BY Rick Teverbaugh CNHI News Service
The Washington Times-Herald
---- — T.Y. Hilton believes he probably should be catching them all.
Hilton, the Indianapolis Colts’ second-year wide receiver, has stats from his rookie season that indicates he almost did that.
He only started one game last season but still caught 50 passes for a 17.2-yard average and seven touchdowns. Five times he amassed over 100 yards and that was a record for a Colts rookie. His 861 yards was the second highest total by a Colts rookie.
But there’s still the ones that got away.
“You are,” said Hilton when asked if he is bound to drop a few. “But, your main focus is trying not to. That’s all about that.”
The ones that stay with him aren’t the spectacular ones that just elude his grasp. “Basically the easy ones,” he said of the ones that are the easiest to recall. “You try to catch it and run with it before you really have the ball, so that’s about it. There’s always a reason (for the drops) but the fundamentals is the key.”
Hilton talked Thursday about the game slowing down for him now that he is preparing for the second season.
“Yeah, just from a mental standpoint, especially like on the defense and for a guy like T.Y., said head coach Chuck Pagano. “When you know exactly what to do, where to line up and there’s no guesswork and all that, you can play a heck of a lot faster. T.Y.’s not thinking. He played fast and you could see him the middle towards the end of last season really take off. He came in in the offseason and picked up right where he left off and he just keeps arrow up, trending in the right direction.
“He is a talented, talented guy. He is going to become an elite guy. He feels very, very comfortable with the play call and he spends time. He’s here all the time. Guys take off to go to lunch, go do this, go do that. He may go eat but he’s right back in the meeting room. He’s right back studying his iPad. He’s learning what to do so he can play fast.”
Hilton understands that he and the other second-year Colts have rather lofty expectations placed upon them
“Oh yeah. We all came in together,” he said. “We all talk. Once we get out there, we just kind of have fun and feed off one another. I’m looking forward to it, without a doubt. I know what I did last year and I’m trying to improve that this year.”
With Sunday’s pre-season game rapidly approaching, Hilton has some simple goals.
“Just go out there and have fun,” he said. “Back at it, get going on Sunday. Just make sure we know our opponent and go out there and play.”
Hilton approves of where this team has gotten two-thirds of the way through training camp.
“We’re really clicking right now,” he said. “Offense is clicking, defense is clicking and special teams is clicking. Right now, we’re just going with the motion right now and once we get together on Sunday we should just have fun.”
Hilton hasn’t yet focused much on the special teams part of his role on the team. Last year he averaged 11.5 yards per punt return.
“We really haven’t discussed that yet,” said Hilton of his part of special teams. “When we do I’ll make sure I tell you.”