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Colts Receivers Led the League In Drops Last Season

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According to ProFootballFocus (subscription), Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck suffered from more dropped passes than any other NFL passer:

While last year’s Colts passing offense was no doubt prolific, as Luck threw for 4,761 passing yards and a league-leading 40 touchdowns, there were some missed opportunities that were left on the field.

It wasn’t necessarily a single culprit either, as T.Y. Hilton, Coby Fleener, and Dan “Boom” Herron had notable drops that come to mind. Heck, even the historically sure-handed Reggie Wayne really struggled with drops last season for the first time in his career in what often became a team-wide epidemic for the offense.

For a breakdown of the Colts drops via advanced statistics from ProFootballFocus (PFF), please see the table below:

The total drops of all Colts receivers totaled 40 drops for the regular season. That presumably means that two additional drops also came with backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck at the helm. Wayne is by far the biggest surprise on this list with a team leading 9 drops, as his triceps injury clearly hindered his once-pristine catching ability.

Oct 5, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne (87) tries to make a catch in the end zone against Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith (22) at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Otherwise, Fleener has to work on his consistency, as he was among the NFL leaders in deep drops last season. Hilton really had one bad game with 3 drops against the Bengals in the Wildcard round of the playoffs, but was speculated to be bothered by a lingering hamstring injury. No one else really stood out, except Herron flashed a pair of stone hands in the team’s AFC Championship game blowout loss to the New England Patriots.

With the Colts throwing the ball a lot, they are expected to be in the upper echelon of teams leading in drops. Specifically, Luck threw the 3rd most pass attempts last season with 616 throws, trailing just the Saints Drew Brees (659) and Falcons Matt Ryan (628). Still, many of the drops were simply a matter of concentration and focus, which is something that Colts receivers can clearly work on and improve.

Jun 9, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Andre Johnson (81) catches a pass during minicamp at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

It’s worth noting that the Colts figure to receive an upgrade in their catching ability at their #2 wideout spot in the trade-off between Andre Johnson and last year’s version of Reggie Wayne. Per PFF, while Johnson wasn’t exactly sure-handed himself with 9 drops playing for the Texans last season, his 9.57 drop rate is still better than Wayne’s 12.33.

The Colts receivers can clean up some of their dropped footballs woes; however to me, leading the league in dropped passes last season isn’t overly concerning. With the Colts throwing at such a high volume, there’s expected to be more drops than the average NFL offense.

That being said, younger receivers like Fleener and Hilton can still work on their concentration and focus, and the swap of Johnson for a diminished Wayne should pay dividends for solidifying the team’s sure-handedness going forward.

The Colts will clearly be hoping to convert some of the missed opportunities that were left on the field last season due to drops and thus, be better at sustaining drives and scoring touchdowns.

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