Colts' Marlon Mack Too Good To Keep On The Bench
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INDIANAPOLIS – Sparking the only scoring drive for the starting offense so far this preseason?
Drawing a comparison to Jamaal Charles, the NFL’s highest yards per carry rusher of all-time?
Yep, the NFL debut for Marlon Mack was pretty good.
Mack’s 45 rushing yards on five carries in last Saturday’s preseason loss to the Cowboys has made the fourth-round rookie running back the clear bright spot through two weeks of the preseason.
After missing the preseason opener due to a hamstring injury, Mack’s make-you-miss ability was on full display against the Cowboys.
“I thought (Mack) was outstanding,’’ Chuck Pagano said after Mack’s first NFL action. “He’s a slasher, an athletic guy, good vision, good hands and he’s tough. Whether he’s carrying the ball, catching it, protecting on third down, he’s got the size and the toughness to pick up guys, he’s real talented. He’s grown up a lot. He’s so elusive. He breaks tackles. He’s a glider. He reminds you of Jamaal Charles.’
“He’s going to be a heck of a football player.”
Per Pro Football Focus, Mack forced five missed tackles on his seven touches (Mack also had two catches for 14 yards, to go along with the 45 rushing yards).
What Mack put on tape last Saturday is exactly what the Colts were hoping for in complementing their current running back group.
Frank Gore and Robert Turbin bring their own respective traits necessary for success at the running back position.
Durability, trust and the knack for earning tough yards in-between the tackles are a few of the qualities that the Colts need from Gore and Turbin.
But Mack gives the Colts something they’ve longed for at the running back position---a real game breaker.
Last Saturday, Mack’s first two touches went for runs of 10 and 13 yards. He also added a 23-yarder in the third quarter.
How much did the Colts lack big plays from the running back position last year? The team’s 2016 running backs combined for just one run of more than 20 yards.
That had to change.
Hence why Mack was the guy when the Colts selected a running back this past spring.
Mack averaged 6.1 yards per carry across three 1,000-yard seasons at South Florida.
If what Mack showed on Saturday is backed up again in Week Three of the preseason, the Colts will have to incorporate the rookie come regular season time.
The rookie runner gives this Indy offense a different component, one that spark a more plotting run game.
“He’s been impressive,’’ quarterback Scott Tolzien said of Mack. “He’s added a nice element to our offense. He’s got good speed and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with his pass-catching abilities.’’
Here comes the rookie playing time for Mack.