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COLTS MAILBAG

Posted Apr 3, 2013

Each week readers of Colts.com can submit questions about the team and have the chance for their questions to be answered. Here are this week’s answers to selected questions that were sent. To submit a question for Craig you can visit the COLTS MAILBAG or tweet your question with the hashtag #COLTSMAILBAG.

INDIANAPOLIS – Readers of Colts.com may submit questions during the week and have a chance to have them answered during the middle of each week. Submit your question here.

Here are responses to some of the questions received recently.  We thank you for your interest in the Colts.

 

ERIC M. (from Gouldsboro, ME) If the Colts don’t end up landing Darrius Heyward-Bey, do you think that there is a potential chance that they could go after Randy Moss as maybe a short-term solution?  It doesn’t seem that a market for him is really sparking right now.  Could be at a bargain price, and it would provide a bit more veteran leadership in the locker room.

A:  As you know now, we have reached an agreement with Darrius Heyward-Bey, and we look forward to the talents he will bring.  We know about his speed, and Ryan Grigson says his finishing kick is as good as there is in the league.  Ryan also likes his size (6-2, 216) and toughness with the physical play at the position.  Had we not gotten him, I don’t believe Moss would have had much consideration.  I don’t want to disregard anything Moss has accomplished, but that move here would have been a surprise.  Like you do with veterans of his type, you wish him well.  We are pleased to add Heyward-Bey among our receivers. 

 

MELANIE M. (from Walnut Cove, NC) What positions do you think the Colts will try to address early in the draft?

A:  If you look at the areas addressed in free agency, it pretty much has been targeted across the board.  I have no inside knowledge, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s on the offensive line or in the secondary.  Those are just guesses.  Where we are picking will help determine that to some extent, but we’ll find out for sure in about three weeks.  That’s not much of an answer, admittedly.  Carnac the Magnificent might say a child of four could provide that response.  Our thoughts are hermetically sealed in the draft room, not in a #2 mayonnaise jar on Funk and Wagnall’s porch.

 

RICK K. (from Westfield, NC) Are there any free agents left on the market that the Colts are trying to target?

A:  We’ve done a great deal of shopping so far, the most signees ever in unrestricted free agency by us.  We’ve been aggressive and prudent, just as Ryan Grigson promised early in the process.  We also landed Matt Hasselbeck and Darrius Heyward-Bey through regular free agency.  I would think we’re done, but you never know.

 

ENRIQUE H. (from Bakersfield, CA) If Darrius Heyward-Bey doesn’t sign with the Colts and since they want a WR to be here after Reggie Wayne leaves will they take one at #24 (first-round pick)?  There will be good ones there like DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen, Robert Woods and Quinton Patton, so will the Colts maybe take one of them?  If Griff Whalen makes the 53-man roster he most likely won’t be one of the starting WRs, but how many games he will play in throughout the season (5 or 10 or 12, etc.)?

A:  With the addition of Darius Heyward-Bey, I don’t know if that will impact how we approach our first choice.  Getting a player of his stature who is early in his career may preclude us from taking another receiver in the first round.  We are fortunate to have young talent, some of which has gotten on the field already and some that could with some good work this spring and summer.  One recent mock draft by a former NFL GM had five receivers going in the first round, including one to us not named above.  (That was done prior to our agreement with Heyward-Bey).  There seems to be good depth at this position in the draft.  If Ryan Grigson still sees the position as a “need” one, he has demonstrated he is willing to pull deals to match need with available talent.  If Griff makes the 53-man roster, I hope he plays in every game possible.  We don’t keep guys on it and target less than playing the maximum amount of games.

 

R.J. E. (from Marion, IN) First, let me say GREAT JOB to our fearless leader, Ryan Grigson.  You turned it around faster than any of us expected.  Keep making us proud. My question is this, will training camp be held in Anderson this year?  It is not only closer to me personally, but it is central to the entire state, making it fair travel distance for all hometown fans.

A:  We’re not quite to the point yet for any news on the training camp location.  You certainly are in the backyard if we are in Anderson again.  The attendance levels have been very good during our return there.  The Indianapolis-Anderson corridor is decidedly more populated than when we trained there from 1984-98.  It is centrally located and convenient for a large number of fans.  The people at the University are solid.  We’ll see, and hopefully we have some news soon.

 

RAUL H. (from El Paso, TX) Since the Colts didn’t sign Darrius Heyward-Bey, do you think Chad Johnson and Randy Moss could probably be in the Colts mystery wide receiver mix?

A:  See above, Raul.  Prior to the Monday addition of Heyward-Bey, I was not sure there is a fit there at all for either guy.  Their playing pastures likely will have to be somewhere else.

 

MAURICE G. (from Cleveland, MS) Hello Craig!  Your columns are great!  My question is, why are the experts so confused or classifying our free agency moves as terrible?  Ryan Grigson made it clear that we would target young players who would fit our team and systems.  That’s exactly what he did.  Arguably, Erik Walden is over-paid, but no contract Grigson gave out will hinder us.  Furthermore, all these guys were healthy last year.  What gives with the negativity?  Fan since “Captain Comeback.”

A:  Thanks for the compliment.  I appreciate it and hope you keep reading.  I think the reviews of our free agent activity have been more positive than negative.  Any action like we have had will have its naysayers.  That goes with the turf.  Ryan was open about how he was going about the process.  Like always, he’s a man of his word.  I think we’ve made moves that will create great competition in the spring, and the results will show in the fall.  Your opinion of Erik Walden is noted, but we think he can contribute.  It’s an exciting time, and this month will further define our team.  Thanks for your long-term support over many years.  See if you can come up with a nickname for Andrew Luck since he played for Captain Comeback.

 

DAVID H. (from Sebring, FL) If the Colts solve the problems with their offensive line protection this year and protect Andrew Luck better, will we see more of our RBs catching the ball out of the backfield like Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes did?

Are you R-E-A-D-Y for some football?  I cannot wait until the season starts again.  Has the team set dates for when they will be starting camp and workout dates for the upcoming season?  Will they have a public workout at Lucas Oil Stadium for fans this year?

A:  I think you will see a great deal of action by our backs in the passing game this year.  The trade for Stanley Havili is another indicator that such contributions are possible this season.  Joseph was a pretty complete receiver.  Dominic was not as natural as Joseph or Edgerrin, but he worked hard.  Our current guys are capable in the passing game.  We’re getting R-E-A-D-Y, too.  The voluntary workouts start in a couple of weeks.  It’s a nine-week process that will involve more football-related work in weeks 3-5 and 6-9.  We will have a rookie mini-camp from May 10-12, some OTA work that will start after that and a full-team mandatory mini-camp from June 11-13.  On June 12, we will work in Lucas Oil Stadium in front of the public from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.  Last year, we had about 7,500 attend that session.  Let’s blow that away this year.

 

DAN (from Fort Wayne, IN) If a team went out and signed a couple big-name free agents in March and then traded those same players in April for draft picks how would that affect that team’s salary cap?  And if there is no penalty for doing that, why don’t teams do this more often?

A:  There would be no penalty for doing this, but why would a team go through the machinations of signing a free agent only to trade him?  Certainly, any signing and/or roster bonus (if the date were before the trade) would be lost, and owners and general managers hate that.  Also, if a team wanted to trade for a player signed by another team as a free agent it would have done so itself without losing a draft pick.  While there may be an unusual case where this happens (see Drew Stanton last year), it just is not really how the business goes.

 

CORY P. (from Indianapolis) Since the Colts are in need of a WR, do you think they would consider signing Domenik Hixon?  I think he would give them a tall guy that can catch for a TD if you need him to.

A:  I never heard much chatter about him in relation to us.  I’ve seen his name attached to four different teams in the free agency period.  Since we got Heyward-Bey on Monday, I would think we’re done with addressing the receiver position in free agency.

 

JONATHAN L. (from Los Angeles, CA) We have picked up some great acquisitions this offseason (Matt Hasselbeck, Ricky Jean-Francois), but don't you feel like we over-reached in free agency?  Erik Walden, who they claim is the best “edge setter” in the league, was given a ridiculously large amount of money for someone who is so one-dimensional, and the most popular pickup being LaRon Landry, who is severely injury prone.  Sure, he is a ballplayer, but only when he can play.  Anyone remember Bob Sanders?

A:  I don’t think we’ve over-reached.  We certainly would not commit dollars to a player we only hoped could play.  Give it some time.  LaRon Landry missed some time only twice in six previous seasons.  Other than that, he’s been a force, like Bob was on a number of occasions.  I bet you have more concern and care for the club than you do criticism.  Thanks for your input.

 

WAYLON H. (from undisclosed) Happy Easter, I hope you enjoy this special day. Thanks for your many years of loyal service.  GO COLTS.

A:  Very nice message, and I hope you had a Happy Easter, too.  It’s been a fun ride for a number of years.  It has been enjoyable to work here and publicize such an organization.  I hope to keep it going and inform/entertain people like you.  Thank you for your support, and let’s have a great season. 

 

I.H. G. (from Acapulco, Mexico) How would the depth chart look as of today?

A:  We don’t have one at this point and won’t likely until the week of the first preseason game.  Even then and during the season a depth chart is written in pencil, not ink.  If we were to have one now, it would not represent too much.

 

LEVI F. (from Grand Ridge, FL) I just got to say I'm a die-hard Colts fan and have been since I was I was 13.  I'm 17 now, so you know how hard it is to talk bad about your team.  I (have) to say our offensive line did a terrible job protecting Andrew Luck.  Come on, (41) sacks.  We've got to do something about that.  I will say they did OK in the run game, but we can't be letting our star QB be getting hit that many times.  I know he's young and he's tough and he did do a great job about not letting all those hits get to his head.  Is there any chance we’ll take an O-lineman in round one of the draft?  I'm a big fan of Andrew Luck, and I hope he helps take us farther than he did last season.

A:  Levi, glad you’re growing up a Colts fan.  We want to protect Andrew a bit better this year.  As we’ve said before, protection comes from all positions in an offense.  Problems aren’t always due to a lineman.  We know Andrew was sacked 41 times last year and hit on a number of additional occasions.  I think you will see those numbers come down this year, whether we take a lineman in the first round or not.  A number of players have matured and with a bit of a different approach by the design of the attack we should correct a few areas.  We very well may take a lineman in the first round, but protection is a group effort.  We’ll get it figured out.  With all the quarterback movement in the league during the last week, how that affects the first round in relation to linemen being selected will be interesting.

 

JORGE R. (from Mexico) Hi, I have a (question).  I have read that Jerrell Freeman made 200 tackles in 2012 but when I see the stats, there are just 145.  Where are the other 55 tackles?

A:  The club publishes totals compiled by its coaches after film review, not the ones that are calculated in the press box.  You likely are referring to the totals reached by the statistics crews that cover each game.  I know there can be discrepancies in this particular statistic when compared to others.  It is not uncommon, and that would account for the different total. 

 

PHIL D. (from Los Angeles, CA) I love the new additions to the team.  (LaRon) Landry and (Darrius) Heyward-Bey are perfect pick-ups.  (It’s) time to take back our division. Ryan Grigson is doing a wonderful job seeing the whole picture.  Bill Polian was all offense.  All he wanted was toys for Peyton.  Ryan is all about a whole complete team.  Now let's draft some young bucks for the defense and we will be good!  Colts Nation All Day EveryDay!!!

A:  I love the passion.  We should put you on retainer.  I agree with you completely on LaRon and Darrius, and they both could make a true impact.  Ryan is a personnel whiz, and his talents match his passion for it.  The team has been constructed differently in his short time here, and I think the fans have taken to it very well.  Bill did a tremendous job, too.  When we hired him in 1998, a colleague in Buffalo told me, “You’re going to get good and stay good.”  He was right, and we should remember that.  With a new regime, we have put some building blocks in place.  We have an attitude to compete, and we have a good coaching staff.  The vital signs are good, but only commitment to working will determine how well we compete.  Getting the division title back would be a tremendous step in the right direction.  It’s always been the number one goal for the playoff guarantee it brings.  Stay fired up.  April will be fun.

 

NICO R. (from Indianapolis) My question is regarding the ability of OG Ben Ijalana.  If I am not mistaken, he was the Colts’ second-round pick (49th overall) in the 2011 draft.  He was put on IR in early August last season and only played in four games in 2011.  Is he healthy and ready to complete for an OL spot this coming season and what are your thoughts about his abilities and his chances of improving the Colts offensive line?

A:  You are correct on Ben.  He has suffered two ACL injuries to his left knee early in his career.  The first came at Tampa Bay in 2011 in his fourth game, and it happened when he had a true chance for significant playing time.  It was very unfortunate.  Last year in training camp, it happened again on the very first drill in non-contact work.  He said it was the same step he had taken “1,000 times and hundreds of times after the first ACL injury.”  Ben still is rehabbing.  Spring work may not be possible.  He’ll probably be limited to conditioning work, sprints and agility drills.  Training camp is a more realistic target.  I hope Ben can make a push.  Everyone here wants to see it.  He is a great guy who has had two tough injuries in a difficult sport.  Injury-prone?  I wouldn’t say that.  He wants to make an impact, and he has a GM in Ryan Grigson who would like to see that, too. 

 

JIM K. (from Chicago, IL) We are having a Vietnam reunion in Indy the second week of the season.  If the Colts are home what is the best way I can get 8 to 10 tickets for my vet friends and me?  We will be staying at the reunion hotel Marriott near the stadium.  There are 1000 vets going to the reunion, so I am trying to get tickets as soon as I can.  Any help will be appreciated.  Thanks.

A:  Jim, I hope there is something we can do, but it is too early for us to help with your request.  It may be that we aren’t home that weekend.  Also, if after selling season tickets and group tickets we have any single-game tickets to sell, they will be made available later this summer.  It probably would be around July.  We are fortunate that we have a long string of sellouts, and response from our regular buyers is very strong.  There may be a chance, but only after our season and group efforts have ended.  You might want to re-visit our website around that time for any announcements.  I hope you understand.  All of us with the club thank you and your friends for wonderful service to our country.  We hope the reunion goes well and that you enjoy our city. 

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