Indianapolis Colts Football

WITH FLEENER OUT, ALLEN AND SAUNDERS READY TO RISE TO THE OCCASION

Posted by Kevin Bowen on October 31, 2012 – 5:24 pm

The tight end position has been one of the most unique groups on the Colts roster this season.

Tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts started the season with three rookies on the active roster but has seen some change over the course of the season.

Second-year pro Weslye Saunders was signed on Oct. 16 and has seen action in the past two games for the Colts.

Saunders role is expected to expand this week as interim head coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians announced on Wednesday that Coby Fleener will miss Sunday’s game with the Dolphins due to a shoulder injury.

“I think obviously I’m going to have to step in a few spots and everybody just gets bumped up,” Saunders said. “Dwayne (Allen) handles some of the responsibilities that Coby handled and I handle some of the responsibilities that Dwayne handled.”

Last weekend against the Titans, the 270-pound Saunders showed that he can do much more than be a blocker for the Colts offense.

With the Colts marching for a game-tying score, Saunders hauled in an 11-yard catch down to the Titans 17-yard line to continue a drive that resulted in running back Delone Carter’s one-yard touchdown.

“Nobody expects anybody to go down with an injury but being that I was familiar with the offense already and I felt very comfortable with the offense, I was able to make a play, help the team move the chains and we came out with the victory which is the biggest thing,” Saunders said.

Rookie tight end Dwayne Allen will most likely start his eighth straight game for the Colts and has been a steady rock for quarterback Andrew Luck.

Allen and wide receiver Reggie Wayne are the only Colts with more than one touchdown catch after seven games.

“Dwayne’s been great all year and I’m sure he’ll rise up with Fleener out now for the week,” Luck said. “He’ll do a great job. He’s done a great job all year and I know we can count on him.”

For much of the season, Allen has lined up in a variety of positions on the Colts offense and knows the challenge will be difficult this weekend in facing one of the top defensive lines in the NFL.

“Their front four, they’re defense is one of the best defenses we’ve played yet,” Allen said. “We have a huge task on our hands to get ready for, in the run game, in the passing game. They create a lot of problems for us and we’ve got three or four days to get ready for them.”

Following Allen’s senior season at Clemson, he had a decision to make on whether not to return for a fifth season of eligibility (he redshirted in 2008).

As the winner of the John Mackey Award (given to the nation’s top tight end), Allen felt it was time to continue his dream of playing at the highest level.

“Whenever I decided to leave (Clemson) it wasn’t to become a backup tight end in the National Football League,” Allen said. “I felt that I had the talents to be a starter in this league and with Fleener going down and more targets going my way, I’m definitely more than prepared for it.”


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