We all know that the national media often times looks on the surface instead of going in-depth (i.e. OMG no Marvin Harrison! = Colts struggle to make playoffs) with their analysis. In reality, I think Colts fans know that the team has essentially been without Marvin Harrison - at least the sure-fire Hall of Fame version of Marvin Harrison - ever since his knee injury early in the 2007 season.
This is not a knock on Marvin, or a proclamation that Anthony Gonzalez is the second-coming of Jerry Rice. It's just that if I was making a list of the potential question-marks and issues for the Colts entering the 2009 season, "how will they replace Marvin Harrison?" wouldn't crack the top ten. However, that topic seems to be all the national media wants to talk about, outside of Jim Caldwell's new job responsibilities.
In the 2007 Draft, the Colts may have taken the heir-apparent to Harrison in Anthony Gonzalez. A possession receiver that has deceptive speed is an attribute that both Marvin and Gonzalez share. With Harrison's departure, Gonzalez is now the #2 wideout, a spot that was taken by Harrison over the past two seasons. Here are their stats over that time:
2007: 5 games, 20 rec, 247 yds, 12.4 avg, TD
2008: 15 games, 60 rec, 636 yds, 10.6 avg, 5 TD
Totals: 20 games, 80 rec, 883 yds, 11.0 avg, 6 TD
2007: 13 games, 37 rec, 576 yds, 15.6 avg, 3 TD
2008: 16 games, 57 rec, 664 yds, 11.6 avg, 4 TD
Totals: 29 games, 94 rec, 1,240 yds, 13.2 avg, 7 TD
Obviously, you may have to take some of Marvin's numbers (or lack thereof) with a grain of salt because of the injury. However, at least from a production standpoint, it doesn't appear that the Colts will be losing a whole heck of a lot. Throw in the fact that Dallas Clark will often line up in the slot, and the Colts 1-2-3 receiving corps of Reggie/Gonzo/Clark shouldn't skip a beat with the absence of Marvin.
So, forget how the Colts will replace Marvin Harrison - they're already been moving in that direction for almost two full seasons. I'd be much more occupied with the real questions like how the offensive line is going to bounce back after a forgettable and injury-plagued 2008, how the new big bodies at defensive tackle will perform, where Joseph Addai goes from here, can Clint Session and Phillip Wheeler usher in a new, more aggressive Tampa-2 scheme under Larry Coyer, will the Special Teams finally be an asset instead of a detriment, etc.