Colts Running Back Dorsey Preparing for Increased Role INDIANAPOLIS – As far as DeDe Dorsey sees it, last year was one thing. The Colts’ running game was effective. The players ahead of him were running well. And Dorsey was a rookie learning a new system.
So, not playing on offense all season?
While not Dorsey’s ideal, he said he could handle it.
New season, new story.
Dorsey, after spending last season as the Colts’ third running back, is entering his second NFL season, and is currently participating in summer-school sessions at the team’s practice facility with one goal:
A more high-profile role in one of the NFL’s most potent offenses.
“If I show them that I can operate in this offense, and that I can help, I believe they’ll put me in,” Dorsey said. “We’ll see what happens.”
One thing is certain:
Although Dorsey – who played collegiately at Lindenwood University – has yet to have an NFL carry, Colts personnel officials and coaches believe him capable of an increased role.
“I’m certain that DeDe will be a really good addition to this team,” Colts President Bill Polian said shortly after last month’s NFL Draft. “That isn’t just me. When you talk to the players, the first thing they tell you is, ‘Wow. DeDe Dorsey. Where’d you get him? He’s pretty good. Who’s that 30? Where’d you get him?’’’
Dorsey, after originally signing with the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent, was claimed off waivers by the Colts just before the 2006 season.
He impressed coaches and personnel officials in practice throughout last season, and was active in 17 games, including all four of the Colts’ postseason games.
But throughout last season, the Colts played a two-back system of Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai. Rhodes, then a six-year veteran, rushed for 641 yards and five touchdowns and Addai – the Colts’ first-round selection in the 2006 NFL Draft – led all NFL rookies in rushing with 1,081 yards and seven touchdowns.
Neither Addai nor Rhodes missed a game.
As a result, Dorsey did not get a carry.
“Nobody dreams of watching the games from the sidelines,” Dorsey said, “but last year, that was my role. I was a little behind in the offense, so that set me back, learning the offense. Then, with Dominic and Joe having such great success, why mess that up?
understood all of that. Last year watching, yes, it was hard. But this season, with the off-season workouts and coming up to training camp, hopefully, I can prove to them that I belong on the field as well.”
Dungy said Dorsey went a long way toward proving that last season.
While Dorsey did not play in any games, he played extensively in practice, typically as the scout team running back. During practices, Dungy runs the scout team. He said sometimes a coach can get a feel for when a player will succeed based on practice. Dorsey, Dungy said, played well enough in practice last season to indicate he was such a player – and to indicate that with Rhodes having signed as a free agent with the Oakland Raiders, he can be part of a two-back rotation with Addai.
“We sure think he can,” Dungy said. “We never got to see him run live in a game, but what he did in practice really gives you every indication he can be.”
Said Dorsey, “If you go full speed in practice, that will translate into the game.”
Dorsey said the confidence of Polian and Dungy has given him confidence. He also said that although many outside the organization expressed surprise when the Colts did not select a running back in last April’s NFL Draft, the organization’s belief that he can fill the role matters far more than the opinions of analysts and observers.
“It motivates me, but at the same time, it’s kind of cool flying in under the radar,” Dorsey said. “If the team has this much confidence in me, it doesn’t matter what outside the locker room says.”
But confidence, Dorsey said, isn’t a huge issue, anyway.
At Lindenwood, we was an NAIA All-America selection as a senior, when he rushed for 1,600 yards and 18 touchdowns.
That was his second season at Lindenwood. After transferring from Ottawa (Kan.) Junior College, he was an All-America defensive back as a junior, when he had seven interceptions before switching to running back the last four games of the season.
“Anytime I step on the field, I feel like I’m ready to go and ready to perform,” Dorsey said. “I’m confident whenever I step up to the line.
“The way I feel is if you doubt yourself, you’re not going to have any results. If you have confidence in yourself, and confidence in your ability and go out there and play like it, that’s when you get the big results.”