Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Indianapolis Colts [Print without images]

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Allen's return gives Colts multiple options

By Mike Wells

INDIANAPOLIS -- The two-tight end formation was supposed to be a significant part of the Indianapolis Colts' offensive package last season.

Dwayne Allen, the all-around tight end, on one side. Coby Fleener, the pass-catching tight end, on the other side. Both were going to be used in the passing game and also help block for what was supposed to be a power-running game.

But the ability to use Allen and Fleener together ended less than a full game into the 2013 season because Allen suffered a season-ending hip injury.

That left Fleener and a number of different players trying to fill Allen's void.

Jack Doyle. Dominque Jones. Justice Cunningham. Weslye Saunders.

The Colts hope they won't have to do the same thing next season with the tight ends. Allen recently told Colts.com, the team's official website, that he feels like he's “almost to 110 percent” healthy.

“We love using tight ends like everybody else,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “But (Fleener) took a big step in Year 2 and played really good football for us and will continue to do that. Getting Dwayne back, we're going to have great options there. You get that inline blocker in Dwayne but don't forget that Dwayne is a heck of a pass receiver, too. So we can create a bunch of mismatches with those guys and get them out in space and get the matchups that you want. It's going to be a great situation.”

Having Allen back gives offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton the flexibility with different formations. Allen played on the line of scrimmage, off the line of scrimmage and he played in the backfield during his rookie season.

"Pep and those guys do a great job of putting those guys in position to make plays and be successful and try to create the matchups that you want," Pagano said. "You have two guys there that have position flexibility and can do a lot of things for you. We're going to ask (Fleener) to do some of the heavy lifting. Having both those guys in the lineup and having them healthy gives us a lot of flexibility there.”