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Colts' Dwayne Allen on his season: 'It's been a very frustrating year'

Colts tight end Dwayne Allen caught a TD pass against Buffalo on Sept. 13 and hasn't been in the end zone since. He has just 13 catches on 19 targets for 107 yards. AP/Gary Wiepert

INDIANAPOLIS -- Dwayne Allen knew what was coming. That’s why I grabbed a random chair in the hallway outside the Indianapolis Colts locker room and said, "step into my office."

It’s the subject that many have wondered about all season.

What is wrong with Allen, the Colts’ best all-around tight end, this season?

The fourth-year tight end has only 13 catches on 19 targets for 107 yards and a touchdown this season. To put things into perspective, running back Ahmad Bradshaw played in four fewer games than Allen and had just three less catches than the tight end.

Allen's too good of a player to only be targeted 19 times this season. Injuries, an issue of Allen’s the past two seasons, can’t be the blame, because he’s played in 10 of the Colts’ 12 games this season.

"Man, it’s been very difficult, very difficult," Allen said. "But I knew what I signed up to be a part of. I signed up to be a part of this team, to fulfill the tight end duties, whatever they may be, whatever role they decide to use me in. I wasn’t going to get upset and do anything out of character because this year hasn’t gone as planned.

"I’ve tried to be the best leader on the field and off the field, continue to work my tail off in practice. It’s been a very frustrating year because I know I can do more. I feel like I can help the team more. It’s not my role."

Allen’s demise in the offense comes a year after he had a career-high eight touchdown receptions. He said he stopped paying attention to the stats after Week 3 because he "knew the ball wasn’t going to come my way. No need for me to look at stats." Allen has played 398 snaps this season.

"The approach with the coaching staff I’ve taken is they’re not blind," Allen said. "They do get the stats. They see what’s going on. If they felt like I was a good enough playmaker in their offense I’d be utilized in that way. Since I haven’t been, I’ve humbly taken it as we have better playmakers around me. I’m going to do what I can to help this offense."

One of the most notable differences has been Allen's third-down production. Allen had seven catches for 145 yards and five touchdowns on third down last season. He only has one catch, which happened to be a touchdown, on third down this season.

"Third downs have been the biggest in-game frustrating thing," Allen said. "Third down used to be my down."

Allen’s biggest problem -- and it’s truly not a problem -- is that he has exceptional blocking skills, and the Colts need him to help in that area because they have had offensive line issues all seasons.

"What you stress with the guys is, 'Hey, you might not have got any this week, but next week it could be your game.' You have to have that kind of mentality from a player’s standpoint," Colts offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski said. "Dwayne is an unselfish guy. I look at the value that he brings to our offense. He’s been blocking and doing a great job blocking in the run. Not only in the run, he’s really helped us out in our pass protection as being an extra blocker and a guy that we can use to help us out up front."

Allen’s non-existence on the stat sheet comes at a time when he’s in the final year of his rookie contract. The Colts might have to make a decision on whether to keep Allen or fellow tight end Coby Fleener.

"Whenever I sat down before the year and I put down my goals, I put down my team goals first," Allen said. "That’s something I always do. I always put my team goals down for first, and we still have a lot of football left to accomplish our team goals."