Depending on what Colts beat you are following, there has been pretty much a consensus about one position in particular on the team that appears set going forward. The 2012 NFL Draft yielded two very important weapons for the Colts’ offense, and I’m not talking just about Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton. By all accounts, Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen are having a very good training camp so far, and that’s encouraging for Colts fans.
In Pep Hamilton’s new offensive scheme, Coby Fleener certainly figures to have a bigger role, and that’s being put on display early in camp as he’s catching nearly everything thrown his way. Here is a nice tid-bit from Andrew Mishler’s notes over at Stampede Blue:
“It’s only been two days, but Coby Fleener has had an excellent camp so far. I’ve only counted one drop by him, and that was in tight coverage in the first practice. He’s otherwise been smooth with his routes and consistent with his catches. It looks like Hamilton’s offense him will indeed put him in position to have a bigger role on offense. Luck has targeted him often in routes out of slot, and that’s a credit to how well Fleener is creating separation. He managed to sneak over the middle near the end of practice and catch a pass from Luck cleanly before charging up the sideline for about 40 yards. I can’t wait to see more from a player who a lot of fans were ready to turn into a whipping boy at the end of last season.”
It’s encouraging to hear that Fleener is being worked out of the slot, and the Colts are certainly going to have some fun with that position this year. Not only do I think we’ll see Fleener out in the slot, but you’ll see a lot of T.Y. Hilton, Griff Whalen, LaVon Brazill (when he returns), and even fellow class of 2012 member Dwayne Allen will be doing so.
Another great note from Mishler confirmed what we’ve been hearing this offseason, that Allen is going to be moving all over the offense, including in the slot.
“In less surprising news, Dwayne Allen has been very good. Interestingly enough, he’s also been working out of the slot often in passing tree drills. I’m sure the coaches will put him in position to do damage with his blocking more often, but I also get the feeling that they like him as a move piece. In-line tight end, slot wide receiver, H-back – Allen can do it all. It looks like they’ll use him in that way.”
Allen was somewhat surprisingly the far better rookie TE last year compared to Fleener, and he should be a very valuable piece of the offense going forward. The Colts are going to get him involved everywhere and I’m really excited to see how he can be utilized come time for the games to start. He truly is a complete TE that Pro Football Focus identified back in late May as a “Secret Superstar” for the Colts, and noted that even though he’s not always put up the best numbers, he’s still earned the respect he deserves for being such a great all-around player.
“Coming out of Clemson he had a reputation as a complete tight end. So much so that Allen won the John Mackey award as the NCAA’s best tight end, despite having only the seventh-most receiving yards (590) and second-most touchdowns (eight). He was then lauded as a possible first-round pick when he declared for the draft, but his stock tumbled quickly from there.”
The Colts are expected to utilize these two players much more in their second NFL season, so it’s encouraging to see them off to a great start in the first couple of days of camp.