Three realistic expectations for T.Y. Hilton include:
1. Finishes the season among the league’s Top-10 receivers.
One of Rivers’ issues with the Chargers was protection, and the 38-year-old was on the ground often.
Sacked 20 times in 2019 with 5 fumbles and 20 interceptions, Rivers was consistently on his back foot with little time to get rid of the ball.
Traveling from LA to Indianapolis has its perks as Rivers will have a much better offensive line protecting him led by Quenton Nelson, giving him more time to throw.
T.Y. Hilton is #1 on the roster because he is experienced and fast.
Assuming Rivers has adequate preseason time to work with Hilton and develop timing and chemistry, the combination could be lethal for opponents.
We aren’t talking enough about the bounce back year TY Hilton is going to have with Rivers
— T.J. Martin (@groth_e) March 25, 2020
T.Y. Hilton could definitely replicate or exceed his career-high 1,448-yard season of 2016.
2. His injury-plagued 2019 season Is A Thing Of The Past
T.Y.’s performance was curtailed in 2019 with a calf injury that limited him to 10 games.
TY Hilton’s 2019 regular season : 45 catches for 501 yards & 5 TD’s in 10 games played (Missed 6 games with a quad injury. The team went 1-5 in his absence) pic.twitter.com/Z1KkKENAXM
— Lee Harvey (@AyeThatsLee) December 31, 2019
Between being 30 years old and coming off an injury-shortened season, it is not unrealistic to think his breakout speed and season-long viability are things of the past.
Ironically, his best game of 2019 was in the season opener against Rivers’ former team, the L.A. Chargers.
Hilton had 8 receptions for 87 yards and 2 touchdowns.
This will be the year that cements Hilton’s status as a star or a has-been.
3. Serves as a mentor to young WR’s on roster
Zach Pascal is still on the roster, and Parris Campbell entered the 2019 season with high expectations that were derided by a season-ending injury.
Could a changing of the guard at QB also result in a similar changing of the guard at WR?
Youth is celebrated in the NFL.
Pascal is 25, and Campbell is 22.
With Devin Funchess gone to free agency (signed with Green Bay), there was brief speculation that the Colts may look outside the current roster for WR assistance.
Funchess is just the latest in the Colts checkered history of free agent WR signings that were high-risk additions that reaped low rewards.
With that in mind, it seems unlikely the team will go down that path again in 2020.
Admittedly, the 2020 WR draft class is deep, but the Colts will have to see how the chips fall in the first round.
Their first draft pick is in the 2nd pick of the 2nd round (34th overall.)
Looking ahead to 2020
T.Y. Hilton’s performance in 2020 most likely will hinge upon Philip Rivers.
Rivers has a good relationship with Head Coach Frank Reich and Offensive Coordinator Nick Sirianni; both previously worked with him during their time with the Chargers.
Another factor is the running game.
Marlon Mack could lighten the load for Rivers, but this could impact T.Y. Hilton’s production.
Regardless of what happens, the Andrew Luck mourning period is officially over, and the Colts’ offense will be ready to embark on a new chapter hopefully ending in a trip to Super Bowl 55 in Tampa on February 7, 2021.NEXT: 2 Players Who Could Break Out For The Colts In 2020