Colts Know They Must Find Help For T.Y. Hilton At Wide Receiver


Colts Know They Must Find Help For T.Y. Hilton At Wide Receiver

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Colts Know They Must Find Help For T.Y. Hilton At Wide Receiver

The Colts know they must improve their talent at the receiver position. But how much are they willing to invest at that position?

Zach Bolinger | Getty Images

INDIANAPOLISAs much as Frank Reich is a staunch believer in his scheme and its ability to get the best of opposing defenses, he knows.


Sometimes you just need some dudes, or dogs, as offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni puts it.


Well before Reich became the Colts head coach last February, the search has been on for a more consistent No. 2 receiver opposite T.Y. Hilton.


Ever since Reggie Wayne tore his ACL in November 2013, the Colts have been unsuccessful in their hunt for a reliable receiver target not named Hilton.


The year is 2019 and the Colts still have the need to improve the talent at receiver near the top of their priority list.


“We just don’t want people rolling the coverage to T.Y,” Reich said last week at the NFL’s Annual Scouting Combine. “Having somebody to complement him, who can make big plays down the field, I think would help.”


This comment from Reich came after him explaining his dog analogy, which was more of a roundabout way of saying the Colts would like to find more stable help for their No. 1 wideout.


Sirianni uses the K-9 term as a reference for top-flight receivers.


“What are the characteristics of a dog?” Reich explains. “The No. 1 characteristic is I can put him over there 1-on-1, it's 3rd-and-5, and I know we've got to throw a slant route or a stop route and he's going to win a high percentage of the time.


“At some point, I think that's really important to have that trait."


And, Reich still had a zinger to cap his analogy.


"If you're a dog owner, you know that two dogs are always better than one,” the grinning head coach said.


The search for another dog will ramp up in the next few weeks.


On the current roster, Ballard pumped the breaks a bit when asked about Deon Cain reaching that potential of a No. 2 receiver this coming fall.


“It’s a matter of him going out and having to prove it again,” Ballard says of Cain’s promising start to Training Camp last year. “It’s almost like he’s a rookie again. For us to sit here and say, 'No doubt this guy is going to be our No. 2 receiver,' I can’t sit here and say that. Do I think he has 2 ability? Absolutely I do.


“But to say he’s going to reach that after his rookie season, I’m not there.”


A bleak wide receiver pool in free agency likely doesn’t have that sure fire answer, especially when looking long-term. Re-signing either Dontrelle Inman or even Ryan Grant wouldn't solve things either.


Next month’s draft is one where some development will be needed if/when a wide receiver is the route that the Colts decide to take.


“To say there’s a no-doubt top-10 pick, I probably wouldn’t go there,” Ballard says of the receiver group in 2019.


“But I think there’s some really good players with traits to ascend and get better be good players in the league.”


Remember, Ballard’s draft history though does not have any sort of pattern where routinely taking receivers early in drafts is a theme.


This November, Hilton turns 30 years old.


And if the Colts can’t find that help for him quickly enough, their ascent up the mountain will be at a snail’s pace.

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