Jacob Tamme wanted to have an even better season for Indianapolis Colts
Colts tight end Jacob Tamme (84) didn¿¿¿t have many catches this season where he was not in the midst of several defenders like this reception against Houston. However, Tamme took the hits, played with nagging injuries and proved he could be a NFL playmaker. (AP Photo)
That’s why the Indianapolis tight end has mixed feelings about his 2010 season when he caught 67 passes for 631 yards and four scores, an average of 39.4 yards per game and 9.4 yards per catch. Coming into the season, he had six career catches for 47 yards but he got his chance to play when Dallas Clark, the Colts' eight-year veteran tight end and a 2009 Pro Bowl selection, went out with a season-ending wrist injury in October.
However, the Colts lost in the first round of the playoffs to the New York Jets and didn’t get back to the Super Bowl like they did in Tamme’s first season.
“I really have two different sides of myself. I am rarely satisfied. You always look back and see where you could have been better, what should have been better,” said Tamme. “I had a false start in our playoff game. Every player has multiple things he could or should have done better.
“That’s why I am never really satisfied, but I am also very aware of the fact I am extremely blessed to do what I did. I had a very good season and I am thankful for the fact got to play.
“You can kind of go both ways as a competitor when you look back at a season, but in the final analysis it was just a great blessing to be part of this offense and do as well as I did and catch so many balls and be involved in so many great wins. I am not satisfied with my year, but I am content at the same time.”
Tamme, a fourth-round draft pick in 2008 after his stellar career at Kentucky, played with various nagging injuries during the season. He says he’s now close to being healthy again.
“I have pretty much just rested for three weeks now. I have a couple of lingering things, but I feel good about the way I am healing,” he said.
Tamme had seven or more receptions in seven games and had a season-high 11 receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown in a November loss at Philadelphia.
Team president Bill Polian was not surprised with the play of Tamme, who started eight of the final 10 games.
“There was absolutely no question he was going to come in and play well,” Polian told media members late in the season. “Jacob Tamme was an unknown to everybody but the people in this building, but when it came time for Jacob to play regularly, I said, 'Everybody in this building knows Jacob Tamme will play well.''
Tamme had been a special teams standout, but even that had not fully prepared for him the pounding he took this season. Since most of his catches were in the middle of the field, he seldom had a reception where he was not hit by one or more defenders.
“Special teams plays are extremely hard hits a lot of times, too. But you have fewer special teams plays than you do on an average game of offense where you are playing more snaps,” Tamme said. “I caught a lot of balls and got tackled a lot and a lot of things happen when you get tackled. When you are blocking, both guys know they are going to be hit, so it is not that bad.
“On pass receptions, those defensive backs and linebackers have running starts at you. I took a couple of unlucky hits. It’s just a numbers game. If you get hit enough, you will probably get hurt. Fortunately, all my injuries were very manageable and were just lingering stuff. I did not miss any games, and I was just blessed overall.
“There were a few balls I caught near the sideline, but for the most part I had a lot of catches over the middle and that’s just part of playing tight end. As long as you catch it and get back up, it’s good and you don’t care what else happened. It would have been nice to break a few more tackles and get some longer runs. That’s my goal for next year.”
Indianapolis coach Jim Caldwell liked what Tamme did during the season that helped the Colts win another division title.
“He can run and catch,” Caldwell said after a December win. “He is a good route-runner, and he is a tough guy. He has been very involved in our special teams the last couple of years, and I think that's helped him. He was able to step right in and move right along and do some good things for us.”
Others noticed, too. Recently USA Today named him to its “All-Joe team” as one of the NFL’s unsung heroes.
Still, Tamme is disappointed the Colts are not getting ready for the Super Bowl this week.
“You put in so much work to not get another shot at the Super Bowl is always disappointing. It takes time to get past it and move forward,” Tamme said.
However, Tamme did make a lot of fantasy league fans happy with his play.
“I can’t tell you how many people told me that, too. I was told and got links to stuff where I was the No. 1 fantasy tight end,” Tamme said. “I know I helped out my brother (Seth) and he won his league. I don’t really know that much even about fantasy football leagues, but that is neat thing that people got so excited. That is one of those things in life you never imagine will happen to you. It still blows my mind.”
He also became somewhat of a media darling and not only did local media, but national media as well.
“All that was really neat. There were a couple of games where after the game I did ESPN radio or CBS or Westwood. When Dallas got hurt, all the sportscasters learned my name,” Tamme laughed and said. “The Houston game on Monday Night Football helped. It was kind of crazy the way all the publicity went national. It’s one of those things you never imagine and it as neat to hear people that have known you your whole life enjoyed all that so much. They are the ones you want to enjoy the publicity.”
Tamme said he was ready for his chance this season because a backup is trained to always be ready.
“You never know when your chance is going to come,” Tamme said. “I think the challenge is to be mentally on top of it every single week. “It's hard mentally to be on top of everything all the time when you’re not seeing the field. It's especially tough as a rookie. It takes a year to learn the whole offense, but I felt very prepared when it was my time this year.”