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Colts rookie QB Anthony Richardson bounces back from rough start in first preseason showing

Anthony Richardson's first preseason action got off to a wobbly start, but the No. 4 overall pick bounced back in the Indianapolis Colts' loss to the Buffalo Bills on Saturday.

The dynamic quarterback got sped up by pressure on his third dropback, sailing a high pass that was intercepted by Bills cornerback Dane Jackson to end the Colts' first drive. There also might have been miscommunication with wideout Isaiah McKenzie on the play.

Richardson settled down on Indy's third drive, looking more decisive, throwing several strikes and showing off his big arm. The rookie dropped a gorgeous deep shot -- 30-plus air yards -- that second-year wide receiver Alec Pierce couldn't corral. It was the type of toss that underscores Richardson's upside. He's at his best on vertical balls. It's the underneath passes that need work.

The rookie QB finished 7 of 12 for 67 yards, the INT, and added two carries for seven yards before being replaced by veteran Gardner Minshew. Minshew immediately got sacked on back-to-back plays to open his first drive. The veteran diced up Bills backups on the next possession, going 6 of 6 for 72 yards, leading Indy to a Jake Funk TD run to close out the first half.

"I thought he had great poise," Colts first-year head coach Shane Steichen said after the game, per WTHR's Dominic Miranda. "Had the early interception, that was my fault. Gotta be better there. Thought he was efficient. Calm in the pocket. Lot of good there."

The Colts know what they have in Minshew, a savvy signal-caller who can avoid pressure and deliver the ball on time. For the rest of the preseason, the question is whether Steichen gives Richardson most of the first-team reps to aid development or leans on the veteran to open Week 1.

"It was fun just playing football again," Richardson said. "The first drive wasn't the best, gotta limit turnovers and not try to be Superman. First experience overall felt like was pretty good."

Richardson's first preseason action mirrored what we've heard out of Colts camp: flashes of potential, but there is work to be done. The rookie's footwork, particularly under pressure, needs development. As we see with many athletic QBs boasting big arms, Richardson doesn't always set his feet well, leading to off-target throws. His misses were generally high, and several were behind intended targets.

The Colts knew when selecting the Florida product that he needed reps. That continues to be the case. Once he settled into the game, Richardson's natural ability flashed. The rest of camp and the preseason will be huge for the 21-year-old's development.

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