Colts: Why a Carson Wentz connection might not rejuvenate TY Hilton

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - JANUARY 03: T.Y. Hilton #13 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - JANUARY 03: T.Y. Hilton #13 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

The Indianapolis Colts decided that the best way to surround new quarterback Carson Wentz with talent to accentuate his natural skills was to bring back a familiar face, re-signing wide receiver TY Hilton on a short-term deal to help with the playoff push.

Hilton hasn’t been himself over the last two years, as he looks nothing like the receiver that once led the league in receiving yards with Andrew Luck, but that can be blamed on the quarterback inconsistency.

Going from Luck to Jacoby Brissett and what was left of Philip Rivers is by no means an ideal situation.

Hilton has been trying his best to connect with his new signal-caller, as he and No. 2 have linked up for a throwing session, which Hilton described as “awesome” after seeing how strong Wentz’s arm is.

On the surface, this looks like a mutually beneficial relationship for both parties.

Hilton gets a strong-armed quarterback to hit him downfield, and Wentz gets a quality receiver. What could possibly go wrong?

As tough as it might sound, Wentz might not help Hilton’s production skyrocket.

Colts: Will Carson Wentz help TY Hilton?

In Philadelphia, Wentz was at his best in 2017, when he had a seam-busting tight end in Zach Ertz he could rely on over the middle and a physical X receiver that could make difficult catches near the boundary. Hilton fails to check either of those boxes, and Wentz’s lack of gaudy numbers when targeting smaller receivers like Torrey Smith and Golden Tate speaks volumes.

The Colts’ roster-building strategy and decision-making with regard to coaching hires seems to hinge on the notion that if Wentz ends up in the exact same situation that he was in with the Eagles in 2017, he’ll end up becoming a high-end starter for the Colts.

That could mean copying and pasting their offense from 2017, or at the very least swapping out some of Marcus Brady’s ideas in exchange for concepts Reich leaned on when he was Wentz’s offensive coordinator that year. That would, by definition, give Hilton a reduced role.

Wentz’s mobility and arm should get Hilton more targets, but unless he becomes the 50/50 jump ball master that Wentz loved throwing to in Alshon Jeffery, it might actually be Michael Pittman Jr. who has the biggest uptick in targets and production next season. Expect a solid, if unimpressive, season from the veteran.

Hilton might help Wentz return to his old form, but don’t assume that the wideout getting along well with his new QB will automatically guarantee that he is going to total 1,000 yards next season. Wentz needs a physical wide receiver or a pass-catching tight end, and Hilton is not either of those things right now.