Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Catching passes is mental for Fleener
By Mike Wells
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts tight end Coby Fleener has used the word "frustrated" in some form or another multiple times during the first three-plus weeks of training camp.
Frustrated about his rookie season. Frustrated about fumbling and later dropping a touchdown pass in the Aug. 11 game against Buffalo. And now Fleener's frustrated over his sprained knee.
The knee problem just adds to the problem that he's been unreliable when it comes to catching the ball.
Fleener has been on the field for 37 plays in two preseason games. He's had two significant drops, a fumble, a play where he didn’t even look for the ball being thrown to him in the middle of the field, a concussion and now a sprained knee in that span.
That’s one bad -- or unfortunate -- play about every six snaps for Fleener if you’re counting at home.
Fleener's play over the past 10 days has made the talk of him being a standout player during the first two weeks of training camp a distant memory -- a way distant memory.
“Enormously frustrating to put it lightly,” the soft-spoken Fleener said. “The only thing you can do is try to learn from your mistakes, work and get better and move on.”
To Fleener’s credit, he’s not running from his problems or giving weak excuses on why he’s struggling.
“I would say in a good majority of cases where you say he probably should have caught that one, yeah, I probably should have caught that one,” the second-year tight end said. “There’s some nuances to it that we see that you guys may not see, but any ball thrown your way you want to catch it.”
The first step for Fleener is to get back on the field.
He suffered a sprained knee against the Giants on Sunday and his status for Saturday’s game against the Cleveland Browns is uncertain.
Once healthy, Fleener has to figure out a way to overcome his case of the drops. He’s too important of a player for the Colts to have these problems. The Colts envision him and Dwayne Allen, who is practicing again after being out with a foot injury, as being one of the best tight end tandems in the league.
The longer Fleener struggles, the longer it’ll take for that happen.
“That’s a good question,” Fleener said when asked about how to mentally block out his struggles. “I think playing professional sports forces you to be mentally tough. You have to be able to put a good play or a bad play behind you and move on to the next one. And really the only way I know how to do that is to work.”
It’s time for Fleener to get to work.