Colts: This is the clearest evidence we have of Mo Alie-Cox supplanting Jack Doyle
Get ready to see more Mo Alie-Cox in the Colts offense.
Remember when fans in Indianapolis were concerned about who would emerge as Philip Rivers’ security blanket in light of the injuries to projected starting tight ends Jack Doyle and Trey Burton at the beginning of the season?
That seems like ages ago after Mo Alie-Cox, who was forced into a prominent role, has quite literally put a stranglehold on the starting job. Through three games, the third-year pro has become one of Rivers’ favorite targets, logging 10 receptions for a team-high 181 yards and a touchdown.
It would have been understandable for Alie-Cox believers to be worried he would end up splitting snaps with Doyle in Week 3 following the veteran’s return from ankle and knee injuries. However, Alie-Cox, the former college basketball star, is clearly well ahead of his running mate in the TE pecking order.
According to Andrew Walker of Colts.com, Doyle — for the first time since Week 15 of the 2015 campaign — didn’t receive a single target as a pass catcher in Sunday’s win over the Jets.
You might counter by saying that Alie-Cox only garnered three targets against New York, but he caught all three of them for 50 yards and a touchdown. Those aren’t mind-boggling stats by any stretch, but the Colts offense wasn’t asked to do much in a game in which the defense outscored their opponent.
Want more evidence that Alie-Cox has supplanted Doyle as the No. 1 tight end? For the second straight week, he earned the top grade at the position from Pro Football Focus. His 93.3 marking for the season is not only the highest of all tight ends, but it’s good for the third-highest grade among all offensive players. As crazy as it sounds, the 27-year-old only trails the likes of Aaron Rodgers (95.6) and Russell Wilson (93.6).
Think about how preposterous that is.
Alie-Cox receiving such high praise from PFF doesn’t just boil down to his proficiency as a pass catcher, either. The 6-foot-5, 267-pound stud has also been one of the NFL’s most dominant run blockers for his position. Through three weeks, he’s earned a 76.3 grade, which is good for the fifth-best in the league, so it’s not like he’s going to lose snaps to Doyle in that regard.
Haven’t bought into the Alie-Cox hype yet? Well, Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni pretty much admitted on Tuesday that the big man is forcing the coaching staff’s hand in featuring him heavily moving forward.
Rolling with the hot hand in Alie-Cox over seniority and experience in Doyle is undoubtedly the right call by the Colts. We’ll refrain from asserting that the VCU product is establishing himself as one of the most well-rounded tight ends in the NFL, but that could certainly change by the time the season is over.
For now, we’ll say that Alie-Cox is one of the league’s biggest surprises through the first three weeks of 2020 and the starting job should be his until he gives Reich and Co. a reason to bench him. Based on his play thus far, we can confidently say that isn’t going to happen.