Josh Downs, the Colts rookie wide receiver, should just keep moving up, according to Reggie Wayne.

Josh Downs, the Colts rookie wide receiver, should just keep moving up, according to Reggie Wayne.

INDIANAPOLIS – On the practice field at Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, any uncertainty that might have followed Josh Downs from Chapel Hill to the Midwest was crushed.

In August.
together with the Chicago Bears on 16 and the Indianapolis Colts.

The third-round pick for their team had previously sparred with his new teammates in practice, but this was unique.
Shared practices are notorious for ratcheting up the competition and intensity.

According to Down, “I thought I had a really strong first day against another team.”.
“I realized then that I was capable of performing this task at a high level.
I think I can be a good player in this league; it might not be this year; it might be next year; who knows.

“I was just competing against those guys to see how I fared.

His labor during boot camp served as a prelude.

Position coach Reggie Wayne said, “I think he’s still a work in progress.”.
“I mean, it’s going to take him some time to get that college smell out of him.

However, things have gone well thus far.
I’m hoping we can simply move forward while his arrow continues to rise.

Downs quickly established himself as a trustworthy player in Shane Steichen’s offense.
In five of the last six games, he has at least five targets, and in all six, he has at least two receptions.

28 receptions, 276 yards, and his first career touchdown – a 2-yarder from Gardner Minshew II – were the totals for last Sunday’s defeat at Jacksonville.
He is second to Michael Pittman Jr. among Colts. (40 receptions, 406 yards, 1 touchdown).

Historical context reveals the extent of Downs’ immediate influence.
In his first six games, running back Nyheim Hines had the most receptions for the Colts with 31, but he has 28 and has the No. 1 most receiving yards (276) among rookie receivers.
3. Alec Pierce (308 last season) and Bill Brooks (352) were the two previous leaders.

In week 5, he contributed significantly to the Colts’ 23-16 victory over Tennessee with six receptions for 97 yards on six targets, including a 38-yarder.

“My expectation was to just come in, compete, see where I stack up, see if I can earn a role on the field and go from there,” said Downs.
“I feel pretty good every week when I’m out there adjusting, competing with other teams, and all that.

“By no means is it easy. This grind is very difficult.

While the proverbial “I belong here” light came on for Downs during the Bears game at Grand Park, the Colts and Wayne had their “Aha!” moment at the NFL Scouting Combine eight months earlier.

Whatever position group was on the Lucas Oil Stadium turf had general manager Chris Ballard’s full attention. Wayne waited for the receivers to enter the field.

“Of course, when receivers go up, I’m super-duper locked in,” he said.

A 5-9, 171-pound slot receiver from North Carolina who had amassed 202 catches for 2,483 yards and 22 touchdowns in 34 games as well as two seasons of 1,000 yards had already been thoroughly researched by him when he first noticed that prospect.

I just remember watching him warm up and seeing his bounce,” Wayne recalled.
“As I was watching his route running, I simply thought that he’d be the ideal fit for our offense.

In a receivers room that also included 2022 second-round pick Pierce, Pittman, the 2020 second-round pick, was without a doubt the team’s leader. But the offseason signing of Parris Campbell with the New York Giants created a sizable gap

We needed that slot guy who understood zones,” Wayne said.
“They had some good guys in the draft that I thought were capable of that, but I believe Josh – just watching his tape over and over and over again .,” I said.
The best fit for that was over and over again.

Wayne spotted a slot receiver who could be useful on option routes against specific defenses.

More of a feel-thing, he said.
“I just think that’s kind of what he did when you watch his tape from college.
That’s already a plus.
He’s also a little guy.
The majority of the little guys are skilled in that.

“Josh understands coverages, that much is true.
When men fresh out of college need coverage lessons, you frequently need to make time for them. But with Josh, that was something I really didn’t have to do. He was aware of coverages, zones, and how to position himself within each.

After the wideouts had finished their drills, Wayne approached Ballard and gave him a glance. They both had picked it up.

Wayne, a graduate of the University of Miami, said: “It almost sounds like we said it at the same time.”.
“Hey, Josh Downs, I said.
Josh Downs, however, I think will be unique.
I don’t particularly like North Carolina players.

“And he concurred.
We brought him in because, fortunately, he was there at the time.

Routes created by Steichen and coordinator Jim Bob Cooter call for a wideout to be in the proper depth at the appropriate moment.
Additionally, depending on the coverage, there are times when the receiver has the choice to change his route.

“We occasionally have the plays where you can break in or out, or maybe sit down,” Cooter said.
Some men perform better on pass routes with fewer options and .ted lines, as they are called in the illustrations.

Josh can essentially do both.
Josh, if you give him a few options on a pass route, he can kind of make the right decision, and the more times you make the right decision, the more likely it is that the quarterback will lean your way or trust you when those kinds of plays are called.

It is encouraging to see how adaptable Downs is and how he can change mid-play.
He has consistently blocked routes and caused damage below.

Anthony Richardson then hit the Tennessee Titans from 38 yards away.

Suddenly, Cooter said, “Shoot, third-and-16.”.
Josh Downs is making a huge play by going over the top and deep.

Naturally, Anthony made a fantastic throw.
If you’re on defense and trying to figure out who this Josh Downs guy is and how to defend him, the more routes he can record showing that he’s getting open, the better. It was really good to see Josh show that versatility just to the defense, right?

Josh did a good job, I’ll say that.
We’ll keep thinking of ways to get the ball to him, and hopefully he’ll keep doing a good job.


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