Colts’ Reggie Wayne Sends Message on Alec Pierce’s Rough NFL Debut

Reggie Wayne

Getty Colts wide receivers coach Reggie Wayne offered rookie Alec Pierce a message following his NFL debut.

The NFL debut for Indianapolis Colts rookie wide receiver Alec Pierce didn’t exactly go as planned.

He received just 2 targets despite playing 47 offensive snaps. Pierce caught neither of those 2 targets, dropping 1 of them in the end zone.

Pierce also took a nasty helmet-to-helmet hit from Houston Texans safety and fellow rookie Jalen Pitre. Officials called Pitre for a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on the play.

The Colts rookie receiver felt well enough to continue playing, but head coach Frank Reich said Pierce started developing “mild” concussion-like symptoms after the game.

It’s hard to imagine a debut for Pierce going much worse. But wide receivers coach Reggie Wayne still offered words of encouragement for the rookie after his first game.

“You dropped a TD, you got concussed in your first game, can’t go nowhere but up, right?” Wayne told The Athletic’s Zak Keefer. “You got that out the way, so now you can relax and play ball.”

Rookie Receiver Debuts Around the NFL

As bad as Pierce’s debut went, he’s not already a bust. Additionally, it’s not as though a bunch of other rookie receivers dominated the league in their first game.

Fellow second-round pick Christian Watson dropped a potential long touchdown pass on the very first play from scrimmage for the Green Bay Packers. Another wide receiver taken in the second round this past spring, George Pickens, had 1 catch for 3 yards for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

New York Jets first-rounder Garrett Wilson basically didn’t have a catch until the game was decided against the Baltimore Ravens. Furthermore, first-rounder Chris Olave had 3 targets for the New Orleans Saints.

It takes some time for rookie receivers to become great, and Pierce isn’t behind the curve by struggling in his first game.

As Wayne basically said, Pierce will be judged in how he responds. By November and December, rookie receivers will be making an impact around the league. The Colts hope Pierce is one of them.

Pierce to Miss Week 2 Because of Concussion-Like Symptoms

Unfortunately, Pierce won’t have the opportunity to put his tough debut behind him until the third week of the season. Indianapolis announced on September 16 that the rookie receiver will miss the matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2.

Colts insider Joel A. Erickson reported that he “didn’t get to a point” on the morning of September 16 “where he could clear” the concussion protocol. Therefore, he cannot play.

The timing isn’t the best for Indianapolis. Fellow wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. is also dealing with a quad injury that he reportedly suffered in practice on September 14. Pittman is considered  questionable for Week 2 because of the ailment.

Pittman and Pierce combined to play 137 snaps in Week 1 versus the Texans. If the Colts are missing both receivers, it will be up to several unproven wideouts to fill the void.

The Colts hyped Parris Campbell as a breakout candidate during the offseason, but he received only 4 targets in Week 1. Ashton Dulin and Mike Strachan are the other receivers on Indianapolis’ active roster. Neither Dulin nor Strachan have ever made more than 3 catches in a single game.

Before Week 1, neither had more than 2 receptions in a contest. Dulin posted a career-high 3 catches for 46 yards versus the Texans.

Despite his rough NFL debut, Pierce should receive plenty of more opportunities this season.

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