The Indianapolis Colts have been searching for a reliable tight end for what seems like a decade.
Eric Ebron had a fantastic 2018 season and gave the organization hope, but was horrendous last season with the Colts.
The signing of free-agent quarterback Philip Rivers could mean that the tight end position is more important now than ever before.
Tight end Jack Doyle could see his volume of targets and his workload increase during the 2020 season.
Could Doyle Be The Answer?
Doyle has been with the Colts since the 2013 season when he was claimed off waiver by Indy.
He didn’t make a significant impact on the team until the 2016 campaign.
Since then, Doyle is a two-time Pro Bowler with a new contract extension as of December of 2019.
He has finished with 40 receptions or more in three of the last four seasons with the Colts.
Doyle finished the 2019 season with 43 receptions, 448 yards, and four touchdowns through 16 games.
He’s not exactly a superstar at the position, but he has been at least league average throughout most of his career.
The good new is, Rivers is in town and things could be trending in a positive direction for Doyle next season.
Phillip Rivers season averages when throwing to TEs since 2007:
114 targets, 82 catches, 986 yards, 9 TDs
cc: Jack Doyle
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) March 17, 2020
Rivers Loves Passing to Tight Ends
Throughout his 16 year career, Rivers has played with many great players.
Gates made the Pro Bowl six times while Rivers was the quarterback alongside him.
Henry hauled in 55 receptions for 652 yards and five touchdowns with Rivers as his quarterback in 2019.
The stats show that Rivers loves to pass towards the tight end position.
Rivers is 38 years old and doesn’t have the same type of arm strength that he once had when he first came up into the league.
There is a good chance that Rivers favors the tight end more than ever since the drop in arm strength has led to more interceptions.
No More Ebron
— NFL (@NFL) March 20, 2020
He finished with 31 receptions, 375 yards, and three touchdowns during his 11 games in Indy last season.
The organization has not added any depth at the position yet, so Doyle is likely going to be asked to step up.
It doesn’t appear Indy plans to add a veteran tight end at this point in free agency.
Doyle is going to be expected to step up and be “the guy” at tight end for the Colts in 2019.
The stats have dipped for Doyle since the 2017 season, but that could be caused by the fact that Ebron was sharing the workload.
Doyle hauled in 80 receptions for 690 yards as the starting tight end in 2017 before Ebron arrived.
The Colts may add depth at tight end through the draft, but Doyle appears to be their starter in 2020.
He’s going to see an increased workload without Ebron in town anymore.
Rivers has shown he loves targeting the tight end position in the past, so that trend should continue in Indy.
This could potentially be the make or break season for Doyle in a Colts uniform.