T.Y. Hilton: Colts need to throw deep more to utilize speedy WRs

ByMike Wells ESPN logo
Wednesday, December 23, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS -- Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who has made a living blowing by defensive backs, isn't happy with the Colts' commitment to the short passing game.

"Donte [Moncrief], me, Phil [Phillip Dorsett], we're fast guys and we're not going down the field like how we're supposed to be," Hilton said. "Running stick routes, chain routes. We can do that, but at some point you have to take your shot and get the defense going back. The throws have been there, but we haven't been calling them. More play calling."

The Colts, who could miss the playoffs for the first time since 2011, have emphasized the short passing game more with 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback in place of Andrew Luck.

Back in April, owner Jim Irsay sat behind a table in the team's interview room right after the Colts selected receiver Dorsett with their first-round pick, and recited a line from the late Al Davis.

"He'd tell you, 'Don't pass the speed up,'" Irsay said..

Dorsett, Hilton and Moncrief were supposed to give opposing defenses fits with their speed. That hasn't happened much this season.

"Not being able to take shots down the field, it really hurts all the receivers because the defense is just sitting at the sticks," Hilton said. "Once we start taking shots we loosen [the defense] up and [it] opens up the run and pass game."

The blame for a lack of deep balls can't be strictly placed on former offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton or current offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski. It also can't be put on Hasselbeck's shoulders.

The offensive line is a different story.

The inability to protect long enough and open up running holes for Frank Gore has not allowed Chudzinski to take advantage of the speed the Colts have at receiver. Hasselbeck has been knocked out of the past three games with injuries.

"Instead of six, seven, eight [defenders] in the box, it's all 11 just waiting to tee off," Hilton said. "... Whatever play call it is we're running. Hopefully it'll be better this week [againstMiami]."

Luck and Hasselbeck have both started seven games this season, and Luck has attempted 22 more passes of at least 15 yards than Hasselbeck during that period. And big plays are Hilton's thing.

He has 17 receptions for a team-high 581 yards and three touchdowns on catches of at least 15 yards this season.

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