INDIANAPOLIS – They were drafted for their big play ability.
But we have yet to see it on the offensive side of the ball.
However, the arrival of Philip Rivers should create a few more chances for the likes of Nyheim Hines and Parris Campbell.
And that’s a must for this offense to take another step forward.
Hines showed late last year just how dynamic he can be with the ball in his hands, returning a pair of punts for touchdowns.
That spark carrying over to the offense has not happened though.
At the 2018 Combine, Hines ran the fastest 40-yard dash (4.38) of any running back. His college tape was littered with big play after big play.
Two years into his NFL career, Hines has proven to be a very reliable receiving option out of the backfield (107 total catches), but his longest reception last season was just 21 yards. The entire NFL had more than 1,300 receptions go for longer than 21 yards, however Hines hasn’t been the guy to really dial up the YAC.
Good news for Hines comes with Rivers’ propensity of finding running backs out of the backfield. Austin Ekeler caught 92 balls last season. Former Charger running backs Darren Sproles and Danny Woodhead were frequent recipients of Rivers dumping things off.
One year after Hines ran 4.38 inside of Lucas Oil Stadium, Parris Campbell followed up with a 4.31 40-yard dash. That tied the fastest for any offensive player at the 2019 Combine.
When healthy, his 7.1 yards per reception was not what anyone thought was coming. That was the smallest for any Colts receiver (98 guys in the NFL had a higher YPR number than Campbell last year).
The arrival of a quicker rhythm, more accurate quarterback is exactly what these two guys need to offer jolts offensively.
In 2019, Rivers and the Chargers finished 4th in the NFL in yards after catch, while the Colts ranked 26th.
That’s a part of the Colts offense in which has been lacking in recent years.
Personnel at the skill group in Indy has some speed.
Now, it’s time to see if a change at quarterback means more of the needed YAC.