Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton had a good game against the New York Giants on Sunday, catching two passes for 36 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown from quarterback Andrew Luck. Hilton’s performance was significant following the first week of preseason action against the Buffalo Bills, in which he caught three passes for 61 yards an another touchdown.
There’s been a good amount of worry from Hilton fans related to the fact that Darrius Heyward-Bey is at least nominally the starter in IND, while Hilton is perceived among many to be the more talented player. I actually think that worry might be premature if the 2nd preseason game is any indication. Pep Hamilton’s offense apparently features 2 WRs in its base set, which is the reason for worry among Hilton fans. But what if the Colts plan to utilize Hilton a lot this year, but they just don’t want him to have to exert effort on plays where he isn’t intended to be involved. Hilton is actually a small receiver, so if you were trying to think about ways to get as much out of him as you could, but also avoid running him into the ground, wouldn’t you let DHB play a decent amount of downs intended to be runs? DHB is the bigger player and is likely the better run blocker (I’m just speculating… I dislike watching games as much as the next stathead).
If you think about it, an offense is going to run around 60 plays per game. A small WR like Hilton isn’t typically going to be targeted on more than maybe 7 plays per game anyway (that’s a 110 target pace). So what if the Colts are just planning to get Hilton the ball when he’s on the field and letting DHB play a lot of the snaps that Hilton wouldn’t have been utilized anyway? They’ll have a fresher Hilton when they do get him in there and the results have the potential to be outsized.