Caldwell on Brown: 'It's a production issue'

It's rare to get an in-house, honest and public assessment of an Indianapolis Colts' player when the outlook isn't great.

The Indianapolis press kind of got one from Jim Caldwell Wednesday when he was asked about Donald Brown. The third-year running back was a first-round pick but is third on the depth chart behind Joseph Addai and rookie Delone Carter.

“Donald’s been working hard. It’s just a matter, and it’s no secret because Donald and I have had conversations and we talk, it’s a production issue,” Caldwell said. “I still think that he’s capable. Donald’s got speed, toughness, and all the things that you are looking for. He’s just got to be a little bit more productive. Now, his opportunity to be productive is, obviously, something that will come. It always does during the course of the season, but he’s just got to be ready for it.

“Right now, he’s playing a lot of special teams for us. Nevertheless, I still think he has the ability, and I still think that before the year is out you’re going to see Donald Brown make a difference for us.”

The Colts surely debated the fate of Brown and even 2010’s first round pick, defensive end Jerry Hughes. Both have come up far short of expectations so far. But the Colts are hardly alone in the NFL in giving their high draft picks every chance to show they belong.

“He’s a professional,” Caldwell said. “It doesn’t mean that he likes it, but, as a matter of fact, he shouldn’t like it. He certainly has to deal with, and he does, in an appropriate way. I also know that he’s chomping at the bit to get an opportunity to prove that he can still do what we think he can do. That is to be a very, very productive guy as a pass receiver, a running back in the backfield, and do whatever else is asked of him in pass protection.”

His draft status helps buy him time, but his clock is ticking. When Addai misses time or Carter misses time, Brown will get some. He’s due to make a better impression.