INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle today spoke with reporters via video conference. What did he have to say about his excitement to be involved in run blocking even more in 2020, how he's already built a rapport with new quarterback Philip Rivers and more?
You can catch that entire session above, but here are some top takeaways:
» Doyle completely embraces the challenge of blocking in the run game: Doyle has always been known as a solid blocker at the tight end position, but his services became even more valuable when Frank Reich was hired as the Colts' head coach in 2018. Reich hasn't been shy about his desire for a top-five rushing attack, and last year Indy fell just 1.5 rushing yards per game short of accomplishing that goal, finishing seventh overall.
The Colts have made significant moves this offseason to rightfully earn that top-five rushing distinction in 2020. Not only did they use a second-round pick on Wisconsin All-American running back Jonathan Taylor to create a "1-1" punch with returning starter Marlon Mack, but they also signed former Pro Bowl fullback Roosevelt Nix to a free agent deal; Nix is the Colts' first true fullback on their roster since the 2013 season.
For his part, Doyle is all-in on running the ball as much as possible.
"Having a true fullback, defenses don't see that a lot anymore," Doyle said. "And now they've got to spend time working on that against us, and adds a whole new dimension to our run game."
Doyle is a bit of a throwback when it comes to his all-around ability at the tight end position; most notable players at tight end nowadays are known mostly for their abilities as a pass catcher, but Doyle has carved out a career that's included two Pro Bowl selections by being good at just about everything he's asked to do.
"The first thing I always tell people, especially as a tight end, is want-to — you've gotta wanna do it," Doyle said, when asked what makes a quality blocking tight end. "If you want to do it, you're on the right track, and then you start working on the techniques and getting coached up, and just trying to get better a little bit every day."
» Doyle's enjoyed the opportunity to get to know new quarterback Philip Rivers on and off the field: An Indianapolis native, Doyle has enjoyed getting the opportunity to play pretty much his entire career in his hometown. He was really able to take advantage of that fact earlier this offseason, however, when Rivers and his family officially made the move to Indy.
Doyle and Rivers were able to start working out together and get a head start on building that chemistry heading into training camp and the regular season; now that work is starting to pay off as the team continues ramping up its activity through walkthroughs and practices.
"I guess (it's been) a little bit of a learning curve," Doyle said of working with Rivers. "Not so much when we're just throwing out there on air, but that comes up more (now), even when we've been doing these walkthroughs and we're kind of going a little faster than we normally would in a normal walkthrough.
"Just seeing how he sees a defense, what he wants you to do in certain situations, you just kind of pick his brain in that sense," Doyle continued.
Off the field, Doyle said Rivers' energetic attitude is as advertised.
"What I've been so impressed with is how much he cares about getting to know his teammates," Doyle said. "Not just the offensive guys or guys he's going to be throwing the ball to, or guys that are going to block for me; he's interacting with the defense a ton. And if it's playing cornhole in the locker room or things like that, he just wants to get to know his teammates and wants to be a good teammate. And that's been really cool to see."
» Doyle accomplished his one and only individual goal heading into last season: Doyle is as dependable as they come, but even he couldn't escape the injury bug in 2018. First, he missed five games with a hip injury, and then he suffered a serious kidney injury in Week 12 that required surgery and a two-night stay in the hospital, ending his season.
After getting the all-clear last year, Doyle said he headed into the 2019 season with just one goal in mind.
"It was really my only goal going into the season, was just be available," Doyle recalled today.
Sixteen games later, and a second-career Pro Bowl selection, later, Doyle accomplished that goal. It has helped set up more of a normal offseason and training camp (all COVID-19-related changes aside) this time around.
"I'm ready to go do it again," Doyle said. "You just want to be there for your teammates. Some things are obviously out of your control, but I just want to be out there. I love football, love playing with my team. So yeah, it was a good feeling, and excited to keep moving forward with it."
See some of the best images of Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle.