Indianapolis Colts: The Anthony Gonzalez and Blair White Effect
Not exactly the production the team had expected from its 2007 first-round draft pick.
But when Gonzalez has played, he's been effective, especially in the 2008 season in which he played in all 16 games and racked up over 600 yards and scored four touchdowns. After that season, Colts fans thought Gonzalez would be an integral part of the offense for years to come. And he would have been that had he stayed healthy.
Without question, things are bleak for the Colts right now. After getting trounced by their AFC South rival Houston Texans Week 1, the team did get a bit of good news Thursday. Anthony Gonzalez and Blair White expect to play this Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, according to a report from Indianapolis Star writer Phillip B. Wilson.
It's a shimmer of hope in an otherwise dark, dark time for one of the NFL's most storied franchises of the past decade.
Here's how both Gonzalez and White can contribute to the Colts this week.
10 Hands Are Better Than 6
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Kerry Collins will now have his full complement of Colts weapons.
This offense is most lethal when the quarterback has his choice of targets. While Collins certainly is no Peyton Manning, having these two experienced wideouts will certainly help him when he feels pressure. Undoubtedly, if the Colts choose to go with a five wide receiver set, at least one of those guys will manage to get open.
Adding Gonzalez and White with the proven powerhouses of Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie can do nothing but benefit the receiving corps.
Tom Brady completed passes all over the field to different receivers Monday night as he had a full range of tools at his disposal en route to his 517 passing yards.
Don't expect Collins to put up those kind of numbers, but he should certainly improve.
Blair White Is a Good Safety Valve in the Middle of the Field
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Remember Brandon Stokley? Blair White is a younger version of him.
Last season, as receivers dropped like flies for the Colts, Blair White was called on and stepped up in a big way. He caught 36 passes in 13 games for the Colts, including five touchdown receptions. He mastered a long overlooked key to the Colts' offense: working the middle of the field.
With outside stars like Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon working the sidelines, it leaves the middle of the field wide open.
With the Colts' weak offensive line, Collins will frequently have to step up into the pocket and get rid of the ball. Often times, that means depositing the ball to the receiver in the middle of the field.
Look for Blair White to quickly become one of Collins' best friends this week.
Boosting Team Morale
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The Colts need this.
The team needs something to be positive about. It needs something to look forward to. It needs to have that team cohesion that fans have seen in the last decade.
Gonzalez and White won't put up amazing numbers. Who knows if they'll even record any stats at all Sunday. Austin Collie didn't have a single reception against the Texans. But they will have an impact on the team.
They'll impact how the defense matches up with the Colts. They'll impact how Collins views the field. And they'll impact their teammates emotionally by giving them one tiny bright spot in an otherwise gloomy, gloomy week.