Star WR Andre Johnson off to slow start with Colts
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Andre Johnson says teams aren’t doing anything out of the ordinary to defend him. The Colts wide receiver just isn’t getting the ball.
After three games, the seven-time Pro Bowler has just seven catches for 51 yards and is coming off his first no-catch game in a decade after last weekend’s 35-33 win at Tennessee.
It was just the second game in Johnson’s career without a reception and the first since a 2005 game against the Titans during his third season with Houston, where Johnson became one of the NFL’s top receivers.
”They mix things up,” he said. ”But I don’t think it’s anything special.”
He led the league in receptions (103) in 2006 and again in 2008 with a career-high 115. He also led the league in receiving yards that year (1,575) and in 2009 with 1,569.
So has the limited attention shocked the veteran receiver?
”No, it hasn’t,” Johnson said. ”In coming to this team, I knew that we had a lot of guys here that can make plays. You just have to wait your time. Your time will come. I’ve had my fair share of being the No. 1 guy, catching eight or nine balls a game and stuff like that. I’ve experienced that for a long time in my career.”
It was the success he had with the Texans that made the offseason move so attractive when the Colts signed Johnson as a free agent in March to give Indy’s offense a boost.
Johnson is Houston’s all-time leading receiver with 1,012 receptions for 13,597 yards and 64 touchdowns in 12 seasons with the team. Fans had high hopes that those numbers would come with Johnson to Indy, and the Colts still believe it will happen – perhaps as early as this Sunday against Jacksonville.
”I have to do a better job of finding ways to get Andre the football and create the matchups that will give us a chance to take advantage of his talents,” Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said. ”He’s working hard and we know that he’s a playmaker. We have a lot of ball ahead of us. He’ll make plays over the course of the season.”
Quarterback Andrew Luck connected with Johnson on a big 37-yard pass in the third quarter last week against the Titans, but lineman Hugh Thornton was called for holding – just one of the woes for an offensive line that has struggled to help Luck be productive.
Luck said it also takes time to get on the same page with a new receiver.
”It’s early, it’s Week 3,” he said. ”Production wise, he still does a great job blocking, running routes. Even if he’s not catching the ball necessarily, that doesn’t mean he’s not doing his job. I think patience. Patience with everything. No worries there by any means.”
On Sunday, though, Johnson could be catching passes from backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. The Colts listed Luck as questionable on Friday after he was limited in practice for the third straight day with a sore right shoulder. Coach Chuck Pagano gave no indication to the extent of Luck’s participation or how much Luck has thrown this week.
Still, Pagano is confident Luck will start against the Jaguars.
”It’s Andrew Luck,” Pagano said. ”If I was going to bet on anybody it would be that guy. Now if he can’t, then he can’t and we’ll deal with that when we have to cross that bridge.”
Notes: Tight end Dwayne Allen (ankle) is listed as questionable, and cornerback Greg Toler (neck) and running back Tyler Varga have been ruled out for Sunday’s game. Cornerbacks Darius Butler (hip) and Vontae Davis (ankle), receiver T.Y. Hilton (knee), linebacker Trent Cole (knee), running back Josh Robinson (back), and offensive guard Hugh Thornton (knee) are probable.