Nyheim Hines Shares Feelings on Finish to 2021 Season, Confidence in Matt Ryan

Nyheim Hines

Getty Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines compared losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 18 last season to a bad breakup.

The new league year in the NFL has started, but Indianapolis Colts players continue to answer questions about the end of the 2021 season.

Colts running back Nyheim Hines is now the latest to do so with an unusual metaphor.

“Honestly, it’s like after a really, really bad breakup,” Hines said in a press conference on May 4 when describing the lessons learned from 2021. “You’re hurt for a little while but actually when you move on and get to the other side, it feels a lot better. But I think that’s kind of how it is.

“It’s like a really, really bad breakup or marriage — doesn’t mean we’re done. People get remarried, people meet some other people and get happy.”

Hines sounds confident that the Colts are through the worst of their “bad breakup” and will be able to “pick up the pieces” this season because of quarterback Matt Ryan.

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Nyheim Hines Says He Loves Matt Ryan

There has been no shortage of Ryan fanfare in the Colts organization since the team acquired the quarterback on March 21. Hines is just the latest Colts player to rave about the 14-year veteran.

“Love him,” Hines said on May 4. “He doesn’t know the playbook as well as Philip [Rivers] yet but just his detail, his leadership, him just talking to us after every route, coming and talking to every guy. It’s great. I think it’s going to be great for us.

“I think it’s going to be great for myself and this offense. I think the sky’s the limit with Matt [Ryan]. So, I’m super excited to work with him.”

This season will be the first time Ryan plays for an NFL team other than the Atlanta Falcons. But Ryan has a lot of experience switching playbooks having played for a lot of different offensive coordinators. Just last year, Ryan learned a new system in Arthur Smith’s first season in Atlanta.

Ryan has been the model of consistency throughout his career. He recorded 10 straight 4,000-yard passing seasons from 2011-20. Ryan has also thrown for at least 20 touchdowns in every season since his rookie year.

Last year, Ryan ended his 4,000-yard passing yards streak with 3,968 yards. He also had 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

But it was Ryan’s first season without two-time All-Pro receiver Julio Jones in 10 years, and his replacement, Calvin Ridley, only played in five games. The Falcons didn’t have a wide receiver reach 800 yards.

The Colts possess a very young core of wide receivers, but the group’s upside is high. Indianapolis has also expressed its desire to involve Hines more often in the passing game.

Nyheim Hines to Be the Next Cordarrelle Patterson?

Hines won’t start ahead of Jonathan Taylor in the Colts backfield, but there’s no doubt that Hines expects to make an impact this season. Hines told the media on May 4 that he views the organization’s push for him to get more touches, especially as a slot receiver, this year as an “opportunity.”

The Falcons were ranked 29th in yards and 26th in scoring last season. But one thing the Colts could copy with Ryan from last year is how the Falcons used running back Cordarrelle Patterson. He set career highs with 618 rushing yards and 548 receiving yards. Patterson led the Falcons with 1,166 yards from scrimmage and 11 total touchdowns, five of which were receiving.

Hines has the ability to be that kind of player. He wasn’t used in that way enough with Carson Wentz behind center last year, but Hines expects things to be different with Ryan.

“We’re definitely looking at film to see how all of us backs can be utilized. I truly think with Matt [Ryan], I think he’s going to get us all involved,” Hines said. “I think the ball’s going to go where it’s supposed to go. Sometimes it will go to the backs, and I think we’ll make the most of the opportunity.

“Really with him, he’s so intelligent, you can see the experience. I have a really, really good feeling about working with him.”

With Philip Rivers at quarterback in 2020, Hines had his best season as a pass-catcher, recording 63 catches for 482 yards and four touchdowns. Last season, he receive 19 fewer targets and posted 40 receptions, 310 receiving yards and one touchdown.

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