The Indianapolis Colts season continues to unravel as wide receiver TY Hilton takes issue with the offensive play-calling.
It is surprising that is has taken this long for players to start speaking out about the state of the team. Just over 15 weeks into the season we’re starting to hear players (or in this case, one player) express displeasure with the team.
Yesterday, Hilton spoke with Stephen Holder at the Indy Star about the state of the offense. He’s blaming the play-calling for the stagnation we’ve seen over the past few weeks.
Hilton has a point. The offense has been struggling, and it hasn’t all been due to injuries to Matt Hasselbeck and the offensive line. The Colts seem to lack anything resembling an identity on offense.
"“The throws have been there, but we just haven’t been calling them,” Hilton said. “It’s more the play-calling.”When asked why yards have been so hard to come by of late, Hilton responded: “Because we’re not really using us: Donte (Moncrief), me, Phillip (Dorsett). We’re fast guys and we’re not going down the field how we’re supposed to. We’re running stick routes, chain routes. I mean, you can do that, but at some point, you have to take your shots to get the defense (moving) back.”"
The Colts have been calling for quicker passing, mainly to offset a banged up (and inferior) offensive line and to limit the hits a 40-year old Hasselbeck will take. At the same times, we’ve seen Hasselbeck miss on more than a few deep passes over the past few weeks.
Holder goes on to break down the numbers on the Colts offensive woes, and it worth taking a look. For an offense that was first in passing in 2014, and led the league in “explosive plays” it is surprising to see what has become of the Colts in 2015 with supposedly more weapons.
Holder even points out that Hasselbeck said after Sunday’s loss to the Texans that they could be more aggressive on offense. To come away with just 10 points in a half when your average starting position is the opponents 47-yard line is pathetic.
Hilton has a right to be upset. He is an explosive play maker who thrives on the deep ball and getting yards after the catch. Hilton’s numbers are down, not just because Andrew Luck is out, but because the Colts have been playing to the strengths of their players.
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The problems extends beyond the likes of Donte Moncrief, Phillip Dorsett and Hilton. Coby Fleener was another deep threat in 2014 who hasn’t been used properly (though that is partly his own fault). Dwayne Allen, who has been kept in-line to block more, is also not being used to the fullest of his abilities. The latter two are odd since both offensive coordinators have a history of fully utilizing their tight ends (Fleener and Allen both caught eight touchdowns last season).
Most of what Hilton had to say isn’t anything new. These are all things we’ve been talking about and speculating on for weeks now. Injuries have fouled up the Colts offense, but the play-calling and scheme haven’t done them any favors either.
The Colts fired Pep Hamilton after Week 8 and we haven’t seen a discernable change in production. Rob Chudzinski hasn’t made any improvements, and has moved further away from the vertical passing attack Hamilton created in 2014.
Hilton speaking out shows that the players know what is coming next for the coaching staff. It wouldn’t be surprising if we saw more grumbling over the next couple weeks.