This off-season's version of Joseph Addai v. Donald Brown is Anthony Gonzalez v. Pierre Garcon. And, much like what happened last year, the end result will likely be that the team will end up with two good players instead of one good and one "OMG HE SUCKS!" player.
But, since people very much want to debate this subject, I'll throw up another article taking about how (from the information I have) Pierre Garcon is very much the starting WR for the Colts, along with Reggie Wayne. Austin Collie is pretty much locked in at slot receiver, while Dallas Clark will play some slot as well. This means former starter, Anthony Gonzalez, is indeed the team's 4th wide receiver on the depth chart as we head into OTAs.
If you remember, back in March, Jim Caldwell joked about using more 4-wide packages in the offense for 2010. You might also remember that, only a month and a half ago, Anthony Gonzalez was still not healthy; slowly recovering from a knee injury he sustained in Week One against the Jaguars:
"We're in a situation we haven't been in since (2004) when we had three receivers over 1,000 yards, Brandon Stokley, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. That was a good group. This group is as talented. As much as we throw the ball, we'll find a place. If they're all healthy and ready to go, we'll find a place. I don't think Gonzalez is quite where he'd like to be, but by the time we get rolling he'll be there.''
Now, before people starting jumping in here again, talking about how my quoting Jim Caldwell is nothing more than me re-stating my "disproved" opinion on Gonzo (rolleyes), I'll just say that I very much want a healthy, happy, and productive Anthony Gonzalez to return to this team in 2010. I am not hoping he is hurt, and thus "proving" my opinion about Garcon as the starter to be correct. My opinion of Garcon is already correct.
Pierre is the starter right now. Anyone who says otherwise simply doesn't know what is going on here.
From everything I've heard, Gonzo is still not 100%. This means the team does not know if he will be ready to run in mini-camp, and there are concerns about his health heading into training camp. Remember, Gonzo's injury was sustained more than eight months ago. He was pretty much week-to-week the whole year, and I believe he had two procedures to try and fix the problem so he could get back on the field. None worked, and he was eventually IRed.
I know that Caldwell's quote suggests the team is optimistic (as they should be), but one of the reasons they don't feel pressured to get Gonzo back out there quickly is because they feel they already have a starter in Garcon. What this tells me is that unless Garcon comes into camp and gets hurt himself, or he simply dogs it and looks horrible, the starting job is his to lose. And in the pecking order of the team, this means Gonzo is WR #4; the primary back-up for both Reggie, Pierre, and Austin.
Now, if we all step back a second and look at the big picture, the canvas presented to us shows this team has probably one of the deepest receiving corps in football. As we all know, when Gonzo is healthy, he's very good. My biggest gripe with him is he tends to get hurt a lot and miss games. Hence, I call him injury prone. If you disagree with that definition, fine. But when he is healthy and running around out there, he is a nightmare to cover. My eyes light up and I get giddy like a sugared-up toddler thinking about the Colts potentially lining up in a a shotgun (empty backfield) with a five WR set utilizing Reggie, Pierre, Austin, Dallas, and Gonzo.
So, instead of having yet another silly "GONZO SUCKS v. PIERRE SUCKS!" debate, let's focus a bit on how a four or five wideout set would benefit the Colts in 2010. The team has invested a lot of picks and money into getting bigger and stronger on the o-line. They also drafted a fullback (or H-Back blocking TE) in Brody Eldridge. This suggests more "power running." However, a five wideout look sounds pretty damn scary to me.
Who would they use this look against? My first thought was "everyone in the division." The Titans, Texans, and Jaguars all have bad secondaries. Do you throw a five wideout look at the Patriots? Do you attack the Chargers with this look? A five wideout package would sure screw-up a team that loves to run 3-4 defense, wouldn't it?