Isaiah McKenzie, a veteran receiver for the Indianapolis Colts, recently commented on the presumed battle between him and rookie Josh Downs.
This offseason, the Indianapolis Colts added two smaller slot receivers. The team signed veteran Isaiah McKenzie in free agency, and drafted Josh Downs in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft. With Michael Pittman Jr. and Alec Pierce as the established top two outside receivers, everyone expects McKenzie and Downs to compete for the WR3 slot spot.
Gregg Rosenthal, in a recent piece for NFL.com, highlighted this as a battle to watch. Rosenthal gave the edge to Downs, projecting him as the starter, saying that the rookie “is a perfect fit for this offense,” and also compared him to Las Vegas Raiders Pro Bowl receiver Hunter Renfrow.
This article, and projected battle, caught the attention of Isaiah McKenzie because he responded to it on Twitter. McKenzie kept things simple, saying, “Josh Downs is an amazing player.”
Isaiah McKenzie calls Josh Downs an amazing player
This is likely McKenzie being a great veteran, and not trying to allow any narratives to form where the players are being pit against each other. Gardner Minshew did something similar when he spoke with the media about competing with Anthony Richardson. Minshew explained that it’s the players’ job to compete everyday so that everyone can get better, but it’s important that they all have great relationships as teammates.
Although Minshew was speaking about the quarterbacks, the same can be said for McKenzie, Downs, and all of the receivers. Additionally, it’s even more feasible for the wideouts to work together in harmony because they are playing a position where they can all get reps and be productive. McKenzie knows that, and he’s likely working to help Downs develop into a good pro as well.
The most important thing is that the Colts have a competent group of weapons to help rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson out. Whoever ends up on the field, they must make sure Indy’s offense is far more productive than it was last season.