On the field
|Michael Pittman Jr.
Review of the 2023 season
This year, Michael Pittman Jr. had the best season of his NFL tenure, setting new career highs in receptions (109), receiving yards (1,152) and targets (156).
"He's a dog," quarterback Anthony Richardson said. "Getting the ball in his hands you see what he can do. He's a physical receiver. He can catch, he can block, he can do it all. He's smart. I appreciate him. He's also a leader. He pushed me to be better every single day even when I wasn't out there playing.
"Being in the rehab on time and just making sure I was working. He's a dog for sure. Just getting the ball in his hands it definitely takes a load off of me just letting our weapons get the ball and do what they do. I'm definitely appreciative of him."
Rounding out the rest of the Colts' promising young receiving trio are rookie Josh Downs and second-year wideout Alec Pierce.
Downs made an impact early, setting a new franchise record for rookie receptions with 68.
Despite seeing a decrease in targets, Pierce remained positive throughout the season.
"Alec (Pierce) and I had a long talk. The things he does really well, and really why we drafted him, is getting down the field," general manager Alec Pierce said. "That's what he's really good at. I think when we were able to use him in those situations, he was successful. I think we've got to continue to work on ways to let him do what he does well and that's stretch the field. Still a young player, solid year, thought we probably could have – he's so unselfish, you're never going to hear him gripe or complain. He's going to do whatever the team requires him to do but I do think there's more in there."
Pittman, McKenzie and Winfree are unrestricted free agents.
Hopeful that Pittman will be with the Colts for a long time, Ballard said keeping him in the fold will be one of the top priorities of the offseason.
"I care deeply about him," Ballard. "We have a really good relationship. It's an honest one – almost too honest I think sometimes. But that's what I love about him. The guy is competitive. He's tough. He cares. He wants to win. We're going to work to get him back. We'll work through that. I know we're going to have a few free agents you're all going to want to talk about and I'm probably going to give you the same answer. I would like to have them all back, but it doesn't work that way. It's just the nature of what we do. Pitt (Michael Pittman Jr.) is a good football player for us and hopefully, he still remains a Colt."
Ashton Dulin will be returning from the injured reserve list in 2024 as well.