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Burning Questions at the Wide Receiver Position prior to Training Camp

Posted Jul 17, 2013

Intro: Over the next two weeks, Colts.com will run a series profiling the burning questions at each position group heading into training camp. Today’s installment comes at the wide receiver position.


INDIANAPOLIS – While the Colts receiver position continues to evolve over the years (mainly with an influx of speed), one constant remains.

Whether donning his orange gloves or not, the “Reggie, Reggie, Reggie” chants were once again ringing through Lucas Oil Stadium last season with Reggie Wayne turning in yet another Pro Bowl season.

The “smurfs”, Wayne’s term for the Colts younger receivers, contributed significantly in 2012 with the big play ability of T.Y. Hilton leading the way.

A speedy group only got faster this offseason with a former first round pick joining the fray.

What’s in store for the Colts receivers this season…

WHAT CAN REGGIE WAYNE DO FOR AN ENCORE IN 2013?: Wayne turned down other teams in the 2012 offseason and returned to Indianapolis having to learn a new offense and a rookie quarterback.

Lining up all over the Colts offense, Wayne turned in a career year with 106 receptions for 1,355 receiving yards.

The highlight came in the Colts comeback victory over the Packers where Wayne caught 13 passes for 212 yards including the game-winning score with under a minute to play.

With a more balanced offensive attack expected in 2013, No. 87 might not sustain the Pro Bowl numbers he produced in 2012 but there is no doubt that at the age of 34, Wayne has shown no signs of letting up.

One number to watch this season for Wayne is the 1,000-catch mark. Wayne is currently 32 catches shy of 1,000 and he would become just the third player in NFL history to achieve that mark with one team.

HOW DOES DARRIUS HEYWARD-BEY FIT INTO THE COLTS NEW OFFENSE?:
“DHB” certainly has “smurf” speed but he packs it into a 6’2”, 219-pound frame.

His arrival gives the Colts a physical threat that has major yards after catch ability in the open field.



DHB comes to Indy with an established quarterback and a team that is ready to give the five-year veteran his first taste of the NFL playoffs.

WILL T.Y. HILTON CONTINUE HIS KNACK FOR BIG PLAYS?: Similar to Vick Ballard, Hilton found himself among the league’s top rookies despite not hearing his name called until late in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Numerous times last year, the Colts took advantage of favorable matchups for Hilton in the slot and expect the speedster to touch the ball a lot in 2013.

Hilton averaged 17.2 yards per catch in 2012 and also broke the Colts special teams drought with a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown.

The Colts appear to have a pretty formidable top-three receivers, all with complementary skill sets, heading into training camp.

DOES LAVON BRAZILL CHALLENGE FOR PLAYING TIME IN OCTOBER?: The unfortunate news of the offseason at the receiver position came when Brazill was issued a four-game suspension to begin the 2013 season.

Brazill showed flashes in 2012, and continued that during OTAs, of becoming a consistent first-team receiver.

A strong training camp and preseason would go a long ways to keeping Brazill in the rotation once the Seattle game rolls around on Oct. 6.

Another role that Brazill could see the down the road is as a kick returner. Remember Reggie Wayne believes that Brazill was the fastest of all Colts receivers last season.

CAN NATHAN PALMER AND/OR GRIFF WHALEN FIND THEIR WAY ONTO THE FINAL ROSTER?:


It will be a very interesting next two and a half months for these second-year receivers.

With Brazill out for the first month of the season, odds are that Palmer and Whalen will have a pretty good chance to get some reps come September.

Last year, Whalen was sidelined all year with a foot injury but the former undrafted free agent is now back in his college system and was a consistent option for Andrew Luck during OTAs.

The Colts signed Palmer off the 49ers practice squad last September and was on the 53-man roster for the final 13 weeks of the 2012 season.

Perhaps one of the more under-the-radar position battles during training camp will be for the Colts final receiver spots and expect these two to be right in the middle of it.


In case you missed the earlier burning questions entries, click here for a recap on the quarterback position and here for the running back position.


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