In the aftermath of Andrew Luck's retirement, not much, or at least not as much, is expected of the Indianapolis Colts.
Before the oft-injured signal-caller called it quits less than two weeks ago, Indy was perceived as the favorite to claim the AFC South and as a potential Super Bowl contender. But with Luck's exit has come second-guessing.
"This is the best team I've ever been a part of," Hilton told reporters on Wednesday, per The Athletic's Stephen Holder.
Asked whether Luck's choice to cut his football career short affected that understanding, Hilton added, "We take nothing away from him. But this team is good."
Hilton has been with Indy as long as Luck had. The receiver entered the pros via the third round of the 2012 draft, two rounds after Luck was selected first overall. He was present for and an integral part on four playoff teams, two division winners and one Championship Game runner-up.
And yet the receiver sees this year's iteration of the Colts, the first in his career without Luck even on the roster, as the tops.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard has certainly made sure it's the deepest. Indy's offensive line, starring Quenton Nelson, is one of the league's best. The Colts' receiver corps is more intriguing this season with Devin Funchess and Parris Campbell joining and Deon Cain returning from injury. Indy boasts the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year in Darius Leonard and a young, promising secondary with Malik Hooker and Rock Ya-Sin.
The downgrade from Luck to Brissett, a one-time starter who just received his second contract, is sizable but not irreversible. That's due in part to the pieces around the quarterback, pieces that have Hilton preaching positivity ahead of the season's start.