By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
MIKE Strachan has achieved several historic milestones en route to the NFL and now the Indianapolis Colts front office has indicated that opportunities for the rookie wide receiver will be based on his productivity in limited spots.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard addressed the media following Tuesday’s deadline for roster cuts and outlined expectations for the seventh round pick.
“He’s coming along, but he’s got a ways to go,” said Ballard when asked what Strachan can contribute.
“He’s a big, talented guy…that has ball skills that is still learning how to play. We’ll start him out in small doses and see how he handles it. The more he produces, the more he’ll get the ball.”
Strachan was one of seven wide receivers named to the initial 53-man roster along with Parris Campbell, Ashton Dulin, T.Y. Hilton, Dezmon Patmon, Zach Pascal and Michael Pittman Jr.
Ballard also announced that Hilton had neck surgery and will miss at least three games after he was placed on injured reserve.
Hilton, 31, has been the Colts’ No. 1 receiver throughout his nine seasons in Indianapolis, which includes five 1,000-yard campaigns.
Pascal has been placed on the reserve COVID-19 list.
Three receivers were waived out of training camp, including Tarik Black, Tyler Vaughns, and DeMichael Harris. All three were named to the team’s practice squad. The Colts finished the preseason 3-0 and Strachan totalled 10 receptions for 130 yards in those contests.
Overall, Strachan had a Pro Football Focus grade of 73.0 this preseason, he was targeted 16 times, had six receiving first downs, no dropped passes, four contested catches, and was part of three explosive pass plays.
In his preseason debut, Strachan finished with three receptions for 57 yards in the Colts’ 21-18 win over the Carolina Panthers.
In his second appearance, Strachan finished with two catches for 12 yards in the Colts’ 12-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings and five receptions for 61 yards in the Colts’ 27-17 win over the Detroit Lions Friday night at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.
The Colts are looking to advance to the NFL playoffs for the second consecutive season.
They will open the regular season at 1pm on September 12 against the Seattle Seahawks.
Strachan will play closest to home on October 3 when the Colts visit the Miami Dolphins for a 1pm matchup at Hard Rock Stadium.
Indianapolis will have three nationally televised matchups - October 11 at the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football, October 24 at the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football and November 4 against the New York Jets on Thursday Night Football.