Indianapolis, IN - The Colts received more very disappointing injury news today, finding out that their starting tight end Dwayne Allen will have to undergo season ending hip surgery. He had a beautiful 20-yard touchdown catch in Week 1 against the Raiders but went out with a hip injury and will not return this year. They’ve had three starters go down with season-ending injuries, but this one may hurt the most.
Allen was expected to have a huge statistical season, and is a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses. Standing at 6’3″ and weighing 265 pounds, he’s such a big target for second-year quarterback Andrew Luck. When you have a tight end that is that big, but is still able to be faster than linebackers, it’s going to be a tough task to defend him once he gets into the secondary. There are not many defensive backs who are able to go toe to toe with Allen and win.
Following the injury, the Colts are going to need players to step up to fill the void that he leaves. Coby Fleener will become the Colts’ starting tight end, and he had a fairly solid start in Week 2 against the Dolphins. The biggest issue with Fleener is his consistency issues. He’s had a very tough time catching the football throughout his NFL career, but has all the talent in the world. If he’s able to figure things out and become a consistent pass-catcher, he’ll have a big year.
Dominique Jones is the second guy who’s going to need to step up. The Colts run a lot of offensive sets with two tight ends under new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, and Jones will be the guy who will have to step in and become the #2 tight end. Jones is the exact same kind of target as Dwayne Allen is at 6’3″ but also weighing 270 pounds. He’s got solid hands and decent route running ability. He doesn’t have as much speed as either Fleener or Allen, but he’s able to make plays when he gets out in the open field and break some tackles.
Those two guys are going to have major shoes to fill. The Colts are hoping beyond all hope that Coby Fleener finds a way to right the ship from a shaky start to his NFL career, and become the #1 tight end that they need him to be. They need Dominique Jones to become a consistent route runner, and to find creases in the defense to be effective as well. Losing Dwayne Allen is a huge blow to the Colts’ offense, but these two guys are more than capable of filling in for him for the remainder of the season.