INDIANAPOLIS -- Speed on the outside at receiver shouldn't be a problem for the Indianapolis Colts because they've got T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief. What they need -- and missed at the end of last season -- is an underneath receiver.
"He's a big body guy that can still separate, create separation," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "He's got a big catch radius. But again, the contested catches that you see on tape. It's very difficult to match up. There are few corners in the league that have length and size to match up but most are aren't on that size and they get pushed around a little bit. He's going to be able to bring that big, physical presence to us."
Johnson, who signed with the Colts after being released by the Houston Texans earlier this month, has 13,597 yards and 64 touchdowns in his career.
What impressed the Colts' coaching staff and front office is Johnson's ability to still go after the ball no matter who is throwing it.
Johnson's 936 receiving yards last season were the lowest of his career when playing at least 13 games since having only 688 receiving yards in 2005. Having Hilton, Moncrief and possibly Duron Carter to help out should ease Johnson's load, which is why it's not necessary for him to be the top receiver like he was throughout his career with the Texans. The Colts also have tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener, who combined to catch 16 touchdowns last season.
"You don't see a huge dropoff numbers-wise," Pagano said. "Maybe in touchdowns. But you still see a guy who is more than capable of stretching the defense. Certainly somebody who an opponent can't just line up and say, 'Don't worry about Andre Johnson.' They're still going to have to tend to him if you will. If they choose to double [Hilton] and take him out of the game, you have another guy on the other side, along with the rest of the guys on the roster who can still stretch the defense. He's a big, possession type guy. He makes contested catches in traffic. He's got a big catch radius. A big body. Those guys are hard to defend."