Goss: Time is right for Coby Fleener to give Andrew Luck a lift
By Dick Goss email@example.com November 2, 2013 5:56PM
Denver Broncos v Indianapolis Colts
Updated: December 4, 2013 6:36AM
Coby Fleener played in the stat football playoffs with Joliet Catholic several years ago.
He followed that with an All-America career as a tight end at Stanford, where Andrew Luck was his quarterback.
Luck was drafted first overall by the Indianapolis Colts in 2012. Fleener was the 34th selection, also by the Colts. Some predicted Fleener would flourish early in his NFL career, thanks in part to his relationship with Luck.
Reviews so far have been mixed. Fleener caught 26 passes last season for 281 yards and two touchdowns. This year, he has 22 catches (in 33 targets) for 235 yards and three touchdowns.
The Colts (5-2) reach the midway point in the season this weekend, so he is on pace for about 50 receptions.
It’s an improvement over 2012 and certainly would qualify as a solid second season. But the Colts need him to step up now more than ever. Tight end Dwayne Allen is missing the season after being injured in Week 1 and Reggie Wayne, the most productive NFL receiver the last decade, will not return after injuring a knee in the Colts’ previous game Oct. 20.
Luck needs a go-to receiver or two, and the 6-foot-6 Fleener, who has good speed, is a candidate to assume that role. It will interesting to watch his contributions as the Colts bid for a playoff berth without Wayne.
Around the NFL
After Philadelphia cut tight end Clay Harbor (Dwight, Missouri State) late in camp, he caught on with Jacksonville (0-8) and has 12 receptions for 153 yards and one touchdown. But what the Jaguars reportedly like even more is that Harbor has proved to be a respectable blocker.
Wide receiver Kyle Williams (Plainfield Central, Arizona State) is contributing to the San Francisco 49ers (6-2) in multiple roles. He has 11 receptions for 108 yards seven kickoff returns for a 19.1 average and 12 punt returns for a 5.1 average.
Rob Ninkovich (Lincoln-Way Central, Joliet Junior College, Purdue) is the starting left defensive end for New England (6-2). He has 40 tackles, including 17 solos, and two sacks.
Also contributing are three offensive linemen. Tony Pashos (Lockport, Illinois) is starting at right tackle for Oakland (3-4), Byron Stingily (Romeoville, Joliet Junior College, Louisville) is the No. 2 right tackle for Tennessee (3-4) and Adam Gettis (Lincoln-Way East, Iowa) is the No. 2 right guard for Washington (2-5).
Linebacker Dan Giordano (Lincoln-Way East, Cincinnati) continues on the PUP list (physically unable to perform) at Arizona (4-4).
No attempt to mention all the area products who are playing major college football, but let’s review some statistical highlights so far this season (Saturday’s games not included).
Illinois: Running back Josh Ferguson (Joliet Catholic), 66-361-5.5 average-2 TDs rushing, 25-361-14.4-3 TDs receiving. Quarterback Aaron Bailey (Bolingbrook), 18-84-4.7-3 TDs rushing, 2-of-5 passing.
Northern Illinois: Running back Cameron Stingily (Romeoville), 133-726-5.5-7 TDs rushing. Defensive back Dominque Ware (Plainield North), 21 tackles, 16 solos, 1 interception.
Colorado State: Running back Kapri Bibbs (Plainfield North), 127-767-6.0-12 TDs rushing, 4-34-8.5 receiving.
Southern California: Running back Ty Isaac (Joliet Catholic), 10-57-5.7 rushing.
Eastern Illinois: Defensive back Pete Houlihan (Providence), 39 tackles, 31 solos, 1 interception, 4 breakups. Defensive back Alex McNulty (Bolingbrook), 18 solo tackles, 30 total, 1 for loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery.
Western Illinois: Linebacker Kevin Kintzel (Lincoln-Way West), 52 tackles, 33 solos, 7 for loss, 1.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 5 breakups, 1 forced fumble, 3 fumble recoveries.
Florida: Linebacker Antonio Morrison (Bolingbrook), 39 tackles, 18 solos.
LSU: Center Ethan Pocic (Lemont), second team, has seen some playing time.
Bowling Green: Defensive lineman Zach Colvin (Minooka), 15 tackles, 8 solos.
Buffalo: Linebacker Jake Stockman (Joliet Catholic), 27 tackles, 12 solos, 3.5 for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery.
Harvard: Linebacker Matt Koran (Joliet West), 19 tackles, 6 solos.