INDIANAPOLIS – Nyheim Hines is a single of the extra approachable, personable and obliging players in the locker room. Or on Zoom.
He’s participating and considerate. He’s a person of individuals reputable “voices’’ who generally has something worthwhile to offer you no matter the topic.
It takes a lot to set him off.
But talk to Hines about the notion he’s been a effective “gadget guy’’ in Frank Reich’s offensive toolbox, and duck.
The Indianapolis Colts’ veteran managing back again does not react with a raised voice or by waving clinched fists in the air, but there even so is an edge which is usually lacking.
Gadget person? And keep in intellect, the description was not lofted in his way in a derogatory manner. Absolutely everyone realizes the 2018 fourth-spherical draft pick has been 1 of the Colts’ most versatile offensive weapons, 1 that routinely assessments the innovative competencies of Reich to maximize his assorted, big-participate in abilities.
“I’ve never ever been a gadget dude,’’ Hines mentioned previous week on a Zoom conference simply call. “I hate when individuals connect with me that.’’
His voice was calculated, but the stare was evidence of the degree of his irritation.
“I never feel I’ve at any time been that,’’ Hines ongoing. “I’ve played functioning back again my full everyday living. I have constantly been equipped to operate the ball in among the tackles. Very last 12 months I assume that was a action to that.
“Ever due to the fact I have been in the NFL I’ve listened to all the things – the gadget male, way too small to run in among the tackles – so I consider final yr was a fantastic initial move.’’
There was a little bit additional.
“This calendar year I’m searching to create on that simply because I loathe when people connect with me a gadget male,’’ he stated. “I’m not a gadget dude. I’m a soccer player. That is how I see it.’’
Marcus Brady is in his very first calendar year as offensive coordinator but witnessed Hines’ expansion although serving as the Colts’ quarterbacks’ mentor given that 2018. He sees the elite speed, elusiveness, and risk in the open discipline that Hines possesses as a runner and receiver.
“He’s certainly a weapon,’’ Brady stated. “He’s a dude you can rely on in the backfield, even just handing the ball off. You usually converse about having him out of the backfield, acquiring him out in room, but he does a great occupation in among the tackles where by he’s equipped to get by there and then use his speed to create explosive performs for us.
“He’s just grown. His vision has grown, his endurance has developed via the holes, and that just will come from working experience.’’
Did Brady understand Hines’ disdain for the “gadget guy’’ description?
“I recognize exactly where he’s coming from, certainly,’’ he said. “And he should not acquire it as a knock because he’s not just a gadget player, but he does have that ability that does deliver complications to defenses.
“He is just far more than that.’’
He’s been a small bit of this, a good deal of that.
In three seasons, Hines has left footprints as a runner, receiver and returner. In truth, considering the fact that 2018 he’s 1 of just 8 gamers to rating a touchdown hurrying, receiving and returning. And of that exceptional team, only Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill – with a absurd 43 all round TDs in 42 online games – has produced a lot more TDs than Hines’ 15. Atlanta’s Cordarrelle Patterson has eight.
“With every possibility I feel I’ve gotten a lot more assured,’’ Hines mentioned. “My rookie yr I experienced to determine out the recreation a bit. I tried out to learn from Andrew (Luck) and individuals fellas. In 2019, I imagine I took a action ahead, became a punt returner.
“Last 12 months, I believe I took off, and I think it really arrived down to my frame of mind and building the most of my opportunities. In our offense, if you do not make the most of your possibilities, you’re not heading to get an additional opportunity.
“Also, I have my own God-specified skills – my speed, quickness and athleticism that I work on every single year. I have uncovered more assurance in myself, much too.’’
Reich never has lacked self confidence in Hines, but it’s been a weekly challenge getting methods to utilize his versatility in a backfield that’s showcased Marlon Mack and Jonathan Taylor and bundled occasional doses of Jordan Wilkins. Early on, it was as a 3rd-down or improve-of-speed back, 1 adept at creating mismatches in the passing sport.
An remarkable tidbit: Hines’ 170 receptions are the most by a Colt functioning back again in his to start with a few seasons (Marshall Faulk experienced 164 and Edgerrin James 149) and the fourth most total (T.Y. Hilton 214, Marvin Harrison 196, Austin Collie 172).
When main punt returner Chester Rodgers endured a season-ending knee personal injury in week 13 of 2019, the coaching staff members turned things around to Hines. He experienced struggled returning punts early in his profession, but labored diligently with assistant mentor Frank Ross and turned a single of the NFL’s extra feared experts.
In week 16 from Carolina, Hines returned a few punts for 195 yards, together with 84- and 71-yard touchdowns. The yardage and TDs were being solitary-video game club records while the yardage was the most in the NFL because 2004.
As Hines stated, 2020 represented a noticeable action up as a operating back. He established profession highs with 89 makes an attempt, 380 yards, a few TDs and a 4.3 typical although operating at the rear of Taylor, the a lot-hyped next-spherical draft decide. In his 1st two seasons, Hines had 11 rushes that attained at least 10 yards. Very last period, he broke off 17 through the regular season and added 33- and 29-yarders in the playoff decline at Buffalo.
That is a “chunk play’’ in the operate sport (10 yards or additional) on 25.3% of his tries in 17 online games. Taylor, who would end third in the league in speeding and was the unquestioned workhorse, had 38 gains of at the very least 10 yards on his 253 overall makes an attempt (15%).
Alongside with bringing flexibility to the huddle, Hines signifies sturdiness. He’s a person of 5 Colts – All-Professional guard Quenton Nelson, wideout Zach Pascal, lengthy-snapper Luke Rhodes and linebacker Zaire Franklin are the other individuals – to surface in 51 online games, like the playoffs, since 2018.
The Colts’ motivation to Hines may possibly manifest itself in an extension this summer months. He’s entering the closing yr of his rookie agreement.
“It’s on my brain naturally,’’ he reported, “but I haven’t considered that significantly about it. I’m just allowing my agent cope with it. My job is to be the most effective participant I can be and the finest leader I can be.
“At the very least for me, I know when they phone 21, I know it’s showtime, and I imagine that’s what all those people other (managing backs) say, too. When we get the likelihood, it’s time to go.’’
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