Making the Case for Reggie Wayne as a Legitimate MVP Candidate

Jamal Collier@@JCollierDAnalyst IIINovember 9, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 04: Reggie Wayne #87 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates after making a nine-yard touchdown reception against the Miami Dolphins during the game at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 4, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Statistically, Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne completely disappeared—by his standards—in 2011. His resurgent 2012 campaign proves that he’s been here all along. Wayne’s name deserves to be in the conversation for the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award this year.

Although he’s not going to win it because it’s a quarterback’s award, Wayne should be commended for the job he’s doing as Andrew Luck’s security blanket.

He has caught at least five passes in every game this season, at least seven passes in six of nine and put on a clinic against the Green Bay Packers in Week 4. Wayne caught 13 balls that game on a whopping 20 targets for 212 yards and a touchdown.

He leads the NFL in targets (and did so prior to Thursday night’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars) with 112. He leads the league in receptions (69 at a 61.6-percent conversion rate) and receiving yards (931). Wayne is on-pace for 199 targets, 123 catches, 1,655 yards and five touchdowns.

The pace of his targets and receptions would rank him first among all players’ 2011 totals. His yardage pace would only place him behind the 1,681 yards put up by the Detroit Lions’ Calvin Johnson.

Wayne’s consistency should be recognized as a contributing factor to Luck’s early success. He stayed in Indianapolis to help the Colts rebuild post-Peyton Manning and has been rewarded with passes being thrown his way in bunches.

The rookie has thrown to the veteran at least 10 times in each of seven Colts games this year. Compared to Wayne’s 2011 stat line, this year is a breath of fresh air.

Catching balls from guys like Dan Orlovsky and Curtis Painter last season, he finished with 960 yards and four touchdowns on 75 catches—marking the first time since 2003 that he did not top 1,000 receiving yards.

The Colts were 2-14 that year.

They are now 6-3 and trending upward, thanks in large part to the No. 1 overall pick and his top target.


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