Indy Star writer Mike Chappell interviewed Colts wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez following the release of the Colts official 2010 depth chart. From the interview, it is clear that Gonzalez is disappointed that he was unable to win his starting role back from Pierre Garçon, who replaced him after he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first quarter of the home opener a season ago.
“All I wanted was an opportunity to compete. That’s it. That’s what I was promised. I’m probably not the person to ask, really. Whether a job is open or competition takes place, is something that is determined by coaches, not players.”
Who would not be upset with the outcome? It is clear that NFL players work very hard to make a living and even clearer that players working hard to return from season-ending injuries have job security and their NFL futures riding on the line. It only makes sense that Gonzalez would want to come out of camp as the starter and to feel like the time he had to prove himself was shorter than he would have liked.
Frankly, the Colts decision to keep Gonzalez in a limited role to start the season is not much of a story. The team is regularly cautious with players coming off of injuries and moves them back into heavy workloads slowly. The only strange development with Gonzalez is that he currently listed as the Colts punt returner. Typically, special teams return positions are not the safest positions on the team and Gonzalez did not field a single punt during the preseason.
Regardless, what is certain is that the Colts modify their depth chart throughout each season. Gonzalez will have plenty of opportunities to make an impact and certainly is not locked in a backup role that he is unable to escape. There is little chance that the Colts coaching staff and management will keep him off of the field for large stretches of time if they feel he is the best option.
In fact, Gonzalez could get his first opportunity to spend significant time on the field in this weekend’s game against the Houston Texans. CBS Sports is reporting that Garçon sat out of practice on Monday with an undisclosed injury and is listed as questionable for the Texans game. If Garçon misses any time or is limited in Houston, Gonzalez would step right in and have his shot.
Although Gonzalez missed some time during the summer with hamstring issues, his performance on the field during practices should give fans plenty of reasons to be excited about the coming season. As was reported earlier in the summer, this is the kind of problem team in the NFL would love to have. Right now the Colts have four receivers who are legitimate NFL starters and only three spots on the depth chart that will regularly see the field.
Anthony Gonzalez’s competition with Pierre Garçon for a starting spot on the Indianapolis Colts is hardly over. The Colts will continue to monitor the development of their players in practice and in games. Gonzalez should not get down, should continue working hard, and things will work themselves out. The true starter for the Colts will be known when and if the team reaches the playoffs with all four receivers healthy. The players who start then are the players who “won” the competition for starting spots.