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Coach: Dwayne Allen's return like getting new player

One under-discussed aspect of the Indianapolis Colts' 2014 prospects is the return of tight end Dwayne Allen.

Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton had big plans for Allen last year before the athletic tight end was lost for the season due to hip surgery. That loss should not be understated, as Allen's ability in both the run and pass game opens up the offense in ways no other player on the Colts' roster can.

"It makes us a better football team," Colts tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts told the team's official website of a healthy Allen. "Getting him back is like getting a brand new player.

"(Allen) gives you a chance to do some other things. His skillset allows us to protect it up, or throw it or run it when we see the advantage. He gives us an advantage because he can do some things in the backfield, do some things in-line where Coby (Fleener) we feel like has blossomed as an outside guy. It gives you a little more of a chance to be creative."

Allen is a perfect complement to outside weapons in Fleener, Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton, Hakeem Nicks, Da'Rick Rogers and rookie Donte Moncrief.

Losing him last season was noticeable as Hamilton's original, miscalculated game plan called for a run-heavy base offense. The scheme was like a weight around the Colts' offense the first part of the season, until an adjustment was made. Had Allen been in the lineup, his ability to block could have helped lift some of that weight (though the decision not to ride Andrew Luck was wrongheaded from the get go.)

The Colts can boast a more versatile and potent scheme with Allen healthy. Considering the pervasiveness of no-huddle and up-tempo offenses today, a player with Allen's ability to stay on the field in every situation is becoming more and more vital to success. 

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