Indianapolis Colts' wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers is no stranger to confidence, and after a humbling 43-22 defeat in the AFC Divisional Round against the New England Patriots (in which Rogers dropped to very catchable balls), he is ready to prove that he can thrive at this level.
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It is no mystery that the Colts' recent success came from the wand of fourth-quarter wizard Andrew Luck. The bearded bohemian (now shaved) was nothing short of magical in clutch situations this season, and did so with a wide receiver core that was without its best player in Reggie Wayne (injured reserve, ACL injury). The Colts were also forced to endure a very pedestrian season from the vastly overpaid Darrius Heyward-Bey.
The lack of production at the position freed up playing time for Rogers, and he took advantage of it when his number was called. Rogers started the season with the Buffalo Bills, eventually being released in August. It is because of this that Rogers knew he had to covet his fruitful opportunity with Indianapolis.
Rogers wasn't called up to the active roster until Week 13, not even finding the field in a 22-14 win over the Tennessee Titans. That changed almost immediately.
In a Week 14 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Rogers torched a very strong opposing defense, winding up with six catches for 107-yards and two touchdowns. He was officially on the league radar, with the Colts gushing about his play-making ability.
While at times his confidence can be misconstrued for cockiness, Rogers knows that a strong mind is key in this league. Don't expect those playoff drops to linger in his memory.
"That stuff is in the past," Rogers said. "It's all about football for me. I'm still pretty disgusted with the loss and dropping those passes. I'm going to take a little bit of time off and then I'll be back here in Indy working out all the time."
With Wayne back into the fray with standout T.Y Hilton, Rogers will have all the single coverage he can handle in 2014, and will look to solidify a unit that is more than capable when healthy.
With veteran leadership and Luck making the throws, expect the ascension of Rogers to continue.