It has been a while since the Colts made a move involving backups that really confused me (ok, not really), but they made another one today.
Whalen played in six games for the Colts this year, catching 9 passes for 102 yards. Cunningham, the Colts' seventh round draft choice this year (Mr. Irrelevant), didn't make the team out of training camp but was signed to the practice squad shortly after the season ended.
I like Cunningham. I think he will help the team. The tight ends the team has already are Coby Fleener, Jack Doyle, and Weslye Saunders. Saunders played a terrible game last week, so the fact that the team added a tight end - or that it was Cunningham - shouldn't surprise us. What is surprising, however, is who they released to make room for him.
I have long liked Griff Whalen, and in training camp he was very, very impressive. I watched him everyday, and he impressed me everyday. But since the Colts brought him up to the active roster from the practice squad on October 28, he has been anything but impressive. He hasn't been anything special at all and has showed his limitations by not having the speed to get away from defenders or to create space when running his routes. Still, however - he had the third most receiving yards of any active receiver on the Colts roster, and the next highest total to Griffer's 102 yards is LaVon Brazill with just 20 yards. Granted, he was sixth in receiving yards among active Colts players total when factoring in tight ends and running backs, but still - isn't there someone else below him to cut? Why yes, yes there is.
The other active receivers are T.Y. Hilton, Darrius Heyward-Bey, LaVon Brazill, David Reed, and Da'Rick Rogers. You're telling me every single one of them is better than Griff Whalen? I understand the decision to decrease his playing time (he saw only 26 snaps against the Titans) but to cut him? When David Reed is still on the roster? I just don't get it.
You know how in fantasy football they have those players who you aren't allowed to cut? I'm beginning to think that David Reed is one of those players, but in real life. I can't think of any reason for him to still be on the roster. Not only has he done next to nothing for the offense (1 catch on 1 target for 2 yards), but he has done a ton to hurt the kick return game. Can they not find someone else to put back there and at least take a knee? Because that would be a significant improvement over Reed. I have absolutely no reason for David Reed to be on the team, and I have no defense of Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano to keep him on the team.
You might think, "why all of this discussion over backup receivers?" Here's why - the Colts have no real receiving threat outside of T.Y. Hilton! They need someone to step up, and who has the better chance of helping the offense, Griff Whalen or David Reed? I'd take Griffer, too.
The bottom line is this: it might be Da'Rick Rogers time for this offense. He was activated just days before the Tennessee game and was inactive, but he will have had ten days in between games to work. Since the Colts cut one of Andrew Luck's most productive receivers and one of his best friends, they better have an answer ready to step up. That very well could be Rogers, who (along with LaVon Brazill) will likely see their snaps increase a lot.
Still, however, they could have done that without having to waive Whalen. Oh well, at least David Reed sticks around for another day...