INDIANAPOLIS – It was a rare side of T.Y. Hilton.
Asking players about their goals for an upcoming season is sort of an off-season ritual for media members.
It’s one that those covering the Colts have kind of skipped over when talking to T.Y. Hilton.
Outwardly stating individual goals is something that Hilton has shied away from in recent years.
That has changed in 2017.
Hilton knows exactly what he wants this coming season, just one year after leading the NFL in receiving yards.
It’s probably the lone area of Hilton’s game that is missing from him being acknowledged, around the league, as a definite elite wideout.
In Hilton’s previous five seasons, his touchdown numbers have looked like this:
-2016: 6 touchdowns
-2015: 5 touchdowns
-2014: 7 touchdowns
-2013: 5 touchdowns
-2012: 7 touchdowns
When new Colts’ receivers coach Sanjay Lal took the job earlier this year, Hilton was a major reason why Indianapolis was such an attractive position.
But Lal also saw a chance for Hilton’s game to ascend even higher.
“There’s certain routes that he can become better at,” Lal says. “He can make decisions faster on his option routes. He’s already very good with great feel, but he can be even better. He can be more consistent with every phase of his game.”
Lal really appreciates how Hilton carries himself in his daily work ethic.
“What I’ve seen is a savvy vet, a guy that comes and competes in practice,” Lal says. “That was very impressive. He gets pissed when things aren’t going right. He will get the group going, get himself going and I see a joy. When he makes a play, I see a joy and that’s really good to see.
“If you have your bell cow listening, taking part and asking questions, the rest of the room will follow. Again, I’m grateful to him for having that quality.”
For the remaining naysayers of Hilton, a double-digit touchdown season would do a lot to silence them.
Last year, Hilton’s six receiving touchdown ranked 25th in the NFL.
He’s ready to change that in 2017.
“They still don’t see me as a top-five receiver so at the end of the day I’m going to leave that where it’s at,” Hilton says.
“My stats speak for themselves. I want to get back to winning, get back into the playoffs.”
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