Believe it or not, 27-year old T.Y. Hilton is the oldest player in the wide receivers room for the Indianapolis Colts, four years older than any other player at the position on the active roster. It’s a young group that outside of Hilton is rather inexperienced, and that has led to Hilton taking on a bigger leadership role this year.
Part of that leadership showed this week, when Hilton called a meeting with the receivers.
“I had a talk with everybody this morning,” Hilton told the Indianapolis Star’s Stephen Holder on Thursday. “We know what we need to do. We need to beat man coverage. Beat the man in front of you and we should have a big day.”
Why the emphasis on beating man coverage? As Phillip Dorsett said, the Jets - who the Colts play on Monday - play a lot of it.
“Obviously, the Jets play a lot of man because they blitz a lot,” Dorsett told Holder. “T.Y. basically just said we have to knuckle down and we have to win.”
Hilton’s message to the receivers was simply one imploring them to do their jobs. That involves beating coverage, and it also involves catching the football. Both of those might seem obvious, but it’s a reminder the Colts need. Last Thursday the drops showed up in a big way, though it’s an issue that has been happening all season. But last week, Hilton dropped a would-be touchdown, Dorsett did the same along the goal line, and Donte Moncrief dropped a pass that would have put the Colts inside the ten yard line. The Colts can’t afford for their top three receivers to be dropping passes, and the players at that position know it.
“For me, when the play is out there, I have to make it,” Hilton said. “I can’t have any more drops.”
Quarterback Andrew Luck will be back this week, but the receivers will still need to step up. There is very little margin for error for Indianapolis moving forward in the final month of the season, and they’ll need their best players playing their best to have a legitimate chance. That includes Hilton, Moncrief, and Dorsett, who all are talented players. Hilton’s having a career year and Moncrief has been very effective since he’s returned from injury, but the Colts will need them to be able to beat man coverage and catch the passes thrown to them on Monday night to help Andrew Luck out and attempt to mount a playoff run.