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Can Jonathan Taylor Pick Up the Running Back Slack for the Colts?

Next man up.

That’s got to be the feeling in the Colts front offices these days after Sunday’s season-ending injury to running back Marlon Mack in the team’s loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Colts drafting of running back Jonathan Taylor now looms to maybe be the biggest pickup for the team for the offseason, and no matter how many times you play at best online casinos, no one could have made that prediction even a few weeks ago.

But that is the reality of the situation, as Mack’s torn Achilles is going to keep him sidelined for the rest of 2020, and it’s now up to Taylor and the Colts offensive line to give him a chance to take advantage of it.

“Marlon is beloved in our locker room,” Colts coach Frank Reich said.

“[The team has] such an immense amount of respect and love for this guy. He’s a true Colt. He was looking so good in training camp and even in his few snaps [against the Jaguars]. Very unfortunate and very bad timing for him and his family.”

The first test for Taylor and the Colts run game will not be an easy one, as they go up against a stout Minnesota Vikings defense on Sunday at home in their home opener at Lucas Oil Stadium.

It wouldn’t be a shock to see Taylor go through a bit of a trial by fire, but the running back seems poised and ready for his big chance in the starting spotlight.

“Jonathan is ready,” Reich said Monday.

“He’ll step up and do a great job. … I think it’s a mindset that Jonathan has to come in and just take ownership of the position. We’re still going to rotate guys through, but Jonathan still has to be lead dog and have that mindset and confidence, and I know he’ll do that.”

The Colts run game against the Jaguars in their Sunday loss in Jacksonville saw them rush for less than 100 yards, putting up 88 yards total on 22 carries, nowhere near enough to be long term effective.

If the team is going to be competitive and make an impact in the AFC South, a lot of the momentum is going to have to fall on Taylor, who knows that quickly he won’t have to look over his shoulder at Mack, who is done for the season.

“I think coach Reich has done a great job, not only through training camp, but this started before training camp, making sure that I was up to speed as much as possible,” Taylor said.

“Not being able to have OTAs and not being able to have rookie minicamp, we had to try to do as many meetings as we could and also add on top of that throughout training camp to try to get me up to speed with those vets.”

Let’s see if Taylor’s words ring true on Sunday.

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