Colts tight end Coby Fleener has been one of the most interesting players to pay attention to when it comes to fan perception over the past few years, as there is are varying opinions of the job the tight end has done. Regardless of what your opinion is of how Fleener has played, the tight end knows that he needs to get better.
Fleener recently spoke with FOX59's Mike Chappell and noted that his first three years were "up-and-down, up-and-down, but hopefully trending in the right direction." He knows precisely where he needs to get better to keep trending in that right direction, however: "I'm trying to be as consistent as possible. That's been my No. 1 goal."
In his first three years in the league, Fleener has caught 129 passes for 1,663 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 12.9 yards per reception, certainly good numbers for a young player who figures to only get better. He has struggled with drops at times, however, as according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Fleener has dropped 10 passes in his first three years for a drop rate of 7.19. In 2014, his six drops were tied for the fourth-most among all tight ends in the NFL.
"There's stuff that anybody who's watching the game can pick out,'' Fleener told Chappell. "(Dropped passes) are probably the most frustrating because everybody can see them. Your flubs are aired in front of the whole world. Whether you're sitting at a desk all day or whether you're playing football, nobody wants to make the ‘Not Top 10.' Unfortunately I've been there and I'm trying to limit that as much as possible.''
Fleener knows that he needs to limit the dropped passes, as well as other mental mistakes - something that shouldn't be happening at this point in his career, he noted. "This year for me is just about making sure every single play is done correctly," he said. "At this point in my career, there should be no more mental errors. It's easy to say, but hard to do.''
2015 will be a very big season for Fleener, as not only will he be competing for targets more than he has in his first three years considering the loaded receiving talent for the Colts (T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson, Phillip Dorsett, Donte Moncrief, and fellow tight end Dwayne Allen), considering the massive expectations for the team (Super Bowl), and considering the fact that Fleener is entering the final year of his contract. And while the Colts would likely ideally want to bring him back, the contract situations of Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton, Anthony Castonzo, and then the two tight ends in Fleener and Allen make it an uncertainty about who the Colts will bring back. Luck, Hilton, and Castonzo are the priorities, which could leave them with a choice between the two tight ends.
That reality isn't factoring into Fleener's mindset, however. "I'm not worrying about that," he told Chappell. Instead, Fleener is worrying about the things that he can control; namely the mental mistakes, dropped passes, and simply becoming more consistent. And if he can take care of those things, he might not have to worry as much about his contract status next offseason either.