Fleener’s struggles have pushed Allen into spotlight

Authored by Stew Blake on Dec 7, 2012
Fleener’s struggles have pushed Allen into spotlight

Coby Fleener, where have you gone?
After a huge Pro Day, in which the Stanford alum sprinted for an unofficial 4.5 40, many of the already high expectations shot through the roof for the tight end.
A few weeks later, he became the Colts second-round pick.
As of Week 13, Fleener has played in eight games, collecting 248 yards and one touchdown in his rookie campaign.
These are not exactly impressive numbers for a second-round pick that was likened to the great Dallas Clark.
When Fleener’s name was called on draft day, I was as ecstatic as anyone. I wanted Fleener from the beginning, and when Dwayne Allen’s name was called, I was foaming at the mouth—I quickly envisioned an attack that could rival the Patriots two tight end combo.
Also, the Colts had quickly replaced two different skill sets (Clark and Tamme) on the cheap, and had given their new franchise quarterback some chemistry continuation to help him through his first NFL season.
A win for everyone involved.
Fleener has underwhelmed even when he hasn’t been nursing an injury, yet I still think Grigson made the right decision. However, with the embarrassment that has been the Colts’ secondary this year, one name keeps coming to mind: Janoris Jenkins.
The troubled Northern Alabama cornerback was still on the board when Fleener’s name was called. Jeff Fisher, a man that is no stranger to taking shots on football bad boys and who likes his cornerbacks as much as his mustache, grabbed the 24-year-old cornerback.
And so far, the gamble has paid off.
I know, I know. Hindsight is 20-20.
Some people were also calling for the Colts to draft Josh Robinson or Trumaine Johnson in the third round over Allen.
But where would the Colts have been without Allen? Sitting an injured Fleener and searching the waiver wire? It’s likely.
If Allen’s rookie effort is any indication, he may be the most complete and talented tight end that the Colts have ever had. Sure, he’s not Jimmy Graham (not yet), but he’s not exactly Brody Eldridge, either.
When I look at Allen, I see shades of Heath Miller.
He has impressive hands, has proven to be a very difficult matchup for defenses—man or zone—and he can block you into next week.
Anyone remember Clark trying to block James Harrison last season?
I am by no means giving up Fleener or even contemplating the idea that he’s a “bust.” I think he will still be very productive, and last week, he was. Fleener ran a beautiful route and Luck found him for an equally beautiful back shoulder throw.
This is what the Fleener fans had in mind when he was drafted in April.
We’re only 13 weeks into the two tight ends first NFL season, and although Allen has been the better rookie thus far, both of these unique talents could be the start of something special for the Colts’ offense.



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