Colts signing Phillip Lindsay must mean a role change for Nyheim Hines

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 03: Jonathan Taylor #28 and Nyheim Hines #21 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 03: Jonathan Taylor #28 and Nyheim Hines #21 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images) /

The Indianapolis Colts added veteran running back Phillip Lindsay to an already stacked backfield but it could be a sign of change for Nyheim Hines.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Indianapolis Colts made a surprising free agency move by signing veteran running back Phillip Lindsay to a one-year deal.

Lindsay played last season with the Houston Texans and the Miami Dolphins after starting his career spending three years with the Denver Broncos.

The reason this move is such a surprise is that the Colts already have the best running back in the NFL in Jonathan Taylor. Behind Taylor is Nyheim Hines, a player that Indy has publicly expressed wanting to use more.

Additionally, Indianapolis had a quality third running back last season in Marlon Mack and he became an inactive player due to Indy not having a use for him. With Mack now with the Texans, it’s a shock to see the Colts get another third running back.

However, this acquisition could be a sign of changes in the Indy offense. More specifically, this could mean that Nyheim Hines will take on more of a pass-catching role.

Phillip Lindsay may allow Colts to use Nyheim Hines as a pass-catcher

It wouldn’t make much sense for Indianapolis to bring in Lindsay if he was just going to be RB3. In reality, he will probably be more like RB2 and Hines will elevate to some sort of hybrid between a running back and a slot receiver.

With the Colts still needing more quality receivers, it makes sense to be more creative with Hines and put him in a role that allows him to utilize his running and pass-catching ability.

Hines has always been good at catching the ball out of the backfield. As a rookie, he caught 63 passes for 425 yards. In year two, it was 44 receptions for 320 yards.

With Philip Rivers in 2020, Hines had his best season catching 63 passes for 482 yards and four touchdowns. Those numbers dipped to 40 receptions for 310 yards last season partly due to play-calling and partly because of Carson Wentz’s play style.

However, Matt Ryan is now the quarterback for the Colts, and he has a history of dumping the ball off to his running backs. Both he and Hines have already talked about the connection they’re already building.

Additionally, Frank Reich has expressed that Hines is a weapon that they have to be more intentional about getting involved. The Colts should be able to get Nyheim Hines involved in the passing game with Phillip Lindsay now in the backfield.