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Anthony Richardson stacks 'really solid' practices as rookie QB pushes for Colts' starting gig

NFL training camp performances must be graded on a sliding scale.

For most veterans and well-established players, camp is a time to gear up and work on things they might not have time for when the season starts -- like Patrick Mahomes and his behind-the-back magic.

For certain young players who entered the NFL needing reps under their belt, camp is vital to development. Therefore, we can digest praise and great days from these players with fewer grains of salt than usual (still some salt, just not the whole box).

Indianapolis Colts rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson certainly resides in the latter of these two categories. Entering the NFL, the Florida product owns sky-high skills but lacked game reps and development in college.

According to everyone on the ground this weekend, Richardson shined, especially when getting the starting reps on Sunday.

"I thought he had a heck of a day (Sunday)," Colts head coach Shane Steichen said, via James Boyd of The Athletic. "He was really solid, made some big-time throws. Obviously, the two-minute drive, threw a nice touchdown right there in the end zone and then the two-point play that he ran in. It was pretty good to see."

We're not going to get into unofficial training camp stats, but suffice it to say reporters have pervasively noted that Richardson continues to progress positively throughout camp, including a play-action deep shot in 11-on-11 to wideout Alec Pierce that turned heads on Sunday.

"Shoot, he made a heck of a throw," Steichen said. "It was one-on-one backside, and we had another combination over there, and he snapped back and threw that one-on-one. It was a great throw and a great catch."

Steichen has yet to name a starter for the Colts' first preseason game against Buffalo on Saturday, but it's clear that Richardson is making a push.

"You get repetitions, and you do things more and more, you're going to get more comfortable," Steichen said of the young QB. "I think he's gaining confidence in the system and gaining confidence with his teammates, and when you have that and you have the talent he has, it's usually a good thing."

Even if the Colts start the first preseason game with Gardner Minshew under center, Richardson should get plenty of run early in the preseason. If the battle is remotely close, history tells us the No. 4 overall pick will have the edge to be the Week 1 starter against the Jaguars.

After each practice, quotes and reports emanate from Indy, citing Richardson's improvement. It's becoming too much to ignore.

"Man, honestly, he's just so much more comfortable," linebacker Zaire Franklin said. "(He's) starting to find his rhythm, starting to find that version of his game in this offense at this level, which is great to see. Obviously, mistakes are still there. He's still a young player, but it's just encouraging to see that growth, especially from early on until now."

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