but tried to dance around tacklers rather than putting his head down and running through them. It's worth noting that Ballard was replaced by Mewelde Moore on third downs. After their first two series, the Colts decided to run a more 'up-tempo' offense, so the bruising Ballard was replaced by the more agile Moore. Ballard did not re-appear until the second half.
2012 Week 7 vs CLE (20 / 84 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 19 / 0 rec)
Ballard's day was mainly a product of the Indianapolis offensive line consistently winning against the unimpressive Browns front seven. Most attempts for Ballard were blocked well with 2-3 yards to be gained before any effort was necessary on the running back's part. Ballard hesitated on a few of his runs, even dancing behind the line of scrimmage, without being pressured by the defense to make a decision. Despite averaging over four yards per rush, the entire game felt like most NFL backs would have fared far better than Ballard in this matchup. Ballard's highlight run came in the closing two minutes to ice the game. Against a stacked box that expected the run, Ballard made a defender miss in the hole for his big gain of the day - 26 yards. As a runner, Delone Carter showed more promise, despite Ballard getting almost twice as much work. While Ballard is the starter right now for the Colts, he needs a good matchup to gain much faith as a fantasy option for a given week while Donald Brown is out. The Colts draw Tennessee next week, another good matchup for Ballard to be starter-worthy during the bye week gauntlet.
2012 Week 8 vs TEN (12 / 55 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 16 / 1 rec)
Ballard had his best game as a professional as the Colts utilized a balanced rushing attack throughout their comeback win against the Titans. Ballard lacks the agility and shiftiness of many backs but makes up for it with patience and vision behind the line. On more than one carry Ballard appeared to correctly time his run to the hole and made it to the line just in time for a seam to open. His best play came on the last play of the game. On the play, Andrew Luck faked a pitch to Ballard before rolling out. Ballard caught a quick swing pass to the left and raced to the end zone, diving across the plane for the game winning score. Titan Kamerion Wimbley appeared to read the play correctly but Ballard cut back across Wimbley's route and accelerated to the end zone, diving backwards near the four yard line and propelling himself to the winning score. The replay assistant challenged the play and upheld the call. The play showed impressive athleticism from Ballard
2012 Week 9 vs MIA (16 / 60 / 0 rush, 6 / 3 / 38 / 0 rec)
With Donald Brown limited due to a knee injury, Ballard let the Colts' rushing attack against the Dolphins. The rookie from Mississippi State carried sixteen times for sixty yards, including a pile-moving nineteen-yard run at the end of the fourth quarter to seal the game for the Colts. Overall, Ballard's running skill set is average at best - he cannot make many defenders miss, his field vision is limited, and he seems to only take what the defense gives him. Against Miami's rock-solid run defense, that was not much - and, given the Colts' predilection for the pass, the run game took a backseat to the Luck-led air attack. Whatever Ballard's shortcomings as a ball carrier, he is impressive in the passing game. Ballard caught three passes for thirty-eight yards on six targets, with the Colts occasionally calling for some fairly long passing routes for Ballard to run. The rookie showcased some appealing open-field speed and is able to get himself open into space, providing Andrew Luck with a steady checkdown option. An ailing Donald Brown and being solid in the passing game translates the RB1 job being Ballard's to lose in Indianapolis.
2012 Week 10 vs JAX (12 / 48 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 11 / 0 rec)
Vick Ballard got a decent workload on Thursday night and was reasonably productive with his carries but the Colts backfield is too crowded right now to isolate any consistent fantasy option. Ballard had less carries than Brown but ran for more yards than Brown, showing he can be the better option for Indianapolis. Ballard ran determined and hard on Thursday, being able to push back Jacksonville defenders who were near the line of scrimmage. Ballard has a short but powerful frame and used to show some tough running up the middle against the Jags. Ballard showed some speed also for the power back as he was able to get to the outside on a stretch play and pick up the first down. The Colts passing game was in form on Thursday and this helped Ballard have more room to work with on the ground. QB Luck checked to a running play often at the line as the Colts were in total control of this game from the start and could afford to run the ball. Ballard is unlikely to be consistently productive for the Colts in this current situation however. Unless he gets significant touches on the goal line, the backfield is too crowded and QB Luck is proving that they almost don't need a running game.
2012 Week 11 vs NE (16 / 72 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 7 / 0 rec)
Having not been given the football on the first three plays of the game, Ballard ran through a huge hole for a 20 yard gain with his first carry. The Colts went straight back to the same play, but the Patriots crashed the line of scrimmage. Balard almost scored the opening touchdown of the game when he hit the line before bouncing outside, but his knee touched down just as he was falling into the endzone. Ballard lost his touchdown on the following play to Delone Carter. Ballard's next carry came on the team's second drive when he made two defenders miss and moved forward for a nine yard gain. Ballard pushed forward again for three yards in a short-yardage situation. The Patriots took a more aggressive approach to Ballard's next two carries, but the Colts then used that aggression against them with a draw play that sent him down the left sideline for a first down. Ballard was proving to be a shifty runner as he repeatedly made defenders miss and found holes in the defense. Ballard was bottled up on the few carries he had in the second half, until he burst through the middle for a 20 yard gain.
2012 Week 12 vs BUF (13 / 41 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Far from spectacular, Ballard was serviceable on Sunday, averaging 3.2 yards per carry with a long of 11. When Ballard wasn't getting hit in the backfield, he showed some nice power and even impressive lateral quicks that led to his longest runs. Just coming out of halftime, Ballard opened the drive putting those very quicks on display. Like he had been for a good portion of the day, Ballard was met just behind the line of scrimmage. However, Ballard was able to avoid the tackle and bounce the run outside and pick up nine yards when he easily could have been dropped for negative yards. Ballard's best was few and far between, however, as he lost 10 carries to Donald Brown and faced what has been a much stiffer Buffalo run defense the past two weeks. Ballard did receive one target in the passing game, coming in the end zone, but the ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage. Ballard nearly made the diving catch, but just couldn't corral it as he hit the ground.
2012 Week 13 vs DET (9 / 41 / 1 rush, 4 / 3 / 21 / 0 rec)
Vick Ballard had decent success rushing the ball against the Lions on Sunday but the workload simply wasn't there to be very productive at the end of the game. Ballard ran with power and momentum that carried him over defenders for yards after initial contact. Ballard managed to get his rushing touchdown thanks to the help of many good blocks by his offensive line. They ran a trap play and sealed off the edges well, which allowed Ballard to run downhill and break a tackle on his way to the endzone for the score. Ballard suffered from a lack of touches as the Colts were forced to throw the ball a lot to keep up with Detroit. Ballard also shared touches with teammate RB Brown who took away some carries and decreased the production for Ballard. Ballard did well to score a touchdown that wasn't a goal line carry but the Colts will almost always throw far more then they rush the ball. Touchdowns are not likely to be a common occurrence as a result and he is a low #2 RB in most match ups.
2012 Week 14 vs TEN (19 / 94 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 10 / 0 rec)
Ballard was steady against the Titans as he handled the bulk of the rushing workload in the absence of Donald Brown. Ballard's longest carry came on a 14 yard rush around the left end. On the play, he secured the ball and showed a good burst in winning the corner. He had similar success on a 13 yard run later in the game. Ballard was quick to hit the hole and ran with a good forward lean throughout the contest. His best runs came outside of the guards as the extra time to hit the line allowed him to get to full speed before first contact. Ballard shows improved vision in his running but lacks the speed necessary to generate lots of extra yardage in the open field. Ballard also had a ten yard reception on third down. On the play, he snuck out of the backfield to the middle of the field for an easy catch from quarterback Andrew Luck. Once again, Ballard was pulled near the goalline for Delone Carter.
2012 Week 15 vs HOU (18 / 105 / 0 rush, 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Ballard had his second solid game in a row. Unfortunately, his success on both interior runs and around the corners did little to stifle the Houston pass rush, leaving the Colts with too many third and long situations. Ballard was also pulled at the goalline for Mewelde Moore, who fumbled with his only carry. Ballard's best runs came on a 19 yard gain and an 8 yard gain on off-guard runs. On both carries Ballard showed excellent burst in securing the ball and hitting the hole quickly before the Texans 3-4 defensive front collapsed the interior. Like Andrew Luck, Ballard was tormented by the Texans in the backfield as he was stopped for a loss five times (three times by JJ Watt). Overall, Ballard showed that he may be the Colts answer at running back. He has good acceleration and what he lacks in agility he makes up for in power, gaining yards after first contact regularly.
2012 Week 16 vs KC (20 / 69 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
On only his second carry for the game, Ballard had a poor fumble. He looked to break into the secondary over left tackle, but lost control of the ball inexplicably. The Colts did recover the ball and Ballard stayed in the game. Ballard struggled constantly with the football as his offensive line gave him next to nothing to work with. He did have his flashes when given a running lane. On second and 10 in the second quarter he burst through a gap over left tackle before evading a tackler or two and pushing his way forward for a first down. Ballard fought forward all day and earned every yard he gained, but his offensive line put too much on the running back for them to be productive. Ballard's best play came at the very end of the game, as he took a sweep outside around the corner for a 13 yard gain and a first down that essentially ended the game.
2012 Week 17 vs HOU (27 / 78 / 1 rush, 3 / 2 / 9 / 0 rec)
Ballard rarely found room to run in this game. A draw play accounted for his best run of the day, and he was often met at or behind the line of scrimmage. Still, he had great stamina that gave him enough juice in his legs to find holes and break tackles on the game-killing fourth quarter drive. Ballard doesn't look like a long-term answer at running back, but he runs with a lot of heart and efficiency, and doesn't make big mistakes.
2012 Week 18 vs BAL (22 / 91 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 3 / 0 rec)
Ballard was a sustaining element to the Colts offense more than most games this season. Indianapolis was within reach of the Ravens on the scoreboard and fed Ballard with regularity until the final minutes of the game. His vision enabled him to spot cutback lanes and break to the outside once past the defensive line. It was Ballard, not Ray Rice on the other side of the field, who was making all the right decisions and, most importantly, securing the football on his carries. In addition to the short passing game, Ballard was a major part of the Colts offense weathering the initial storm of playing a quality opponent on the road. His lateral explosion was more prevalent than at previous times this season. Instead of picking up just the yards that were blocked, Ballard gained additional yards on his own. His longest run of the day, a 24-yarder in the second half, led the offense into field goal range as he broke outside at the second level. Ballard's play down the stretch and especially in this game should entrench him as the de facto starter heading into 2013 for the Colts.