Colts hope Frank Gore can provide boost to running game

ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) The Indianapolis Colts are hoping Frank Gore can finally get their running game going.

At the very least, there's a good feeling and a sense of confidence in Indy's backfield.

Things are starting to fall into place for an offense that has been inconsistent on the ground in recent years.

''I feel like it's going the right way,'' Daniel ''Boom'' Herron said. ''We made some great moves during the offseason, got some new guys who have come in.''

Things started to turn in a new direction for the Colts when the team waived Trent Richardson and then signed unrestricted free agent Gore in March.

Gore, a five-time Pro Bowl running back, rushed for more than 1,100 yards in each of the past four years while with the San Francisco 49ers.

Adding Gore to the mix has created the most excitement for the running game since the Colts acquired Richardson in 2013.

The midseason trade with Cleveland for Richardson turned out to be a bust, and one that Colts general manager Ryan Grigson has been criticized for making.

Now with Gore, Indy hopes its backfield can give quarterback Andrew Luck the balance he needs.

''We have some great backs and a great O-line,'' Herron said. ''If we can just get the chemistry and everything down, I think we can do some great things.''

Richardson struggled to produce much during his time in Indianapolis and Herron stepped up late last season. Now the fourth-year running back is joined by Gore, along with Vick Ballard and rookie Josh Robinson, whom the Colts selected in the sixth round of this year's draft.

Ballard spent most of the past two years on injured reserve. He tore his Achilles tendon during training camp last year. And after starting in the regular-season opener, Ballard suffered a season-ending knee injury during a drill in practice in 2013.

He missed practice during training camp at Anderson University on Monday after straining his hamstring last week - an injury that doesn't worry Ballard all that much.

''I've been through a torn Achilles and had a knee reconstructed,'' Ballard said. ''So a little muscle strain is nothing but a walk in the park.''

Ballard can still play a big role in the way Indy runs the ball this season. In his rookie season in 2012, he played in all 16 games and started the final 12 that season.
Now he's ready to go this season.

''There's a lot of excitement, but at the same time I want to be smart because I want to be a part of it,'' Ballard said. ''I can't go out there and haul it from day one. I have to take baby steps to get back to playing form.''

Richardson was brought in to lead the way when Ballard went out and the Colts never got a consistent running game going. They only ran for 1,612 yards in 16 games.

Whether Ballard is in the mix much or not, he's confident the Colts have a backfield that can do some good things.

''I feel like anybody you put in can be productive, especially with our offensive line there,'' he said. ''I feel like if one person comes out, we won't miss a beat.''

But there is one common theme. When Gore joined the team it added more balance to the offense.

''We're trying not to be one-dimensional,'' Robinson said. ''Just being able to run and pass. When you include Frank Gore we have a lot of depth on the running depth chart.''

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