The Indianapolis Colts made some players available to the media prior to the start of Training Camp this week. Two of the players made available were star running backs Nyheim Hines and Jonathan Taylor.
The press conferences for each player were relatively brief but they did drop a few good pieces of information on their offseason and their preparation for the upcoming year.
For Hines, he spoke a bit on what he is looking to improve upon going into his fourth year in the NFL:
Obviously speed, getting faster, getting stronger and honestly just route running – routes down the field. Hopefully get some down-the-field routes, I ran a lot of running back routes but hopefully I’ll get some 10-plus yard routes, some more deep balls. That’s really what I focused on.
What I love about this quote is that Hines mentioned that downfield ability in the passing game. Prior to last year, Hines told me in an interview that he wanted to create more explosive plays in 2020. He responded by having 19 rushes over 10 yards, which was more than he had combined in the first two years of his career.
If Hines can be more involved in the passing attack down the field, that opens up the possibilities for a more diverse offense that could even utilize more two running back sets. Hines has looked promising in the few targets he has seen down the field in his career thus far:
Hines also spoke highly on the team and general and discussed his expectations for the 2021 season:
It should be a better team than last year. We lost some key players like Philip (Rivers) but you know, everybody is back, most of the team. This is the fourth year for the 2018 draft class. Guys like JT (Jonathan Taylor) should take the next step. We have a lot of great players. Seems like a lot of people are coming into their own and I expect a lot of younger players to take big steps too.
Taylor mostly spoke about his offseason training and how he is preparing for his second year as an NFL player. One interesting addition to his training regimen was yoga.
I actually got into a lot of different things actually. I got into a lot of yoga, a lot of mindfulness. One thing with UA (Under Armour) that’ll be coming out soon, that was actually a really challenging way of training. It was really challenging. I don’t think it’s out yet, but it should be out soon. It was definitely a unique experience.
This isn't a crazy thing for an NFL player to add to their offseason, as I've talked to many players who have done yoga or some form of meditation (wide receiver Marcus Johnson talked about yoga with me before).
With the grueling season for these players, especially at a position like running back, getting involved in workouts that heal the mind and body are great for longevity.
Taylor also discussed what it will be like going through a full offseason with a real Training Camp and Preseason for the first time in the league:
That’s definitely the goal, to pick up where I left off at. The beauty of it is we have training camp to prepare to get ready for the first game. We have some preseason games so you’re able to really get that full offseason effect now so that you’ll be able to hit the ground running Week 1.
It’s essential. You do weight training, conditioning, position work but nothing gets you ready for football more than playing football. Being able to have this offseason, have this training camp, have these preseason games, it’s going to be essential not only for myself, but for the entire team in order to take full advantage of these reps.
Hopefully Taylor and Hines can both pick up where they left off last season, when they combined for 1,702 yards rushing and 795 yards receiving as a duo (including playoffs).
Follow Zach on Twitter @ZachHicks2.