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COLTS MAILBAG

Posted Apr 17, 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.

 

DAVID H. (from Sebring, FL) I see many Colts fans bickering and whining about (Ryan) Grigson’s selections.  Just remember, last year most fans only thought we would win maybe four games, but we won 11.  I like what he has done for this team and its direction.  All I see is a bright future.  We have a great bunch of players.  I trust him!  I don’t care if he traded all our draft picks away and just brought in undrafted free agents.  He has shown that he knows how to build a team.  Either jump on board as a fan, or you’re not a true Colts fan.

A:  People always are going to have their opinions, and they are entitled to them.  Ryan plotted an outstanding course last year, and I think he has done so again.  We are a couple of days into our voluntary workouts, and everything is running well.  Guys are happy to be back.  About 70 of them showed up on Monday.  That’s about a 95 percent attendance rate, and those who weren’t here had valid reasons and should join us shortly.  The vibe is good, very good, and there’s a lot to look forward to, and that certainly includes the players Ryan brought in this year.  I know you’re on board with us, and we have room for more.  I like how you feel.

 

PATRICK K. (from Danbury, NC) Do you think Andrew Luck will excel more in the West Coast offense Pep Hamilton is installing?

A:  I think the offense will be a good fit for Andrew, and I think last year’s was, too.  I know Andrew took more hits than anyone wanted, but he thrived.  That said, I’m looking forward to this year.  I think you will see natural maturation with him, and the attack should be very tough to defend.  The expression Tony Dungy said over and over again when he was here was, “If we play to our ability level, we should be fine.”  I kind of get that feeling.  If we execute, stay healthy and grounded, it could be a real fun year to watch.  None of what I said, though, negates the work needed to get there.

 

GUADALUBE G. (from Westfield, NC) Do you think the Colts will repeat the success they had last year?

A:  I think we have every chance to do so.  I know the bar is set high.  Jim Irsay, Ryan Grigson and Coach Pagano mentioned it at the end of last year, and now it is time to go about it.  What worked well last year was everyone buying into the program.  You heard a number of players allude to that frequently last year.  You know why?  Because it was true.  We need the same thing this year because of how competitive the league is.  We’re not promised anything, and I’m sure that will be one of the messages.  It’s a yearly proposition, so guys have to start just like they did this time a year ago.  There is no substitute for work.

 

MELANIE M. (from Danbury, NC) Do you think the West Coast offense is more suited for Andrew Luck than the vertical passing offense Bruce Arians installed?

A:  I think people will see Andrew flourish in it, but I thought he did very well last year in Bruce’s offense.  There seems to be a number of questions along this line this week, and no one should look at last year as an inferior attack.  It produced results, and so will this year’s.  I do think there is a true sense of excitement with Pep Hamilton here, and there should be.  It will be a fun spring as we watch the offense take shape.

 

JILLEENA B. (from Sandy Ridge, NC) Do you think the Colts are satisfied by the group of receivers they have now, or will they try to improve it through the draft?

A:  I’m not sure we’re ever satisfied with status quo.  It doesn’t seem to be our nature.  I think we want to see second-year growth in T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazill for sure.  Nathan Palmer should be a good watch, too.  Reggie is Reggie, and the addition of Heyward-Bey is good.  His presence can be a boon for others, and his speed can help us, too.  We have a few other players on hand who will have a chance to show themselves.  I would not be surprised if a pick in the draft yielded another prospect.  You never stop trying to improve things when you can.  Ryan Grigson always is on the prowl.

 

ADAM M. (from Lawrence, IN) I am excited by this next Colts season.  I believe they are truly “Building a Monster.”  Do you think as I do the Colts will re-gain the division throne?  People are pointing out that the Texans got Ed Reed.  I like to shoot back that we have Antoine Bethea and LaRon Landry, the best All-Pro tandem at safety in the NFL!  What is your take on the Texans’ Ed Reed signing?

A:  I like your aggressive attitude and defense of the Colts.  We do want to re-gain the title.  It’s not ours by right, but we have won it a few times, and we had a good head-to-head series with Houston last year.  Winning the division is job one, and we don’t discount Tennessee and Jacksonville.  The Titans have been active shoppers in free agency like we have, and Jacksonville is focusing on improvement and building through the draft.  Their GM, Dave Caldwell, saw that process work here a few years back.  As for Houston adding Ed Reed, he’s been very productive for a long time, and I know the respect we have for him.  I’m sure Wade Phillips, one of the league’s great guys, will find ways to use him.  We’ll deal with it and take our shots.

 

MARY H. (from Martinsville, IN) Has former Colts wideout Marvin Harrison officially filed his retirement papers with the NFL, beginning the requisite five-year waiting period for Hall of Fame consideration?  The last I heard an update on this matter was about a year and a half ago.

A:  I have no indication that Marvin has filed his papers, and I don’t know that it is a real factor in him being considered.  Will we see him play again?  No.  The last time I spoke with him was in 2010, and he laughed that if he played that day for us in Philly that he only had “two-or-three” plays in him.  I think you will see solid debates on Marvin and Tony Dungy this year in the process.  Both are worthy of talk and in my opinion, inclusion.  It would be a great day if they both were chosen, and I hope it happens soon for both.

 

KEN Z. (from Avon, IN) Are there any plans to do another Open House at Lucas Oil Stadium at the end of the post-draft mini-camp again?  I really enjoyed getting a very early view of the team, and my 18-month old had a blast running around on the field and would probably get even more out of it this year.  Even if it isn’t for selling season tickets, I hope it is something that the Colts may consider continuing in the future.

A:  Yes, the team will host an open mini-camp practice at Lucas Oil Stadium on June 12.  Practice tentatively is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m., but we will have some other activities for fans prior to the start of practice.  More details will come on Colts.com in the next few weeks.  Fans enjoyed that practice last year, and this will be a great chance to see the team and build more memories.  Hope we see you there.

 

DAN (from Fort Wayne, IN) I like the signing of Darrius Heyward-Bey, but why did we only sign him to a one-year deal?  Why not a long-term deal?  Is this something we can start to expect, signing WRs to one-year deals and letting them go the following year in free agency?

A:  I don’t think there is a pattern that you will see forming like that on an annual basis.  That’s how it has been so far, but I don’t think that’s a notion that is set in stone.  Good question, though.  Darrius said he’s motivated whether he has a one- or 10-year deal in place.  Who wouldn’t be that way with a chance to be a part of what can go on here?

 

RAY S. (from Canyon Country, CA) As a huge fan of T.Y. Hilton, (I have followed his career since his sophomore year in college), I am concerned with the implementation of the West Coast offense.  Coach Pep is known in college for running a lot of two-TE sets.  Granted, we have two very good tight end in both Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener.  In stating that, I am in no way discounting the potential production of Darrius Heyward-Bey.  He is a legitimate second receiver, and I also I feel that T.Y. is most effective in the slot.  Given his great speed and breakaway abilities, I personally do not want to see him get less looks than last year.  Do you think the West Coast offense is going to take looks and playing time away from T.Y. as a slot receiver?  And, I would also appreciate your personal opinion on this issue of T.Y. potentially not getting the ball more than last year, and Allen and Fleener getting more looks.  Thank you.

A:  There is only one ball in the offense, but I wouldn’t worry if I were you.  T.Y. showed a great deal of maturity last year in his approach and with how he sought instruction from the coaches and Reggie Wayne.  I don’t think he will change that nature.  We do want to see him work in the weight room to get a bit bigger.  More than anything, we want an offense where players are united for the good of the team, and that’s not been an issue here either.  “Trust, Respect and Loyalty” is a theme here, and it is put into practice, not only words.  Just relax.  I think there will be enough to go around for everyone.  I think T.Y. will be fine.

 

JOHN T. (from Fishers, IN) My wife got me a brick with my name engraved on it.  They sent me the brick and the paperwork on where it was located at Lucas Oil Stadium, but we have lost the paperwork.  Who do I contact to find out where my brick is?

A:  We will be starting a “Phase Two” soon for selling the next set of bricks and at that time, we will have a sales representative in place who can help with looking at old documents in hopes of finding the brick.  We will announce the campaign on Colts.com, and it will have contact information.  Please check back on Colts.com soon for that information.  Until then, the bricks are located on the northeast side of the stadium, near the corner of South and Capitol Street if you want to find it in advance.  

 

PHIL D. (from Los Angeles, CA) What are the chances of us re-signing Dwight Freeney?  I know he comes at a high price and maybe has lost a step or two, but he is still a good player.  Colts fans lost Peyton Manning last year and Dwight this year.  Those two have been cornerstones to our team for years.  It irks me to see both of them gone.  I have one Peyton jersey and two Dwight Freeney jerseys and feel like I have lost something.  Dwight only had one year in our new 3-4 defense and was hurt for a few games.  Two more years at eight million seems fair to me.  I will never forget that sack Dwight had on Drew Brees after his leg injury in the Super Bowl! #Colts All Day Everyday.

A:  Loyalties don’t need to die with how you feel about Peyton and Dwight, but I don’t know that there would be a return for Dwight here.  If so, you’re in good shape.  If not, I hope you find someone else to support.  We have great memories of them and many past players, and I hope you are able to identify with some new faces.  It’s natural to feel the way you do, and your ending tagline above is appreciated.  Keep up the spirit and the season will be here soon.  There’s nothing wrong with wearing the jerseys you have.  The only problem would be if you ever chose another team.   

 

RAYMOND R. (from Elkhart, IN) Is Vick Ballard going to be the number one running back, or are we looking for someone else to fill that role with Ballard being a third-down back?

A:  I don’t see him being relegated to a minor role in the offense.  How we go about the running game in the new offense will be very interesting.  I like all our guys.  They have different talents, and we’ll find a way to tie things together.  I think they all have good heads on their shoulders and will look for opportunities.

 

ERIC N. (from Zhenjiang, China) Is there any chance the Colts are considering adding Maurice Purify to the roster?  He's a talented young man and would make a nice addition to our camps/pre-season.

A:  I have heard nothing along these lines, but thanks for asking.  Thanks also for being a mailbag reader/contributor from far away.  Hope you can keep up with Colts news.

 

MARK P. (from Noblesville, IN) With all the outstanding signings during the off-season there were no signings of a pure defensive pass rusher.  Do the Colts select one during the draft, or just go with what they have on their roster?

A:  We have a few guys here who will have a shot at it.  We hope Jerry Hughes can make a push.  There are others, but I would not be surprised if we add something in the draft.

 

BRIAN H. (from York, PA) Hi Craig, love the mailbag.  I have been a Colts fan since I was a kid, and it wasn’t always easy.  I stuck by them for the good and the bad.  I bleed blue.  I’m so excited for the upcoming season.  I’m a huge fan of the running game and all (its) aspects.  That’s why Edge was one of my favorites.  He could do it all.  Was not a Joe Addai or Donald Brown fan, but I love Vick Ballard and was very impressed with him.  All these people say we need running backs.  Am I missing something?  Will Ballard get the nod as our number one back?  I think he proved he can do it and was very successful.  I know we have Carter and Brown that need carries.  My fear is they will take away from Vick and what at he can do.  I really think he could have a 1,200-to-1,500-yard year if utilized right.  What are your thoughts on this?  I need you to put my mind to ease on this because I would really like to see him get 20-25 carries a game.  I think he can be a workhorse.  Thanks from the only Colts fan in Pennsylvania.  Needless to say, it’s hard to talk football with a bunch Eagles fans.

A:  I doubt you’re the only Colts fan in the area given our history in Baltimore, but you likely are out-numbered tremendously by Eagles fans.  I think Vick can have another good season.  Whether we see a back with 20-to-25 carries is another matter.  That’s a bunch of carries, and I don’t think offenses around the league are built that way as much anymore.  Edge was special and unique, and it’s not fair to use him as a measuring stick.  I disagree with you on Joseph and Donald.  Joe was effective and Donald has been, too.  He can run it inside and out.  Like the T.Y. supporter above, just relax.  I think we’ll be fine.  Thanks also for following for years.  Yes, some were leaner than others.  Putting together the highlight film from one year in the 1990s when one team’s kicker out-scored our entire team over 16 games made for an uphill challenge.  We got it done, though, and honestly, though one of our 14 touchdowns was shown twice. 

 

NATHAN T. (from Anderson, IN) Bruce Arians loved throwing the ball deep last season, and it didn’t seem like it was the greatest fit for Andrew Luck.  So I’m compelled to ask:  Do you think Luck and the offense will perform better next year with Pep Hamilton (as opposed to Arians), who coached him at Stanford?  Or do you believe the main problem was the fact that it was #12’s first season in the league?

A:  I think last year’s offense fit our talent pretty well, and Andrew had a terrific season.  I don’t know anyone who thinks differently.  Maybe I’m reading your question wrongly.  How Andrew plays as a second-year pro will be a bunch of fun to watch.  I do think we will see it run differently this year with Pep Hamilton, but I never would point a finger at Bruce.  Andrew is fortunate to have had him last year, and he is just as lucky (for the lack of a better word) that Pep is here now.  Both coaches are gifted, as is Andrew.  Pray for health and it should be an exciting ride.

 

COLE R. (from Claremont, NC) Will the Colts draft a quarterback?

A:  In 28 years, I’ve heard so many coaches and people around the league say, “I’m not surprised by anything that happens.”  I always chuckle at that because this business truly can stun you at a moment’s notice.  You’re never immune to it.  That said, I’d be surprised if we did draft a quarterback.  I think we’re fine. 

 

D. M. (from Crawfordsville, IN) I totally agree with Trudy that Wabash College in Crawfordsville would be a fantastic place for camp.  What would it take to get it here?  I see Peyton Manning is doing voluntary workouts at Duke.  My question, is Andrew Luck following those same things that made Manning a step ahead of the competition?  I hope he is somewhere with all receivers doing the same thing.

A:  Training camp sites must be big enough to house and feed about 180 people, with meeting rooms and quality practice fields and ample locker room space.  I never have seen the facilities at Wabash, but hosting a camp is a huge deal, and we haven’t even talked about parking needs.  Additionally, a university still has its own business initiatives to conduct at the same time.  It doesn’t just shut down for three weeks, though a university staff must scoot over a bit.  Any institution has to weigh how or if it could continue to operate its normal business while having a major intrusion.  The security and city planning are big elements, and those are just a portion of the things that must be considered.  As for Andrew and his receivers, I am sure they have or will be on the same page very soon.  We approach the spring seriously (within all rules), and I don’t believe you will have any concerns.

 

WILLIAM R. (from Indianapolis) The Star article of 4/11 states that about 5,500 season tickets remain to be sold and will be put on sale next week.  Later in the article it is said that Colts season ticket holders (of which I am one) can view available seats on 6/12 to be able to upgrade if desired.  This makes no sense as it should be assumed that most of the 5,500 available tickets will be sold before 6/12. Why would season ticket holders not be give first choice of the remaining tickets prior to them being offered to the general public?  I have long wondered why the Colts do not have an interactive map of Lucas Oil Stadium showing available seats. This would allow season ticket holders to see what is available and immediately upgrade on-line.  Bankers Life has such a map.  The Colts IT people need to get this done.

A:  The reference to upgrading current season ticket holders on June 12 is not the complete story.  Season ticket holders annually may request seat improvement or additions via forms available on our website in February.  We are just about to complete that process and send notifications to those that made requests.  Then we turn our attention to the wait list, followed by the general public.  If any tickets would remain available on June 12, those seats would be open for any of the groups mentioned above to purchase.  We are looking at evolving our current seat improvement process to an electronic version that would utilize our virtual venue for the 2014 renewal season.  I hope that answers your question.   

 

COREY G. (from Indianapolis) Right on for great answers, brother.  I am a big Chuck Pagano fan.  I tell everybody he's good for 10 wins a year at least.  Ryan Grigson is killing it right now.  Chuck said he was going to build the MONSTER, and he is.  Do you think we should look at Tyrann Mathieu or another corner for depth, or go pass rusher with our first pick?

A:  Thanks for being so big on Ryan and Coach.  They are tremendously talented.  I hope Coach is good for 10 wins at year.  If so, a lifetime contract is in order.  We made great strides last year, and we have added to it this year through free agency and a trade.  How we solidify a corner position is one of the big stories this spring.  Another, obviously, is the pass rusher.  We may have those guys on roster already.  If not, we’ll go find them.  How we pick at 24th or if we stay there is a great question to be pondered for the next week.  I have no answers, but I share the intense interest you and all others have.


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