Depth at receiver could be issue for Colts

August, 6, 2013
8/06/13
2:02
PM ET
ANDERSON, Ind. -- What do the numbers seven, 20 and 12 mean for the Indianapolis Colts?

Unfortunately for them, they're not positive numbers.

Those are number of catches -- 12 -- and appearances -- 20 -- by the seven receivers in training camp not named Reggie Wayne, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and T.Y. Hilton.

You can take Heyward-Bey's name out of the mix, which makes those numbers even more alarming, because the former first-round pick is out with a sprained left knee.

An MRI on Heyward-Bey's left knee came back negative, coach Chuck Pagano said Monday. He's day-to-day.

Are the Colts worried? Not yet at least. But there will likely be some uneasiness if Heyward-Bey, who signed with the team in the offseason, is out for an extended period of time, because he's been starting opposite of Wayne during camp.

Pagano looks at Heyward-Bey's absence as an opportunity for others to step up.

"Those guys are taking full advantage of it," the Colts' coach said. "You're talking about guys like Griff Whalen and (Jabin) Sambrano and Nate Palmer. It's a great opporunity for those guys to take advantage of that."

Hilton has slid into the No. 2 spot, and Whalen, who spent last season on the injured reserve list because of a foot injury, will get more reps to build on what has already been a strong training camp for him.

Whalen, a teammate of quarterback Andrew Luck at Stanford, has caught almost every pass that has come his way.

Think Denver's Wes Welker and former Colts receiver Austin Collie, both exceptional slot receivers, when you think about Whalen. He is even wearing No. 17, the same number Collie wore while with the Colts.

"He's reliable," Pagano said. "You can count on him. He knows exactly what to do. He doesn't make mental mistakes. Catches basically everything that is thrown to him."

And the early hype surrounding Whalen's success so far in camp?

"I haven't been paying much attention to it to be honest," he said. "I'm just trying to come out every day and approach it as what I need to do."

Mike Wells

ESPN Indianapolis Colts reporter

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