The Colts didn’t keep many longtime members of the franchise around for the 2012 season and those that are still in town are playing new roles this season.
Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis have become outside linebackers in the team’s new 3-4 scheme after spending their careers as defensive ends in a 4-3 look. And on offense, Reggie Wayne is no longer lining up split wide to the left on every single play. Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star reports that Wayne is lining up in the slot, going in motion and catching swing passes out of the backfield in offensive coordinator Bruce Arians’ offense.
Wayne admitted that he initially had a hard time buying what Arians was selling offensively, which makes sense given how well playing in one spot has worked for him over the course of his career. He’s come around as he’s gotten more familiar with the offense, though.
“Unfortunately it comes in year 12, but it’s all good,” Wayne said. “I’m excited about it. I have a little bit more freedom to do some things.”
Theoretically, moving Wayne around the offense could wind up being a good thing as teams won’t be able to just stick one corner on him and then worry about the rest of the offense. Different spots means different defenders and opens the door for mismatches that Wayne will be able to exploit to get open for passes from Andrew Luck.
Whether that happens or not, the change in Wayne’s role is another big sign that it’s a whole new world for the Colts this season.