Colts' Fleener practicing patience during rookie season

Posted Oct. 18, 2012 @ 4:05 p.m.
Posted By Arthur Arkush

Colts rookie TE Coby Fleener is still waiting to score his first NFL touchdown — but he’s getting closer.

In Week Six, Fleener separated in the right corner of the endzone midway through the first quarter, getting his 6-6, 252-pound frame in position for the ball, but QB Andrew Luck overthrew him and the Colts would instead settle for one of their three field goals on the day.

“I’m definitely excited for the first one and, hopefully, a few more after that," Fleener told PFW in a phone interview Oct. 18. “It seems like once you break the initial touchdown barrier, it’s much easier after that. Hopefully, that will play well into our hands.”

Much like Fleener being available when the Colts were on the clock in Round Two of April's draft fell right into GM Ryan Grigson's hands. There was no drama as to what the Colts would do with the first overall pick, selecting Luck, but they certainly turned some heads in drafting Fleener and fellow rookie TE Dwayne Allen in the second and third rounds, respectively. Grigson believed that pairing Luck with his college teammate, Fleener, would give the Colts a prolific and already-familiar QB-TE pairing.

Fleener, who has 17 catches for 181 yards in the first five games, said his chemistry with Luck, specifically when the Colts have gone to the no-huddle, is a big positive.

“I like it as an advantage because Andrew and I have spent a lot of time together and are very familiar with each other," he said. "He’s familiar with how I run routes and I’m familiar with what he is comfortable throwing.”

Fleener had a solid day in the loss to the Jets, catching four passes for 42 yards and nearly breaking free for a long gain that was broken up on a pass-interference penalty by the Jets.

But after being Luck’s go-to receiver at Stanford, he understands he has to be patient before the same scenario can play out with the Colts.

“I came in with the mindset that I was at the bottom of the totem pole; a freshman or rookie starting all over again,” he said.

“I think the biggest surprise (at this level) is that … there is no real weak link that you can point out and say, ‘we’re going to try and get you on him because it’s a touchdown every time.’ It’s one of those things where no matter who you’re going up against, the coverage is going to be tight or the blocking is going to be tough."

As for his assessment of Luck, Fleener said he is not surprised by anything the QB does, but he knows Luck would agree that the team, at 2-3, is not where it needs to be.

“Andrew measures success in wins and losses — not yards or completions — so he would agree with me when I say that we have a lot of work to do yet,” he said.