There’s been so much talk about quarterback Philip Rivers and his potential in Indianapolis that we tend to forget about the guys he’ll be throwing the ball to this fall.
It’s no secret that Rivers loves big-bodied wideouts with even bigger catch radii. That’s why Michael Pittman, Jr. figures to make an instant splash in his rookie campaign. But the tight end position has been even more critical to Rivers’ success during his time in San Diego/Los Angeles, thanks in large part to Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry.
The Athletic’s Zak Keefer joined The Ride with JMV to address the Colts’ tight end situation and what Rivers can expect from that group this season.
“Look, they’re losing a good player in Eric Ebron,” Keefer told JMV. “I know that he had a lot of drops and there was some stuff behind the scenes with attitude and demanding the ball that ruffled [some] feathers…but the guy was a mismatch waiting to happen.”
“Let’s not discount the subtraction of Eric Ebron. There was a lot there, but the dude made plays. They don’t have that this year.”
What Rivers does have is a reliable veteran in Jack Doyle, a huge question mark in Trey Burton, and a solid situational plug-in with Mo Alie-Cox.
On Burton: “I think Trey Burton can be a really nice piece. He was good in Philadelphia. But there’s no guarantee there. I don’t know where he is physically. I think he’s very close to being back all the way, but this is a guy that barely got on the field last year due to injuries. And that’s a huge question mark and I’m not ready to say he’s gonna be the next Eric Ebron cuz that’s way too premature.”
On Alie-Cox: “They really, really like Mo Alie-Cox. Like more than they probably should. Mo Alie-Cox deserves a lot of credit for the offensive line’s growth the last couple years. He gets overshadowed, but he does a lot of those blocks himself, too.”
So what’s the big takeaway?
“Rivers had Gates for so long in San Diego and [the Colts] don’t have that kind of player right now,” Keefer said.
The Colts will have to rely on a group effort to get the job done at tight end in 2020. Hopefully the proverbial ‘whole’ can be greater than the sum of its parts.
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