INDIANAPOLIS --- Just before the start of the offseason, T.Y. Hilton played in his first Pro Bowl. Then the Colts signed Duron Carter from the CFL. The announcement that Reggie Wayne wouldn't be re-signed came just before the start of free agency when Indianapolis added Andre Johnson. On Wednesday, Ryan Grigson even signed Vincent Brown, adding to the depth at the position. There's been a lot of wide receiver news this offseason, but all the while, wideout Donte Moncrief appears poised for an even bigger second season in the NFL.
"Moncrief has big play ability and we saw him do that," said head coach Chuck Pagano at the NFL Annual Meeting in Arizona in March. "He's going to have more opportunities going forward."
Moncrief's Twitter feed is full of motivational quotes, mixed with excitement and anticipation for the 2015 season:
Be patient indeed, because his head coach agrees. #FeedMoncrief will continue…
"This guy can make plays. He's big. He's fast. He can stretch the defense, all those types of things," said Pagano. "It's a learning process, and he's going to be better in year two than he was in year one. He's going to have more opportunities."
The question is to what extent will Moncrief's production increase. There are a lot of options in the passing game for Andrew Luck, not even factoring in tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener. Moncrief flashed at times in his rookie season, finishing the regular season with a modest 32 receptions, 444 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Look deeper though.
Moncrief played less than ⅓ of the offensive snaps through the first 7 weeks of the season, sometimes less than 10% of the snaps those first seven weeks, accounting for just 9 catches and 103 yards.
Overall, Moncrief played more than 50% of the snaps in just six games (week 8 at Pittsburgh when Reggie Wayne was out & the last five weeks of the season). In those six games, Moncrief accumulated 18 receptions, 301 yards, and all 3 of his TDs.
That's more than 56% of his catches for the year, about 68% of his yards, and 100% of his touchdowns for the season...in just six games, the only games where Moncrief played a majority of the snaps. The picture is getting clearer as to why the 6'2", 221 pound burner is expected to get more opportunities in 2015.
"He's a competitive guy and he's not afraid of any challenge. He's not going to back down from any challenge," said Pagano. "Having said that, that's obviously going to factor in as we move forward, just his mindset. He's a great competitor. He will go back and study all that tape and see what people did to him. He's got such a high ceiling and room for improvement. The sky's the limit for him."
So don't forget about #10 when OTAs and training camp start back up. When the Colts fed Moncrief in 2014, he produced, and it sounds like he's ready to sink his teeth into the offense even more in 2015.