Every Colts website or blog has done nothing but talk about, argue about, and speculate about Gonzo since his injury. Once the Colts' finished their draft, the conversation has ramped back up about Gonzo.
First off, let me say that Gonzo is both a hard worker and a fan favorite. He's a guy who always plays and always gives his all. You can't buy that kind of effort in most players these days. His first two years as a 3rd option, he responded well and had some big moments for us. He was due for a breakout year in 2009 as the full time #2 starter replacing Marvin Harrison. Instead, a mind boggling injury occurred. He fell to the turf untouched during the first series of the season opener with a knee injury as the play started - out for the year.
In comes a rookie (Collie) that was drafted to fill the #3 role that Gonzo was vacating and essentially another rookie in Garcon. True, he was in his 2nd year, but he never saw any kind of real playing time in games that mattered. Garcon was a late round pick in 2008 that many thought might be a potential statement by the Colts looking to officially replace Marvin Harrison. Unfortunately, Garcon never really saw the light of day in 2008.
The injury to Gonzo was just the icing on the cake to what many pundits claimed was going to be the downfall of the Colts in 2009. Instead, we had 2 guys come out and play their butts off. Collie fit the role that Gonzo had filled in 2008 very effectively, being one of the front runners statistically speaking among rookies. Garcon on the other hand, became the burner that the Colts had truly lacked at the WR position since the 2005 season in my opinion.
Sure, both of these guys had drops, some critical and huge, some not their faults. Ultimately, they stepped into a no-win situation and came out looking like veterans instead of rookies for much of the year.
Now comes the 2010 season and the Colts have a healthy Gonzo. I don't see how the Colts can even attempt to come out and line Gonzo up as a #2 WR. Between the knee injury still not being 100% (or even at 100%, he'll still be leery of it) and the simple fact he hasn't played a game in almost 2 years, it's just not happening. More to the point, Gonzo doesn't have that 2nd gear that Garcon has. Sure, Gonzo is pretty fast in his own right, but he's not going to out run you down the field. Garcon does and it showed up HUGE last year.
Some will comment that Gonzo has the better hands, but better hands doesn't always translate to catches. Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison (2007-2008) and even Dallas Clark last year had very uncharacteristic drops and plays that you kind of went "WTF were you doin!" Yes, Garcon/Collie had some timely drops last year, even some that might have cost us the SB. However, they've also spent virtually every minute since then working out with Peyton Manning. Do you really think that those two aren't out there working on those things? That Peyton isn't working with them, improving on their communication and skill set?
Bottom line here is that both Garcon and Collie will be very improved in 2010. There is no way that Gonzo starts as a #2 WR this year, and possibly ever again for the Colts. I think more realistically is that Gonzo becomes the permanent slot WR, assuming he isn't traded.
Understand, I think Gonzo is a great talent with the Colts, but I think this is a case of where an injury to a player has pushed a good player out of the way for another good player (Montana vs. Young). Am I perhaps rushing to conclusions with Garcon? Perhaps I am, but I feel good about what I see from the kid....