I bet you clicked that link above and thought you were going to read about how Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen are being under-utilized in the Colts offense didn’t you? Well you’re half right. There is no doubt that both of the Colts stud tight ends haven’t been mixed in the game plan very much over the season. They haven’t been key parts of the offense and that is one reason they are struggling mightily this season. Andrew Luck only has eyes for his wide receivers and that is a big problem. He rarely checks down to the running back and for some reason this season isn’t getting the ball to his tight ends like in years past. That’s what many of us think anyway. Stats show a different side of things.
We all know that both of the tight ends are great weapons to have on this team and I would bet that many of you would hate to see either one go anywhere at the end of this season. Well the way things are playing out so far this season it seems that the needle is tilting in Fleener’s favor of getting a new contract rather than his counterpart Dwayne Allen. It’s no secret that I think Allen is the better of the two in an all-around sense. Fleener has difficulty blocking or picking up blitzes whereas Allen excels at all areas of the offense. He is a great blocker and has great hands. Last season both of these men caught eight touchdowns a piece which is a great stat to see with your tight ends. Fleener had more targets and receptions but Allen was the go-to guy in the red zone and made his receptions count. What’s the ding on Allen then? He has an injury history and has even missed two games this season so there may be some trust issues there if he can stay healthy but I feel he has shown the team that he doesn’t have a problem staying healthy and on the field.
So you’re saying that I have stats that show things in a different light and I thank you for getting me back on point. The answer is yes. This season the stats for both aren’t anything to be proud of really but there seems to be a huge swing in who seems more important. So far this season Coby Fleener has 29 receptions and has been targeted 45 times and has two touchdowns. Allen on the other hand hasn’t had the best season. Allen has been targeted a total of 14 times and has 9 receptions with one touchdown. Hell even rookie wide receiver Phillip Dorsett has more targets than Allen on the season, and that’s taking away the two games that Allen missed due to injury.
It’s almost obvious that Allen isn’t being utilized like he has in past seasons. This season he seems healthy and ready to get things going but he can’t do anything help when he is targeted 14 games over the six games that he has played in this season. Fleener has been targeted the same amount as Andre Johnson has this season. That is understandable as Fleener and Luck have had a great rapport since college but that doesn’t mean Allen isn’t as valuable at the position. I feel this stems from a comment that Allen made to reporters that some took as a dig at Andrew Luck to get him the ball more. I will say that Dwayne Allen has been a positive person on this team since he arrived and comments like that aren’t like him. He probably should have kept that one locked away but it’s out now and I think he is paying for that.
Both tight ends have to be part of the game plan every week as they are great assets and will help free up Hilton, Moncrief and Johnson on a more regular basis than we have seen this season. Rob Chudzinski likes using his tight ends since he was one himself. He knows the value of having one good tight end to use but he has two which is kind of a like a kid in the candy store situation. Pep used them as blockers more than he should have but it was understandable since the offensive line was so shaky. The offensive line seems to have stabilized and now the tight ends can start to get off the line of scrimmage more often. I’m thinking this week we will see both of their targets and receptions go up. I think Chud tries to get them the ball early and often to free up the middle of the field for Hilton and Moncrief to work. If Chud does use the tight ends like we all think he will and Fleener still excels past Allen then at least we would know that Allen probably isn’t as good as we thought or at least not as important. There is still half the season to turn things around. I’m not saying they are going to the Pro Bowl but they both can still turn in respectable seasons. However for Allen I think he will find himself out of football purgatory and back in the mix very soon.