When it was announced that Reggie Wayne was going to miss the rest of the 2013 NFL season for the Indianapolis Colts with a torn ACL, everyone knew that the Colts offense was going to change. They were obviously going to stay committed to the run, even with Trent Richardson still carrying the ball ineffectively. However, their passing game felt the immediate effects as well.
One of the most noticeable changes was that young, speedy wide receiver T.Y. Hilton emerged as the leading receiver for the Colts. In the two weeks without Wayne prior to the Colts’ Thursday Night Football matchup with the Tennessee Titans, Hilton was targeted 20 times, catching 14 balls for 251 yards and three scores.
Against the Titans on Thursday, though, Hilton caught double coverage for most of the evening. He still was targeted nine times and caught five balls for 44 yards, but he certainly wasn’t as productive as he has been in recent weeks. With the defense focused on Hilton, tight end Coby Fleener was opened up for another big game.
On the night, Fleener finished with eight catches for 107 yards while being targeted 10 times. He failed to get in the end-zone, but it’s clear that Fleener is now going to be a bigger part in Indy’s offense.
Thursday marks the second consecutive game that Fleener has been targeted 10 times, though he had much more success on Thursday than he did this past Sunday. If Hilton is going to be the number one guy and demand so much defensive attention, Fleener is going to continue to see a big number of targets and should continue to be a big part of this offense. Considering the circumstances the Colts are facing, this is just the beginning of Fleener’s breakout.