INDIANAPOLIS – The learning process has begun.
There was an impromptu pitch-and-catch session with fellow rookie Josh Downs Thursday night on the parking lot of the team hotel.
There’s carrying around an NFL football just to get the feel of it.
There are occasional chats with coach Shane Steichen between plays during minicamp practice.
There’s mimicking his throwing motion, which has been tweaked by Steichen, whenever he’s not running the offense.
And there’s Anthony Richardson getting acclimated to his new surroundings, to his new home for what the Indianapolis Colts hope is for the next 10, 12, maybe 14 years.
“So, I got drafted Thursday (April 27). I think that Monday it just felt normal,’’ he said prior to Saturday’s rookie minicamp practice at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. “I’m like ‘OK, no more draft, no more people talking. No more politics, anything.
“Just walking around the house, walking around the city. I’m like, ‘OK, it’s life now.’ I’ve just gotta play football and do the right stuff.’’
Soon, he’ll expand his world wider than the nearby Walgreens.
“I really haven’t explored as much. I went to Walgreens to get some stuff,’’ Richardson said with a hearty laugh. “Just focused on diving into the playbook and getting (with) my teammates.
“Not many people recognizing me, yet. It feels good just to walk into Walgreens and grab some deodorant and soap. It just feels good to be here.
“I’m excited to explore more.’’
The Colts can relate. They’re just as excited to explore what they have in Anthony Richardson.
They’ve spent the first two days of rookie minicamp witnessing the unique physical skills up close. The size (6-4, 244 pounds), the lively arm, the legs that can paralyze a defense with their suddenness and acceleration.
On the practice field, Richardson has been as advertised: strong, tight throws with frequent “wow’’ results, balanced by a smattering of errant passes.
Saturday afternoon, he dropped a 50-plus-yard spiral in Kody Case’s hands on a deep post, and missed Downs on a pass that nearly was intercepted.
Steichen’s advice to Richardson as the No. 4 pick in the draft lays the foundation for whatever’s to come?
“All quarterbacks will miss throws,’’ he said, “I mean, it happens all the time. Shoot, just move onto the next play. It’s a next-play mentality.’’
It’s a one-day-at-a-time mentality.
Richardson and the rest of the Colts’ rookie class go through their third minicamp practice Sunday, then by NFL rules are not allowed back at the facility until May 15.
“If I was able to stay, I would definitely stay because I’m so excited to be here and I don’t think I want to leave,’’ Richardson said.
As general manager Chris Ballard noted following the first round of the draft, the Colts selected a Florida quarterback with 13 career starts for “what he can be.
“We drafted him for what we think he can really be in the future.’’
And whatever that future will be is in large part dependent upon how Richardson handles the daily grind. He was given the playbook the day after he was drafted.
“They gave me the basic install so I can get familiar with things, kind of get ahead,’’ he said. “I feel like I’m working through it pretty well, getting familiar with it, accustomed to it.’’
Richardson conceded the Colts’ playbook is bigger than what he had at Florida.
“Decent size,’’ he said with a smile. “It’s bigger, a lot of plays. A lot of weapons out there, so you’ve got to scheme up certain things to get them open and get them the ball.
“It’s pretty lengthy with the play calls and the playbook . . . a good offense. I’m looking forward to it.’’
Each day should represent another step on Richardson’s learning arc. And rest assured, there’s much to learn.
One involves getting comfortable with a staple of Steichen’s offense that wasn’t part of Florida’s scheme.
“The five-step drop out of the gun,’’ Richardson said. “That’s definitely different. I never did that in college. So, constantly repping that and getting better at that.’’
He’s also focused on “speeding up my footwork. They always told me that in college. I have to speed up my footwork. I’m always trying to work on that and get the timing right down with my receivers.’’
It was impossible not to notice Richardson going through throwing motions when tryout quarterbacks Kyle Vantrease or Logan Bonner were taking their reps at practice.
“That’s just getting comfortable,’’ he said. “The new teaching here, and then just working on it, repping it every day because you only get so many limited reps.
“I try to get extra reps. I feel like extra reps will definitely pay off.’’
The extra work actually began before minicamp practice opened Friday.
After rookies went through medical exams and meetings and headed to the team hotel Thursday, Downs sent Richardson a text. The much-hyped third-round pick sought a get-to-know-you meeting with his new quarterback.
“I didn’t think it was crazy,’’ Richardson said. “I went to the equipment room and got a football so I could be accustomed with it, feel it around a little bit. He saw me carrying it around.
“He knew he wanted to work because he’s a dawg. I think we just finished a meeting or something and he texted me, ‘When we get to the hotel, do you want to throw?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, man. I’m down for it.’’’
New quarterback and new wideout played pitch and catch for about 30 minutes on the parking lot.
“Chopped it up and got to know him a little bit,’’ Richardson said.
That was the first step in developing an invaluable rapport.
“Just toss it around, see what he can do, see his range and stuff,’’ Richardson said.
That quickly transferred to the practice field. Despite an occasional hiccup, Richardson frequently targeted Downs with the desired results.
The next step in Richardson’s development occurs May 15 when he returns and starts intermixing with the veterans. They realize the franchise is likely to go only as far as the rookie takes them.
Listen to veteran right guard Quenton Nelson.
“Really excited,’’ he said. “Heard great things about him and his character and the person he is. Seeing his film and things he can do on the field is pretty extraordinary. He dominated the Combine.’’
Nelson, like other veterans, hope Richardson’s arrival stops a quarterback carousel that had spun through Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan following Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement prior to the 2019 season.
“Bouncing from year to year, quarterback to quarterback, it’ll be nice to be able to build something for years to come,’’ Nelson said.
Again, there’s so much room for growth. But so far, so good.
“He’s got a great presence about him,’’ Steichen said. “He’s got a great bounce in his step. He’s always smiling, always got great energy, enthusiastic.
“I think when you have that, I think players around him will feed off it, but it’s been really good to see.’’
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.