ANDERSON, Ind. — Pierre Garcon left the door open a crack when he departed the Indianapolis Colts for the Washington Redskins.
Now it is up to fourth-year pro Austin Collie to kick it down.
Collie’s life with the Colts has been relegated mostly to the slot receiver position, meaning he would line up and work between the tight end and either Garcon or Reggie Wayne. Now he will have a chance to do more.
“Before I was more like the security blanket,” Collie said after Sunday morning’s walk-through. “Now I am going to focus on being able to make the big play down the field. I feel like that means I have a lot more responsibility.”
It’s not that Collie hasn’t had success in the slot. The BYU graduate has played 41 career games but started only 16. Yet he has 172 receptions and
16 touchdown catches. He caught six passes in Super Bowl XLIV. All but one of the scoring strikes came in his first two seasons. With Peyton Manning sidelined last year and the passing game struggling, he caught 54 passes but averaged less than 10 yards per completion.
Now with a lot of new faces on the team, he has a different feel as well as a different role.
“I went from being one of youngest players in the huddle to one of the oldest,” said Collie, who won’t turn 27 until November.
He understands he has been fortunate in his NFL career to first catch passes from Manning and now from highly-touted rookie QB Andrew Luck.
“I have been able to play with a player that most people think is the best ever to play the position,” said Collie. “Now I get Andrew. He is on it pretty good. How quick he is picking up this offense is a tribute to his intelligence. You can just tell that he’s a smart individual.”
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano is pleased with how quickly Luck and Collie have struck a chord.
“It’s nice to see that chemistry start to unfold so quickly,” said Pagano after Sunday’s practice. “He did a nice job today.”