Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni indicated during a media session Monday that he anticipates Hines playing a significant role in the passing game in 2020, Kevin Bowen of 107.5 The Fan Indianapolis reports. Hines has more competition for reps with second-round rookie Jonathan Taylor joining Marlon Mack and Jordan Wilkins in the Indianapolis backfield. Fortunately for Hines, none of the other three is particularly proficient as a pass catcher, an area where the third-year back shines. With Indianapolis bringing in quarterback Philip Rivers to run the offense, Sirianni suggested Hines could handle a similar role as Danny Woodhead did with the Chargers in 2015, when he compiled 80 receptions while playing alongside Rivers. The 38-year-old Rivers has become even more reliant on his running backs in the years that followed Woodhead's departure, as he targeted Austin Ekeler 108 times in his final season with the Chargers.
Hines faces increased competition for playing time in the Indianapolis backfield after the Colts took Jonathan Taylor with the 41st pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Hines operated in a traditional runner/receiver timeshare with Marlon Mack last season, seeing 52 carries and 58 targets while playing 31.5 percent of offensive snaps in 16 games. His snaps could decrease significantly with Taylor now in the mix. However, Hines may still emerge as the primary receiving specialist out of the backfield.
Hines should get more opportunities on offense this upcoming season, potentially benefiting from playing with Philip Rivers, Zak Keefer of The Athletic reports. Hines operated in a traditional runner/receiver timeshare with Marlon Mack last season, seeing 52 carries and 58 targets while playing 31.5 percent of offensive snaps in 16 games. Those numbers were all down from the 85 carries, 81 targets and 43.9 percent snap share he handled during his 16-game rookie campaign in 2018. The Colts were fifth in run-play rate (46.4 percent) with Jacoby Brissett replacing Andrew Luck under center, but the offense should open up for more passing under Rivers, who has a long history of peppering his running backs with targets. As evidence, LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles, Mike Tolbert, Danny Woodhead, Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler each had at least one season with 75-plus targets playing alongside Rivers in the Chargers backfield. Given Mack's limited pass-catching usage to this point in his career, Hines stands a reasonable chance to crack that 75-target mark, though he probably won't reach peak Woodhead/Ekeler territory in triple digits.
Hines carried seven times for 34 yards and added three receptions for 22 yards on five targets in the Colts' 38-20 loss to the Jaguars in Week 17. After taking two punts to the house in the Colts' Week 16 win over the Panthers, Hines had a more muted impact on special teams in the regular-season finale, collecting 44 yards across his three total returns. Instead, Hines offered his primary contributions as a change-of-pace option behind top back Marlon Mack. Hines' 56 total yards from scrimmage were his most since Week 12, and his second-best output of the season overall. Expect the 2018 fourth-round pick to maintain his spot as the No. 2 option on the backfield depth chart entering training camp next summer.
Hines had a four-yard run on his sole carry and added a two-yard catch during Sunday's 38-6 win over Carolina. He also compiled 195 yards and two touchdowns on three punt returns. Hines extended the Colts' lead to two scores midway through the first quarter with an 84-yard touchdown on a punt return. He subsequently put the game away midway through the fourth quarter with a weaving 71-yard runback. They were the first two return touchdowns of Hines' career. The season ends next Sunday versus the Jaguars, against which Hines ran for 11 yards and a touchdown on three carries and gained 44 yards on a pair of kick returns back in Week 11.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|3||09/27||New York Jets||9||14.50|
|11||11/22||Green Bay Packers||26||21.22|
|14||12/13||@Las Vegas Raiders||0.00|
|3 Year Avg||68||256||2||54||372||1||80|