Last December, Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton was fed up. The Colts were struggling without quarterback Andrew Luck, and their offense was the biggest problem despite a change in coordinators to Rob Chudzinski mid-season.
Hilton, normally quiet and reserved, blasted Chudzinski's playcalling in mid-December, saying that it was to blame for their recent struggles. Hilton said that the Colts weren't utilizing their receivers properly and weren't doing a good job of mixing up the playcalls, especially when it came to the lack of deep throws. Chudzinski responded by saying that no one has ever accused him of throwing short too much, but that he would continue to work on improving each week.
Just a few long months after those comments, however, it seems that things have changed considerably. On Tuesday, Hilton praised Chudzinski and the job the coordinator is doing - in part because the receiver has been going deep more in OTAs.
"It's always good," Hilton told the Anderson Herald Bulletin's George Bremer on Tuesday with a smile. "Chud's doing a wonderful job. I love playing for him."
It's certainly a change in sentiment from Hilton, which is very encouraging to see. I think many people realized last year that the Colts' offense was a big problem and that playcalling wasn't helping, though the Colts were limited somewhat in what they could do because of their quarterback situation. With Andrew Luck back, it seems T.Y. Hilton is loving what Rob Chudzinski is doing with the Colts offense.
Though Chud hasn't spoken with the media for a few weeks, I'd imagine he's equally thrilled with what Hilton is doing on the practice field. Hilton has been one of the stars of OTAs so far, with head coach Chuck Pagano giving him high praise on Tuesday.
“T.Y. is having as good an offseason as anybody, probably better than anybody right now," Pagano said. "There’s a lot of good stuff going on out there, but I’ve never seen this guy practice as fast as he’s practicing right now and competing at the level he’s competing at and leading the way that he’s leading. He’s done it day in and day out.”
Hilton is the old man in the wide receivers room now, but it's a leadership role he's embracing. Mainly, however, he's motivated by getting back to the playoffs.
"It hurt," Hilton told Bremer about missing the postseason last year. "I'd never been home after Week 17. Just watching the playoffs in general and not being able to play really hurt. Right now, I'm just doing what I can for us to get better and continue playing after Week 17."
With Hilton playing like he has been in OTAs, with a healthy Andrew Luck, and with a full offseason under Rob Chudzinski's belt as the Colts offensive coordinator, there's a good chance that the Colts will be playing in January this season.