During the 2021 season, the Colts’ passing attack wasn’t nearly as efficient as it needed to be given that the NFL has swiftly transitioned into a more pass-oriented league.
Running back Nyheim Hines, who’s been a consistent contributor for the Colts over the past few seasons, saw his production dip last season after having a career-high 482 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns in 2020.
Last season, Hines’ 310 receiving yards were a career-low, along with just his one receiving touchdown. Hines’ receptions per game went from 3.9 to 2.4 in 2021 as well, per Pro Football Reference.
Part of Indy’s inconsistencies in the passing game was in large part because of the inaccuracy of former QB Carson Wentz, which is partly why the organization felt they needed to make a change at the position.
For context, Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson had career-highs in both receiving yards (548) and receiving touchdowns (5) on an average of 10.5 yards per reception in 2021.
With Matt Ryan now at the helm, the expectation is for Hines to have a much bigger role, according to head coach Frank Reich.
He does know the offense at the end of the season won't work. "A great run game isn’t gonna be enough. We need more." Noted that he expects Hines to have a MUCH bigger role with Ryan at QB (akin to Rivers in '20).— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) March 28, 2022
At TE: "It’s gonna be impossible to replace Jack. So we’ll adapt"
With that in mind, wide receiver is still very much a major need for the Colts, but getting Hines more involved in the passing game in 2022 should certainly help with the efficiency of Indy’s passing offense.