Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL Nation [Print without images]

Monday, June 8, 2009
Colts, Manning sorting out No. 3 receiver


Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

INDIANAPOLIS -- The offensive and defensive lines need some sorting out, but the most intriguing competition for a prominent role with the 2009 Indianapolis Colts might be for the No. 3 wide receiver slot.

 
  AP Photo/Michael Conroy
  Pierre Garcon is one candidate for the Colts' No. 3 receiver spot.

The prime candidates: Pierre Garcon, rookie Austin Collie and Roy Hall.

"I've been throwing with them a lot during this offseason," Peyton Manning said. "I try to take them all individually and work with them one-on-one. Sometimes, I think you get out there in a big group session and you throw one route to Pierre and one route to Austin, you get pretty good at a bunch of them instead of trying to master all of the routes. We do these private sessions in the morning. We started it a couple of years ago. I think it really does make a difference. I get really comfortable with the timing on all of them.

"Pierre can really run. He's made big strides since last year. He's made some tough catches so far in the OTAs. Collie is a guy, it's still early, and you're kind of evaluating him and getting a feel for him, but you can tell he knows how to catch the ball. He's caught so many balls in practice. You have Roy Hall who's competing in there, Sam Giguere, who's injured right now, who was making some strides. It's going to be good, healthy competition. I think Taj [Smith] is in there. Competition will be a good thing all the way leading up to the first game of the regular season."

Manning had more to say there about Garcon and Collie than Hall, and the buzz among people who cover the team on a daily basis is that it follows a trend. Generally, players and coaches don't talk about Hall unless specifically asked about him. Maybe we over interpret, but that would seem to suggest he's not at the front of the group.

Garcon catches the ball very well, Hall is the biggest receiver at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds.  Collie seems to be a crafty player -- he's drawn a lot of comparisons to Brandon Stokley.

"Everybody knows the playbook, you've just got to step out and do something great," Garcon said.

Team president Bill Polian said he's confident one from the group will emerge and be the clear-cut No. 3. He doesn't expect any sort of committee, but he doesn't expect a verdict before the team is well into training camp, either.

Reggie Wayne, who trains in Miami and only has been around for a few days, said he doesn't know much about Collie yet. But Garcon and Hall have been asking him a lot of questions and leaning on him as the team looks to sort out the position beyond Wayne and Anthony Gonzalez in the post-Marvin Harrison era.

"We've got something in store for you, you are going to see," Wayne said. "As a receiving corps, I think we are going to surprise a lot of people."