It hasn’t taken very long for the Indianapolis Colts new veteran quarterback to wide receiver connection of Philip Rivers to T.Y. Hilton to show some initial sparks.
The two have ‘hooked up’ early and often in Colts training camp practices—including a 47 yard touchdown during Saturday’s scrimmage:
Colts have had two scrimmages. Per Joel's tracking, T.Y. Hilton has caught 11 passes from Rivers; the next-closest is Marlon Mack with 5.— Josh Wilson (@JoshWilsonSB) August 29, 2020
That's what you like to see. https://t.co/2mzifxmXTk
We could get used to this. pic.twitter.com/GPg50B9ia0— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) August 24, 2020
Wakanda Forever. pic.twitter.com/CE6kVwLKOV— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) August 29, 2020
While there was earlier offseason chatter that Rivers only preferred throwing to taller wideouts such as Vincent Jackson (6’5”), Malcom Floyd (6’5”), Keenan Allen (6’2”), and Mike Williams Jr. (6’4”)—and that the Colts’ Hilton clearly isn’t that at 5’10”, that misguided talk has proven to be entirely unfounded.
Rivers is going to throw to whichever wideout can consistently get open and make plays—and throughout his entire 8-year career, that’s always been Hilton for the Colts, who’s the franchise’s 4th all-time career leader in receptions (552) and receiving yards (8,598) respectively.
Hilton may not be the big bodied deep threat that Rivers has historically had a lot of success throwing to (i.e, wideouts more in the mold of Colts’ rookie Michael Pittman Jr.), but he remains one of the game’s truly elite deep threats—when fully healthy—with his speed, separation, and smooth route running in-and-out of breaks.
While new to one another, both Rivers and Hilton have been around the NFL block quite a few times (with over 25 seasons of NFL experience between them)—and that veteran savviness and understanding of how to read defenses and anticipate throws, how to run routes, set up defenders, etc., should make this a very seamless pairing of the two longtime NFL standouts:
“The best receivers I have been around, they have a great feel for the game, and T.Y. has that, whether it be throttling on a route or being ready for a back shoulder or a little bit of that unspoken communication that you have that we can kind of get on the same page,” Rivers said via Colts.com. “We’ve been able to have some of those type (of) moments throughout training camp. That will only continue to grow.”
So far, the former Pro Bowler pair’s early results have been encouraging, and with Rivers starting behind center, Hilton is a prime candidate to have a bounce back season for the Colts during 2020—with sparks clearly flying and cohesive chemistry building.