First Casualty in Colts Packed Wide Receiver Competition

Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post released information from an NFL insider today announcing the Colts’ release of first-year receiver John Matthews.  Fans may remember Matthews from preseason games in 2009.

Frankly, he reminded me a lot of Brandon Stokely physically — wearing #83 made the connection even more obvious.  The Colts gave him a chance because he was the most productive receiver in FCS football in 2008.

[media-credit name="Michael Conroy | AP Photo" align="aligncenter" width="610"][/media-credit]

Indianapolis Colts receiver John Matthews makes a catch during the NFL team's football training camp in Terre Haute, Ind., Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2009.

I made the following observations during preseason last year:

Colts v. Vikings

Seeing another player wearing #83 with his size and quickness was eerie.  His sideline reception was impressive and he seems capable of developing into a real player.  After the release of Roy Hall, Matthews showed the most in the Viking game to replace him in the competition for a potential fifth roster spot at wide receiver.  Matthews is another player I would like to see have a shot returning kicks and punts on special teams.

Colts v. Lions

This is unfortunate to see.  Matthews did all that he was asked to do in the first two preseason games and had the opportunity to solidify his impression with the organization in the Lions game that they should consider keeping him around as the 5th receiver, should the Colts choose to keep five.  With that back-drop, dropping two passes, including one which was deflected into the air for an interception is not encouraging.  He now can probably only hope for a practice squad spot and will need to show more of what he did in games 1 and 2 next week if he hopes to have a shot at even that.

Unfortunate for Matthews, the Colts had a number of things happen since last summer that have made him expendable.  The first is that Collie and Garçon developed into starting-caliber talents.  Second, Taj Smith was more impressive than him last year — and he has been joined by prospects Blair White and Dudley Guice.  If that was not already too much for Matthews to overcome, add Canadian players Sam Giguére — coming into favor with the front office — and Jordan Sisco, and there just is not enough football to go around.

I would not be surprised to find that another team picks him up, continues to develop him, and for him to see some time on the field during the regular season — in some capacity — within the next couple of years.

So long John, we wish you the best.