Last year, no one was catching more passes than Austin Collie until he took a few devastating hits that led to major concussions and his missing the second half of the season. After lots of time away from the field, while the recent lockout was getting figured out, hopefully it was enough time for Collie to get some healing done. There were many injuries to the Colts receiving corp in 2010, with Dallas Clark and Anthony Gonzalez also missing significant time.
Gonzalez has been on the injured list for the past two seasons, but before that he was a solid third option in a Colts offense that featured Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison. Since then, Harrison has retired and Wayne has become the unquestioned number one, while fourth-year speedster Pierre Garcon has slid into the number two spot, which is more of a part time job because Clark is going to be getting plenty of looks as well. Garcon was off to a slow start this past season but mostly because teams didn’t want to surrender the long bomb to him and veteran quarterback Peyton Manning isn’t afraid to look to other options.
Collie may not have to be a full-time number three option, especially if Gonzalez can stay healthy the whole year; both players are of a similar mold. So a time share wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen, especially if it means both players would be healthy the whole year. The same goes for Clark; Jacob Tamme did a good job filling in last year, catching 67 passes for 631 yards and 5 touchdowns. However the split goes, whether its 60/40 Collie or Gonzalez, there will be plenty of chances and bad matchups for opposing defenses, as they have to worry about Wayne, Garcon, Clark, Collie and Gonzalez.
We also can’t forget about Blair White, who came off the practice squad to help out the team. White didn’t catch many long passes but he was still a consistent option for Manning during an injury-plagued 2010. The truth is, as long as Manning is under center, the receivers are going to produce, but a slow start could become a reality if Manning misses most of training camp this year after off-season neck surgery.