How Reggie Wayne Must Lead Indianapolis Colts in 2012
Wayne led the team last season in receiving yards with a total of 75 receptions for 960 yards. Wayne is easily one of the strongest players on the team as well as a key face of the franchise. He has played for the Colts his entire career, so far, and is a fan favorite.
Wayne saw lower production in touchdowns last season but has really provided for the team in the past years.
In 2012, the Colts will be rebuilding and looking to Wayne to lead the team.
Working with Luck
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
It’s not surprising that Wayne saw a decline in his performance last season. He had been playing with former star quarterback Peyton Manning for his entire career.
After Manning’s unexpected absence from the 2011 season due to his neck injuries, Wayne had to adjust to a different quarterback and a different style of play. And he’s going to have to do that again this season with new rookie quarterback Andrew Luck.
But it looks like Luck is in Indianapolis for the long haul. Now that they’ve had a chance to meet and practice together before the season starts, Wayne and Luck could become a very capable duo.
Wayne will need to take a lot of the initiative in working with the new quarterback and reading his passes. He has put up great numbers in the past seasons.
Wayne must practice rigorously with Luck and get a feel for his style of play in order to perform at the level he has displayed in the past. Hopefully, working with Luck will bring up Wayne’s stats for receptions and first downs.
Scott Boehm/Getty Images
Wayne is going to have to establish some leadership on the offense. A big factor in acclimating Luck to the team, as well as to the pros, will be how much Wayne is able to work with him.
Practicing together and bonding with each other is the best way for Wayne and Luck to build that chemistry on the field. Knowing how the other operates and thinks will be a big advantage when it comes time to make those big plays down the field.
Wayne will need to set the pace at practice and in the upcoming season not only for Luck, but also for the other receivers including Austin Collie, Donnie Avery and rookie Griff Whalen.
Especially now that Pierre Garcon has moved to the Washington Redskins, the need for Wayne to lead the Colts offense is greater than ever.
Using His Popularity
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Holding onto Reggie Wayne for three more years, after he became a free agent at the end of the 2011 season, was a big sigh of relief for the Colts.
Wayne saw great success with Peyton Manning, and the two players really delivered for Indianapolis. Having Wayne on the roster for the next three years will be beneficial for the Colts offense as Luck develops as the starting quarterback.
Wayne is a popular player on the team and with the fans. And he can lead the Colts simply by embracing it. With new players and a new coaching staff, a lot of things are changing for the Colts, but Wayne will be a 12-year veteran—a consistent part of a rebuilding team.
Indianapolis loves Wayne, and he loves them back. He’s not going to want to go out with a record like last year.
With renewed popularity and hopeful rebuilding, Wayne is going to lead the Colts up...because they can only really go up from here.
Reggie Is Ready
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Andrew Luck and Chuck Pagano aside, Wayne is the face of the Colts offense.
The veteran wide receiver has a lot riding on his performance this season. He needs to come out faster, stronger and more confident than last season.
As far as predictions go, Wayne will be a standout player in the NFL this season and will lead the Indianapolis Colts out of their previous 2-14 funk.
The Indianapolis Colts might be a little anxious for the changes this upcoming season, but at least, they still have Wayne leading the rookie herd.
Wayne wants to be in Indianapolis, and the feeling is mutual. The Colts need Wayne to lead the team now more than ever.
Welcome back home Reggie.