Who knew that this guy was still playing? It was very unexpected, but the New England Patriots got an big contribution from a player that wasn’t ever expected to do much. Yes, wide receiver Austin Collie actually came on the field and made some plays for the Patriots.
Collie was just signed on October 3 and was mostly brought in as depth because of all the injuries to the other Patriots wide receivers. It’s not like Collie is without injury concerns as well. The 27-year-old had missed 22 games in the last three seasons due to multiple concussions and a ruptured patellar tendon. That was why Collie hadn’t already been signed for this season.
He was a healthy scratch against the Cincinnati Bengals because he didn’t know the offense that well. This time, against the New Orleans Saints, Collie was active as the fifth receiver. After wide receiver Danny Amendola went down with a head injury, Collie became the fourth receiver. So when offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels went to four-receiver formations in the final drive of the game, Collie was able to get his first on-field action with the Patriots.
The results were very encouraging. Collie reeled in both of his targets for 24 yards, including a first-down reception on fourth down. He seemed like a natural fit as a slot receiver, running the legendary option route to get open on that fourth down play. Of course, Collie would look like a natural in this offense because quarterback Tom Brady loves to throw to his slot receivers. The slot is what McDaniels’ offense flows through, and it’s what Brady has been comfortable throwing to for years.
Collie is definitely not a solution, as he possesses the same red zone limitations that his friends Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman do. But Collie is nice insurance for both of them and has definitely earned some sort of a role in this offense moving forward.
Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.