Colts Mailbag Weekend Edition: Who Is The AFC South Favorite In 2017?

Posted Jul 29, 2017

Intro: In Saturday’s mailbag, readers inquire about the injury to rookie Malik Hooker, where Barkevious Mingo fits in and an early salary cap look for 2018.

INDIANAPOLIS – Each week, readers of can submit their questions to have a chance of them being answered in our Wednesday or Saturday mailbag.

Submit your question here.

With the abundance of questions in recent weeks, we will have two mailbags each week. This one comes via a weekend edition (here’s the Wednesday version from this week).

Jesse K. (New Jersey)

Hey Kevin, hope you're doing alright. My question is about Geathers. I love him from what we've seen so far. Reminds me of Bob Sanders, ability and injury. With that comparison, do you think Geathers could actually be that glue for our defense? That third year when we won the Superbowl he was hurt, wasn't until he came back in the playoffs that our defense went from terrible to great. That year wasn't our best team, and we won the Superbowl, so you never know! Haha.

Bowen: I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to throw such a label on Geathers. Why? Because Geathers is a unique piece that is really coveted nowadays in the NFL. He’s versatile, physical and allows the Colts to do things that not many other defenders can provide. He’s a big loss. There’s no way around it.

Jarrett F. (Cory, IN)

I have noticed this years roster has looked bigger than in years past especially on the lines with the addions of Zach Banner Grover Stewart and Jonathon Hankins. I personally believe we can be a very strong team on both sides of the ball in short yardage rushing situations. What would your opinion be to have Denzel Good and Zach Banner come in as run blocking specialists for goal line situations?
LT Anthony Castonzo 6-7 311
LG Jack Mewhort 6-6 305
C Ryan Kelly 6-4 309
RG Denzel Good 6-5 345
RT Zach Banner 6-8 358
I know chemistry is important for the offensive and you normally do not change it in the middle of the game but, all of them have played together with the exception of Banner.

Bowen: I wouldn’t insert them into the middle of the five-man offensive line. I would probably bring them in as an extra tackle (lining up at tight end). That’s something the Colts have done in the past with a jumbo look involving a sixth offensive lineman. I could easily see it happening again, especially when you have that type of size on the bench.

Dustin J. (Sioux Falls, SD)

Hey Kevin. I was wondering if we could talk a little bit about Anthony Walker. After watching as of film on him as I could find, I have to wonder why he slipped to the fifth round. Am I missing something? He played against top notch competition and always seemed to play lights out. He has natural instincts. As quick as a walleye taking the bait. Knows exactly when to drop into coverage, play the run or go after the quarterback. My only concern is his size. He seems to have a slight build compared to other ILB's. He seems to me like he could be a natural edge rusher. Hes just that explosive. Would that position switch ever be considered? Is it a difficult transition? I cant remember the last time I have been this excited about a fifth round pick. Thanks. As always, I look forward to your input. 

Bonus question: My buddy claims to have hit a hole in one a few weeks ago. His only "witness" is as suspect as his claim. Should I believe him?

Bowen: I think the size was one of the reasons why Walker dropped to the final day of the draft. I cannot see Walker moving to outside linebacker though. He would have to put on more weight and doesn’t have the height you typically see from an edge guy. Leave Walker in the middle and let him compete for the open starting jobs there. He could be a future guy at ILB. With the hole-in-one question, what a dilemma?!?! I want to believe him. You want to believe him. Karma would not be good for his future golf game if he lied about that. I’m going to believe him. Future note: every time you step on a Par Three, at least wait for a maintenance worker to be close by or someone if you are playing alone.

James S. (Muncie, IN)

Kevin, I'm practically pulling my hair out waiting for the season to start. I assume this is a slightly more restful period for you though, right? Your pleasure is our pain, and vice versa, I suppose. 

Anyway, my question is about media coverage. The offseason, just like the last two years, has been down on the Colts but optimistic about the other teams in the division. If you were to predict what the talking heads were discussing about the AFC south in week 6, what would be the talking points? 
My hunch is that it would involve injuries (hopefully not Luck or JJ Watt, I love them both), the lack of improvement by Mariota (I don't believe in him), the Jags being a dumpster fire again, Deshaun Watson learning quickly, and the Colts defense actually being good. Agree?

Bowen: Summer vacation is over, James. No more free weekends until mid-November. But I love the entertainment and hustle/bustle during this time of year. I will disagree on Mariota. I think he has potential to be a Pro Bowler down the road. But I can get behind a few of your other storylines. One thing that will greatly shape the AFC South picture in 2017 is how the schedule falls for the Colts. You said Week Six. Starting in Week Six, the Colts will play five of their six divisional games in the next eight weeks. It’s a very middle-loaded divisional slate for the Colts in 2017. That should be good news if Andrew Luck comes along slowly at all in his right shoulder rehab.

Alex H. (Indianapolis)

Dear Mr.Bowen,
Thank you so much for the mailbags. I look forward to them and read both each week. I have a few questions that only you can help me with.
1.Why is it all the experts have written the Colts off?
2.The Manning era had seasons with 3 1,000yd. receivers. Could Luck do the same? If so which 2 receivers would join TY Hilton.
Thanks for the insight. #ColtsNation 4 life.
Alex H.

Bowen: 1. Back-to-back .500 seasons and no postseason will lead to the quiet chatter. Also, the rest of the AFC South seems to have some momentum through player acquisition and improved win totals of recent. The Colts are in a prove-it stage this year because they certainly are not getting a whole lot of love in preseason predictions. 3. That would be really, really hard. In my opinion, the Colts have too much depth at receiver for one guy to emerge and be the definite third option behind T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief. I can’t see a third wideout separating himself from the group like we saw with Brandon Stokley to the level of a 1,000-yard season. That’s really rare.

Ronnie O. (Cape Coral, FL)

It appears that Mr. Hooker may be Bob Sanders 2.0. Would the Colts be wise to carry an extra Safety just for this reason?

Bowen: Let’s give the rookie a chance before labeling him as injury prone. But if I were the Colts, I would be scouring the safety list of free agents. Also, when final cuts come after the preseason, I would be looking really closely at the safeties on the opener market. With Clayton Geathers going on PUP to start the regular season, I believe the Colts will carry 4-to-5 safeties on the 53-man roster. The depth there can still help you on special teams.

Richard C. (Camp Lejenue, NC)

Hey, Mr.Bowen. Big fan of the mailbag and all the work you do for us fans keeping us updated! 
My question goes to the USA TODAY projections for every team. By no means is the projection by any close to true. They had the Colts at 5-11.
I may be pessimistic but I see the team going know less than .500. Now as we get closer to the season and with the PUP list out. In your opinion, where will the Colts be this season?

Thanks again.

Semper Fi!

Bowen: Thanks, Richard. I always love hearing what is on the mind of fans. If Andrew Luck is healthy for 16 games, I can’t see the floor lower than .500 for this team. I see the Colts as a team that will be sniffing right around the double-digit win mark in 2017. The schedule is not too daunting. The defense should be better (even it is just slightly better that could lead to at least another win or two).

Brent B. (Lima, OH)

Hey I'm Brent Bowers from Lima,OH, just wanted to say I'm a huge colts fan and love your mailbags. My question is about Barkevious Mingo I haven't heard anything about him since we picked him up and was wondering is he going to start or even get any playing time this year.

Bowen: Thanks for chiming in, Brent. I appreciate it. I do not see Mingo in the starting lineup. I’ve got Jabaal Sheard and John Simon in the starting lineup at outside linebacker. After those two, Mingo should be in the mix with the likes of Akeem Ayers and Tarell Basham in competing for playing time. The Colts would LOVE to see Mingo show off some of those pass rushing traits that had him go in the top 10 of the 2013 Draft.

Michael L. (Greenwood, IN)

I have one question I know gore won't play forever unless he starts kicking lol with our running game hit and miss why not sign trey Mason the formal ram after reading his story I believe that the colts would be the best place for him to get back into it. Your thoughts.

Bowen: If someone does indeed sign Mason they are going to have to do some homework. You worry about the off-the-field reports on Mason. I don’t think the Colts would be a suitor though. Chris Ballard really likes the running back depth. It’s probably the best the depth has been in the backfield in quite some time.

Andrew E. (Lafayette, IN)

Hey kevin it's been a long while since I last wrote to you, still reading every week, twice a week though. I saw one of my questions was sort of asled already about what kind of throwing luck is doing right now, I understand you don't have specifics, my true question is for the throwing portion of his rehab is he throwing at targets? Is he allowed tp say meet up with T.Y. And doyle and moncrief before practice so he can throw to them for his rehab or is he allowed no contact with his receivers because of the pup designation. I figure if you are throwing for rehab might as well throw to your guys.and just an observation I saw you rank Brady as number one recently?!?! How dare you hahaha. I mean I get it by sure number of rings he is at the top but for everyone reading I'd like to point out that Tom has padded stats from staying in blow out games where he could have easily sat and there is the Bellicheck factor. Pats without tom went 11-5 with matt cassell and 3-1 with jimmy g, not to mention other asterisks we wont get into, in my mind its montana and manning at the top together but alas im biased a bit. Last question where is touchdown town for this Sundays practice in relation to lucas oil, im bringing my son and daughter to see our boys practice but want to let them play too instead of just sitting and watching.(this will be all of our firts time at lucas oil) thanks for all you do kb you truly help the die hard fans get through the offseason.

Bowen: Good to hear from you again, Andrew. 1. I wish I had that information on Luck’s throwing regiment. I’m not sure if he’s throwing at specific targets (I’d assume he is). Yes, he is allowed to throw to his receivers/tight ends etc. 2. On the Brady debate, I get what you are saying, but he’s also done it with constant personnel turnover at the skill positions and continues to win at the highest level this league has ever seen. He’s No. 1. Period. 3. Touchdown Town is just north of South street. Stop by and say hello during our radio show (from 11-to-1). Hope the kids have a blast!

James B. (Northeast, Mississippi)

Has the turf ever been replaced at Lucas Oil Stadium or is it still the original? I see that it is listed as FieldTurf Classic HD in the Athlons Pro Football Annual. The Colts and the Lions are the only teams that have that type of turf, from what I gather. How does,that compare to what the other stadiums with artificial turf use. There were a few diffferent types out there. What do the players prefer for turf? Thanks for keeping us up to date!

Bowen: Some great questions. Here’s some more intel into your inquiries regarding the turf at Lucas Oil. From everything I’ve heard from players, natural grass is what they prefer, even if the turf is faster.

Anthony O. (Springfield, MO)

Hey Kevin,
Thanks for your reply to my last question. I had realized after I submitted it that I forgot about other potential players, but I do hope we see the team reach 2 1k receivers this year, they have the talent there. 

Anyway my question veers to the defensive side this time. As far as the linebacker group, do you think they would carry potentially 6 to rotate in at times and keep that group fresh throughout the game? Also with Walden signing with the Titans do you see this as a move of need for them or possibly a move to get info on the Colts?

Thanks for all your hard work Kevin!

Bowen: Six linebackers at both outside and inside? You are going to need more than that. I see the Colts keeping probably 10 total linebackers. You have to have a lot of those bodies for special teams, while also rotating them throughout a game. I do think Ted Monachino will be rotating linebackers at a higher rate this year. More depth, more guys that can fit into specific situations. With the Walden move, definitely more so of a need for them. Terminology and personnel changes every year on NFL teams. Walden probably has a much smaller fraction of intel with the Colts as he did when he left due to all the changes the Colts have undergone. I am eager to see the passionate Walden see his former team twice this fall.

Chris M. (Clovis, NM)

Hey Kevin,

Not to overlook the upcoming season that I am optimistic to see with the new additions. But I became intrigued after reading an article regarding the Colts having a projected 2018 Available CAP of $60M. It also mentioned we have the likes of Mewhort, Vontae & Moncrief to potentially resign. 

Ultimately, my question is:

Do you know of any potential Free Agent targets that could be available for the Colts to look at come 2018 Free Agency?

Thanks for all you do! Go Colts!

Bowen: I’d be lying to you if I said I’ve taken that close of a look at the 2018 free agent class. I probably won’t be doing that until the calendar turns to 2018. I could see the Colts in the market though for perhaps a young running back, a cornerback, either linebacker spot. On paper, I wouldn’t put the trenches very high on the need list, but Chris Ballard is always looking to add to those groups.

Dustin B. (San Diego)

Hi Kevin, 
Thanks again for all your effort and work on the mailbag as well as the articles, videos and podcasts on! Daily reading for me :) 

Few questions.

1. Looking briefly at Phillip Dorsett's stats, they don't look that bad. I remember he had a couple bad drops. But beyond that is ypc is up there and even scored a few touchdowns. Is it possible he is just underused in the offense, or is he just not getting open when it is his time to be targeted? 

2. Any news on the RB spot battle? I was really hoping to see Ferguson improve this year and preform as well as he did from his college tape. I like what Crossan brings to the table as well. But rooting for Josh at this point. Guessing Training Camp and preseason will tell. Just curious if there has been any progression there.

3. I really like some of the names on the colts team. Luck, Basham, Mack, Gore, Hooker, Banner (hulk), Boom Bostic. Some great names for nick names or play on words. Are there any nick names being thrown around at camp yet for some of these guys? 

4. If luck misses the pre-season is there any concern about that "first hit" or are there any plans for him to take some hits from sparing to get his body ready for the first fight?

Thank you!

Bowen: 1. I think you have to lean slightly more towards not getting open enough. We saw Chester Rogers have a higher target percentage and catch percentage than Dorsett last year. I do think the Colts will explore more ways to try and get Dorsett touches, but the competition has definitely increased at receiver. 2. Check this out for more on the running back battle. 3. Haha, we’ll have to see if the coming weeks lead to any nicknames. Veterans reported this morning for camp. 4. I can’t imagine any “scripted” hits for Luck until he gets into game action (preseason or the regular season). Luck can take a hit. That’s not an issue. I’d be just fine with Luck waiting until a game.

Ethan H. (Fort Myers, FL)

Hello Kevin I just wanted to wish you a good day because today is my 18th birthday and my question for today is so how do you think the colts secondary will do this season hopefully better than past years?

Bowen: Happy belated birthday Ethan! Hope you had a great one. So many questions for the secondary in 2017. We cover a lot of them in this mailbag. If Malik Hooker can get up to speed and be ready for Week One, I still think the secondary can play at a good level in 2017. But the proven depth is lacking though. The Colts are really going to rely heavily on Hooker and Quincy Wilson. As long as those two can be quality players from Day One, the Colts should get better play from the secondary.

Joshua L. (Camp Casey, South Korea)

Hey Kevin me again, I had 2 questions for you this week. Hope your enjoying life and everything is well! Anyways i was reading an article that said Sammy Watkins could potentially be a free agent next year. Now if we let dorsett walk and the kamar aiken experiment doesnt work out, how would you feel about bringing in the trio of ty donte and sammy. I think it would be an extremely deadly combination with Andrew. Curious on your opinion! Take care!

Bowen: My first thought: that’s quite a bit of money tied up at the receiver position. That’s because I’m assuming you are re-signing Donte Moncrief to a pretty healthy contract. Is there enough ball to go around with Hilton, Moncrief and Watkins? I’m a little worried you would be committing too much money to the wideout group and not enough to the defense. That’s my biggest concern if you were to re-sign Moncrief and then spend top dollar on Watkins.

Jonathan B. (San Diego)

With Le'veon Bell holding out of camp in Pittsburg, do you think there is any possibility that the steelers would be willing to trade him? If so do you think Ballard would make a big push for Bell?

Bowen: I can’t see that from the Steelers’ standpoint. They have serious Super Bowl aspirations and the trading of Bell would be a significant hit to those. I understand why you throw out the possibility, but it’s hard to see a trade involving such a big-time player. I believe the Colts would hold off in getting involved. Future resoruces (i.e. draft picks) are way too valuable on the defensive side of the ball for the Colts. Plus, you have to wonder if Bell would even sign a long-term deal here in Indy (and every team must decide if they should pull the trigger or not).

Ben H. (Indiana)

Do you know if Andrew Luck has talked to Drew Brees about shoulder surgery and rehab?

Bowen: I don’t, but that’s a good question. I think I’ll ask Luck that on Saturday morning, when players report fo Training Camp. I am curious to know if Luck has seeked out anyone with a similar injury/rehab.

Till K. (Germany)

Hey Mr. Bowen, how are you? Loyal Fan from Germany here. Really appreciate all the work you do for us Fans all around the world. Three short questions...

1. Do you heard any new News about an NFL Game in Germany in the future? The People here really would love to see that Happening!

2. Why is Langford on the PUP? Didn't hear anything about an injury, hope he is back at 100% quite soon.

3. In the end some over/under...
- Basham 3 Sacks
- Quincy Wilson 3 Interceptions
- Andrew Luck 10 Interceptions
- Marlon Mack 450 Yards
- Donte Moncrief 9 Touchdowns

Can't wait for a hopefully great season! Go Colts!

Bowen: Till, hello from across the pond. Happy to have you. 1. I know Germany has definitely been mentioned as a possible stop for the NFL. Honestly, it seems the most logical next place to play a game, now that the NFL has gone to multiple venues in England and Mexico City. I don’t think anything specific is in the works for a game in Germany, but I really believe it will happen in the near future. The NFL wants to keep growing internationally and Germany seems to be a very logical choice. 2. The knee injury that sent Langford to injured reserve last October must still be nagging him. Langford seemed optimistic this past spring that he would be ready for Training Camp. Well, that’s not the case with Langford on PUP to start Training Camp. Chuck Pagano should further update the status of Langford on Sunday afternoon. 3. Over on Basham, Push on Wilson, Push on Luck, Under on Mack, Over on Moncrief.

Dick W. (Fortville, IN)

Do you think we should try and get RGIII since Luck's situation is unclear ?

Bowen: I don’t. There’s been no indication that Luck is going to miss gobs and gobs of time. I’m a fan of having a backup that isn’t going to bring too much attention to the position and can be adequate, if called upon. You aren’t going to get that by signing RGIII. If this was a long-term injury for Luck, extending deep into the regular season, then I would further explore things regarding RGIII and the other QBs on the open market.

Jeff P. (Bristol, CT)

Hi Kevin,
1.No way Jon Bostic (if healthy) in not starting at ILB!

2. The fan's and the Media are very hard on T.J. Green. Like you pointed out Wednesday, only 2 years of College Safety played. Last year because of lack of Depth he was tossed to the Wolfs! Great speed and size. I feel he may be more of a SS then a FS. I like his athleticism!

3. Listening to your Podcast you talked about the "Most important player on D" this is absolutely a no Brainer, Big Time Hank! He is the only player that will make the other ten players better. I love the new LB's Ballard has given us and Big Hank will make them better!

4. 5 players on the PUP. will the Colts sign 5 more players before Sunday? Can they even do this? 

Thank you for a great job!

Bowen: Looks like your only question regards the PUP list. The Colts cannot sign five players before Sunday. Those guys are on the "active" PUP list, so they still count towards the 90-man roster. Remember, they can come off PUP at any time.

Fred M. (Grand Junction, CO)

Kevin, l am a longtime Colts fan (50 yrs) living in Bronco Country, interesting at times. My question: its a given that injuries are going to occur in the NFL, our beloved Colts seem to experience more than their fair share. Will Mr. Ballard be addressing this situaton at all? Perhaps upgrading the approach taken in the strength and conditioning dept?
Please keep up the good work, you bring value to us Loyal Fans.

Bowen: The Colts brought in a new strength and conditioning staff last year. They also revamped their nutrition program. Right now, those seem to be the main steps that have been taken. I don’t know of anything Ballard has done specifically to alter those areas of the organization. Obviously, if injuries do persist, you have to imagine he will take a closer look into those things.

Joshua L. (Camp Casey, South Korea)

Hey whats up kevin? I was wondering what you thought of letting dorsett walk if he doesnt show drastic improvement as well as kamar Aiken and bringing in Sammy Watkins to have a trio with him Ty and Donte. With all 3 healthy i think it would be hard to stop our passing attack. Ive seen numerous articles of Buffalo potentially letting him walk next offseason

Bowen: A lot of Watkins’ action in recent mailbags. Again, my biggest issue with signing Watkins is $$$. The Colts are going to have to pay a decent amount already for Donte Moncrief. They would probably have to pay even more for Watkins. When I look at the future at receiver, it might come down to Dorsett or Chester Rogers for that third receiver to go with T.Y. Hilton and Moncrief. That might be a bit premature to say, but I could see it coming down to those two.

Parker J. (Arkansas)

Hey Kevin me again I have put in a few questions.Thanks for all you do love the mailbag. Plus I'm super jealous of your job. When Chuck pagano first came to Indy he used the phrase "build the monster" is that an motavtional quote that is still being preached. Also I feel like this D might be the closest to becoming a monster we have seen in years. The only time we really got to see it was that 2006 playoff/s.b. year and when Freeney and Mathis went off...but of course only time will tell if they can get healthy enough...but from what I'm hearing and what we have on paper looks pretty solid. A bunch of young pups flying after the ball with the brains of a few good vets.once again thanks for all you do.

Bowen: Good to hear from you again, Parker. I don’t think “build the monster” will ever truly go away. But the Colts have adopted other slogans/sayings over the years. Check back to later this week. I’m sure you will see pictures/video of what Pagano has cooked up this year. If the defense can get on the same page, I do think we will see the early steps in a positive direction towards the rebuilding. But it is going to take a couple of drafts before any monster starts to emerge.

Paul M. (Pittston, PA)

Hey Kevin, I see the hamstring problem reared it's ugly head again. With training camp just getting under way, this is not a good sign considering all the hammy injuries the last few years. When will the Colts just steal another trainer from another team and be done with it?

Bowen: There’s been no indication of the Colts changing training staffs. You see soft tissue type injuries this time of year all around the league, especially with guys coming off off-season surgeries. The Colts have had some injury issues in years past and they’ve re-tooled their strength and nutrition program to try and help that.

Cody S. (Hitchcock, SD)

Hey Kevin huge Colts fan really like that you answer all these questions my question is that being from South Dakota the Colts games arnt aired on tv as much as the Vikings and Packers (it's football I'll watch them but cmon) so I was wondering if there was a website or something I could go to to be able to watch the Colts games?

Bowen: Unless I’m mistaken, the NFL Sunday Ticket, through DirectTV, is the only way to get out of market games. Head here for more information on that.

The analysis from those producing content on does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.

Stay up-to-date on everything Colts! Sign-up for the Colts E-newsletter
Leave your comments below Join the COLTSTRONG Fan Community

Recent Videos

Recent Photos