INDIANAPOLIS – After Sunday night's loss to the Patriots, Reggie Wayne wasn't in much of a talking mood.
Wayne did have something to say though to Coby Fleener.
With Wayne and T.Y. Hilton receiving extra attention from the Patriots defense, Fleener was pivotal in the Colts offense trying to keep pace.
Fleener ended the night with seven catches in seven targets for a career-high 144 receiving yards.
That certainly warranted Wayne's attention, and words.
"I told Coby numerous times during the game, 'Great play. Great play.' And even after the game I said, 'You grew up tonight, man. You grew up. You had a great game.' It was the Coby Fleener that we all see in practice show up in the game. A lot of people don't understand his speed and his size and his height. He can be a mismatch. There's no way he shouldn't be listed in the elite group of tight ends," Wayne said on his weekly radio show.
Wayne didn't stop there with his praise for the Colts third-year tight end.
When the Colts took Fleener at the top of the second round during the 2012 NFL Draft, people saw the frame that so many of the game's top tight ends have to create such mismatch problems.
The "basketball" size of 6-6 and 251 pounds was used to the Colts advantage on Sunday night and that's something Wayne doesn't expect to stop anytime soon.
"There's no going back from here. He's growing up," Wayne says of Fleener.
"We've seen this in Coby in spurts. But like I told him, 'There's no going back. There's no going backwards. From here on out, you just set the standard. You just set the table so now everybody is going to expect you to perform this way every week. Coby is to the point now where everything should be going and we believe it is. He showed that the other night."
Against the Patriots, Fleener took advantage of Pep Hamilton splitting him out wide, thus being lined up across a cornerback on several occasions.
Fleener was key in moving drives via chunk plays with some tremendous "hands" catches in traffic and along the sideline.
Chuck Pagano took notice of what Fleener gave the Colts offense last Sunday.
"(Fleener) played big (Sunday). He played physical," Pagano said on his weekly radio show. "He made two of the finest catches that I've seen a tight end make. We had another tight end that we were defending on the other side of the field that was pretty damn good but Coby went up and made some great plays, great catches. It's good to see his production coming through. He's more than capable and now he's just got to keep it there."
With Dwayne Allen missing the first two days of practice this week, Fleener's role on Sunday against the Jaguars could rival that of what we saw in 2013.
The Colts are already down one playmaker for the rest of 2014 so the Fleener seen over the last two weeks is something Pagano hopes is there over the stretch run.
"He's playing at an extremely high level right now, and it's a byproduct of what he's doing on the practice field, what he's doing in the film room," Pagano says.
"He's putting the time in, the necessary time, and he's playing big, playing physical. He's better than he's ever been in the run game, and obviously we see what he can do in the pass game."
A look at Coby Fleener in action!