by Ray Kuhn
Injuries. That is the theme this week for the Indianapolis Colts’ receiving corps. Andrew Luck has more injured receivers than healthy ones as he enters Week 7.
Luck will be facing the Titans without Philip Dorsett, Donte Moncrief, and Dwayne Allen. Quan Bray has also been placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury leaving Rogers, Devin Street, and recently promoted Tevaun Smith to catch passes along with T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle.
We know that Doyle will continue to be a factor, in the middle of the field and especially in the red zone, as he has been all season, but Luck will need to find some down field options. Hilton will continue to be Luck’s go to option, despite the maintenance days off he continues to receive for his hip injury. So far this season, the hip has not slowed Hilton down as he has 38 receptions for 556 yards and three touchdowns this season.
However, Doyle and Hilton will not receive all of Luck’s attention. That is simply not practical. And the answer to question as to who will essentially be the third, or possible second option, for the Colts is Chester Rogers.
For those of you are not familiar with Rogers, and you are not alone, he is a rookie receiver out of Grambling State who went un-drafted this past spring. While Rogers does bring skill and and a small track record of success so far this season to the table, his biggest assets are his health and experience.
Yes, that might sound a bit odd to note Rogers’ experience when he is a rookie, but he has been with the Colts since this May. Street, who was signed September 21st, and Smith have a great deal less experience with Luck. And Rogers, who has nine receptions for 126 yards this season, has proven he can get the job done.
As injuries began to hit the Colts’ receiving corps, Rogers role has steadily increased each of the past three weeks leading up to last week when he caught four passes for 63 yards. Last season in college, Rogers caught 48 passes for 732 yards while scoring eight touchdowns as he concluded a college career that saw him catch 155 passes in 40 games for 2,257 yards and 17 touchdowns.
The Titans will likely concentrate their efforts on shutting down Hilton, so that should open up opportunities for Rogers. After being targeted six times last week, I would look for Rogers to receive double digit targets this week while also finding the end zone for the first time in his career. Not only is he the last man standing, but he has already proven he is capable (albeit in a small sample size).