Colts: Here’s how Mo Alie-Cox can benefit with returns of Jack Doyle and Trey Burton

Decreased reps for Colts TE Mo Alie-Cox isn’t necessarily a bad thing for him.

Indianapolis Colts starting tight end Jack Doyle is questionable with an ankle injury heading into Week 3 against the New York Jets. After Doyle was hobbled Week 1 and ruled out for Week 2, Mo Alie-Cox stepped up in a big way, hauling in seven passes for 131 yards and providing a steady force as a blocker in the running game.

Fans were excited what he could do as the starter for a second straight week, but Doyle is seemingly on track to play. Regardless of whether he suits up or not, his return is inevitable, as is Trey Burton’s, who is eligible to come off injured reserve on Monday.

That’ll likely mean less playing time for Alie-Cox, but that doesn’t necessarily mean his production will suffer.

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Here’s what Andrew Walker of Colts.com had to say about the situation. Insightful stuff.

I think he’ll still play a huge role as that dependable target at the sticks for Philip Rivers to throw to, but what I think Mo Alie-Cox showed you last week against the Minnesota Vikings is that he can be a vertical threat in the passing game that I don’t think you can really get anywhere else. I wouldn’t be surprised to even see some more 11 personnel calls (one running back, one tight end and three wide receivers) than usual on Sunday in which Alie-Cox is the lone tight end, just to try to feature some of those special abilities he has. So I think Doyle’s return — and Trey Burton’s eventual return — might cut into what you’d get out of Alie-Cox if he was the main tight end, but last Sunday’s performance, in my mind, showed just how important it will be to feed No. 81 much more often moving forward.

At the end of the day, Alie-Cox is still going to get ample reps because of his skills as a blocker. Then, what offensive coordinator Nick Siranni could do is throw the 6-5, 267-pound tight end in to disguise passing plays. With Doyle and Burton healthy, defenses will be expecting to see the run with Alie-Cox in the game. That’s when the play-action pass will open up in a big way.

Plus, formations featuring both Alie-Cox and Doyle will further throw defenses off even more. Both of them can block and receive better than most in the league. This surplus of talent and abilities needs to be used to the offense’s advantage when everybody returns to full strength.

So, while it might look like Alie-Cox’s breakout will halt in its tracks, just expect him to be more heavily involved in a situational manner. The Colts know now he’s a dangerous receiving threat, which is going to open up the field in a multitude of ways if executed properly.