INDIANAPOLIS -- Receivers Da'Rick Rogers, LaVon Brazill and Griff Whalen started slow after Reggie Wayne went down with his torn ACL in Week 7 last season. The trio got better as the season progressed. So much better that they played key parts late in the season, and in Rogers’ case, made a huge catch in their come-from-behind victory against the Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs.
Things could be different for one of the three next season. The return of Wayne and the addition of Hakeem Nicks means Rogers, Brazill or Whalen could be on the outside looking in when the roster is finalized, depending on how many receivers the Colts keep.
“The competition is not getting any weaker at the receiver position,” Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said.
The Colts had as many as six receivers on the active roster for one week -- at Arizona -- last season. There is always the possibility they could go that route again next season, but I don’t really see that happening.
Rogers has the most promise of the three receivers. The Colts were close to signing him after the draft last year, and then tried to trade for him during the preseason before eventually signing him after he was released by the Buffalo Bills.
Rogers’ breakout game came when he had six catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 8. But ask Rogers about his play and he’ll talk about two bad drops. One that would have given the Colts a first down against the Bengals, and another against the New England Patriots in the AFC playoffs. That is how Rogers' operates.
“Da'Rick knows what he has to do to take his game to another level in terms of preparation, in terms of being coachable, in terms of carrying himself like a pro,” Grigson said. “He has the habitat and people around him to make those strides. It’s up to him.”
Brazill was suspended the first four games of last season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He had two catches for 73 yards and two touchdowns against the Patriots.
Whalen has history with quarterback Andrew Luck, as they were teammates and roommates at Stanford. Whalen spent the first part of the season going between the practice squad and active roster. He had seven catches for 80 yards in the regular-season meeting against Kansas City.
“If the coaches didn’t do a great job developing those guys, we don’t go to the playoffs without those guys,” Grigson said. “We don’t.”