News From Terre Haute, Indiana

CNHI News Service Originals

January 12, 2007

Dallas Clark may be the Colts biggest threat in a loaded offensive arsenal

INDIANAPOLIS — Mr. Versatility.

In the wake of injuries to wide receivers Brandon Stokley (ankle, knee, Achilles’ tendon) and Ricky Proehl (hamstring), that’s what tight end Dallas Clark has become to the Indianapolis Colts offense in the latter stages of the 2006 season.

Clark has also been a victim of the injury bug, missing four games with a sprained anterior cruicate ligament in his right knee that he had suffered in a Nov. 26 home game with the Philadelphia Eagles. But since his return in the Colts’ regular-season finale with Miami, the 6-foot-3, 252-pound Clark has become perhaps the biggest weapon in the team’s massive offensive arsenal.

As opposing teams attempt to double cover the team’s two outside wide receivers — Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne — Clark should be able to find openings over the middle and in the seam against the defensive pass coverage. That’s certainly the hope as the Colts head to Baltimore for an AFC divisional playoff game with the second-seeded Ravens.

“He kind of fills two spots for us,” Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy said recently. “He is a tight end who can also lineup for us as a slot receiver. We’ve also used him as our H-Back. We can use him in a lot of ways in our offense.”

That was certainly the case in last week’s AFC wild-card win over Kansas City. With Stokley done for the year and Proehl hobbled for the past three weeks, Clark became the Colts’ go-to guy as he lined up in the slot and caught a career-best nine passes for 103 yards.

Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning consistently went to the former University of Iowa standout to pick up big yardage in the second half of the Chiefs’ game. Six of his pass receptions resulted in first downs to keep offensive drives alive.

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