The Indianapolis Colts went into the 2012 season counting on wide receiver Reggie Wayne. He is the veteran receiver they are counting on to help number one draft pick Andrew Luck make the transition from college quarterback to the NFL. The 12 year veteran out of the University of Miami has not let them down.
After spending the first 10 years of his career playing with a legend in Peyton Manning, Wayne had to suffer through a 2011 season without the only quarterback he ever knew. Manning missed the entire season with a neck injury and Wayne fell below 1,000 yards receiving for the first time since 2003.
There were those who said that at age 33 Wayne might be slowing down. They said that Manning had made him a great receiver and with him gone Wayne would never be as productive. It would not have come as a big surprise if the Colts had decided to let Wayne go. However, Indianapolis knew that they were drafting Luck and did not want him playing without an experienced receiver. The Colts decided to let their other wide receiver, Pierre Garcon, go to the Washington Redskins and keep Wayne.
This has turned out to be the right move. Wayne is leading the NFL in receiving yards, with 835 after eight games. This is an average of more than 100 per game. Wayne has caught 61 passes which puts him on a pace for his third 100 reception season in the last four years. Meanwhile Garcon has only played in three games for the Redskins.
A rookie quarterback like Luck needs a receiver that knows the pro game and can help him out. Wayne has been that guy. Of Luck’s 190 completions, almost a third of them have been to Wayne. Whenever Luck has needed a big first down he has thrown to Wayne. In a week five victory over the Green Bay Packers it was Wayne who caught the winning touchdown pass with 39 seconds to play.
Wayne is proving that a receiver is only as good as his quarterback. When a talent like Manning or Luck is throwing to him Wayne produces. When a Curtis Painter or Dan Orlovsky is he does not, because they can’t get him the ball.
The 2012 season has been a return to greatness for Wayne. With a good quarterback that can get him the ball again he has gotten himself open and been the consistent receiver that Indianapolis has always known him to be. There is no way that Luck would be having the successful season that he is without Wayne.
Wayne has proven that he is still one of the best wide receivers in the NFL and done everything that the Colts have asked of him.