INDIANAPOLIS – Deon Cain had his rookie season robbed from him a year ago when he tore up his knee on a non-contact play in the exhibition opener at the Seattle Seahawks.
Another unfortunate injury now is opening the door to expand Cain’s comeback.
Veteran free agent Devin Funchess broke his collarbone Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers and will spend at least the next eight weeks on injured reserve.
That opens snaps for the No. 2 wide receiver, and Cain leads a deep group of options for the Indianapolis Colts.
“(Funchess) was a great contributor for us, and you see he can put up great numbers for us,” Cain said. “Now, it’s just really next man up when it comes to that type of situation. So I just want to go out and be confident throughout this week. But, hopefully, a speedy recovery for my boy.”
While Cain is the first in line, the Colts are confident depth at wide receiver will help fill the void.
The team had six players active at the position Sunday, which is an unusually high number. But they felt each player filled a role that could help the offense remain versatile and efficient.
That same philosophy will be in play in Funchess’ absence.
“It’s a by-committee thing,” offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni said. “If Devin was good at this, what is Deon good at? Is he good at the same things? What is Zach (Pascal) good at? What is Chester (Rogers) and Parris (Campbell)? It’s by committee that you fill that role.
“I believe Devin had maybe 40 plays, give or take. So it’s filling those 40 plays with those guys and what one of those guys does those things the best that Devin does or maybe none of them do and you do something else. Yeah, we’re going to miss him because we miss good play makers, but we’re really excited to see those guys even get more reps and grow in their future.”
At 6-foo-2, Cain is the tallest option in the group. That will be a factor because Funchess’ size (6-4) and athleticism created mismatches and easy throws for quarterback Jacoby Brissett.
Cain showed some of the same qualities in his two catches against the Los Angeles Chargers, but he was known more for his ability to take the top off defenses during his days at Clemson.
He flashed that potential during the preseason with a 46-yard touchdown against the Chicago Bears. And he’s not putting a ceiling on his potential in the offense.
“I’m capable of doing it all,” Cain said. “It doesn’t really matter. I’m here just to make plays. So anything they need me to do, I’m ready to do it.”
The 23-year-old admitted his emotions were high before the first regular season game of his career and he had to work to regulate them on the sideline.
Getting a catch early in the contest helped calm the jitters, and he feels as though it’s only going to get better moving forward.
“It’s always (going) to be like that,” Cain said. “But now I’m starting to get a little more used to it. So now as the roles get bigger, things are going to get more comfortable.”
Defensive tackle Tyquan Lewis was a healthy scratch against the Chargers, a surprise member of the seven-man inactive list.
Colts head coach Frank Reich explained the move Wednesday, noting Lewis dealt with a sore knee that cost him some practice time during the final week of the preseason.
“Just more so not enough practice time before Week 1,” Reich said. “I mean it’s usually a week-to-week decision, but Tyquan probably hadn’t quite practiced enough in our eyes to be physically ready to go. So we will re-evaluate that this week.”
Indianapolis made one roster move Wednesday, calling safety Rolan Milligan up to the active roster to fill Funchess’ spot. Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Bruce Anderson III was signed to the practice squad in Milligan’s place.
Anderson, an undrafted free agent out of North Dakota State, spent part of Week 1 on Tampa Bay’s practice squad.
Three players did not practice Wednesday. Defensive end Jabaal Sheard (knee), defensive end Kemoko Turay (neck) and running back Jonathan Williams (rib) were on the sideline.
Sheard worked on the side with trainers for the first time since participating in the opening day of training camp. Turay also missed a practice last week with the neck injury but played and recorded a sack against L.A.