NFL Media's Michelle Beisner passed along word that starting tight end Dwayne Allen will miss the entire 2013 season. Colts coach Chuck Pagano announced Allen will undergo hip surgery, noting that the tight end's in-line blocking would be especially tough to replace. Starting running back Vick Ballard also was lost for the season last week.
Allen was one of our favorite breakout candidates this season because he's the rare tight end who's an outstanding receiver and a great blocker. The Colts' offense was expected to feature Allen in a Rob Gronkowski-like role, and it was easy to imagine him as a Pro Bowl contender.
This news will put more pressure on second-year tight end Coby Fleener, but he's not nearly as strong a blocker as Allen. Look for the Colts to play with three wide receivers on the field more often. The Colts have a huge drop-off in talent at tight end after Fleener, with Dominique Jones getting snaps last week.
Allen's absence also will make new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton's life more difficult. Allen's versatility led to mismatches for the Colts. He also made it easier for Hamilton to espouse a more "balanced" offensive philosophy. With Allen and Ballard now gone, that's going to be tougher to accomplish.
Andrew Luck has to carry this flawed team more than ever.