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Colts Mailbag Weekend Edition: Will Rookie Malik Hooker Start In 2017?

Posted Jun 10, 2017

Intro: In Saturday’s mailbag, readers inquire about the color rush jerseys, adding another veteran quarterback and the recovery of Andrew Luck.


INDIANAPOLIS – Each week, readers of Colts.com 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).

Ian W. (Fort Wayne, IN)

Hey Kevin thanks for everything. Do you expect any penalties happening for the Colt's? Especially early on with all the new players, I know flags can be a killer in games. I know we're not known for them, but was wondering if we should expect a good or bad amount this year with the ref's.

Bowen: The Colts did struggle with penalties early last season. Most of the new faces are on defense here in 2017. I don’t think one should expect an abnormal number of penalties though. The key for that side of the ball will be pre-snap, make sure that everyone is lined up correctly and knows their specific role. Communication is an absolute must for the defense this coming season.


Stan C. (Minneapolis)

Hey, Kevin! Wow, I seem to have started a trend with the over/unders. I'm glad that people like them; I found that coming up with the target points was just as fun as getting your opinions back.

Recently, I was thinking back to the retirement of Tony Romo. Now, I always thought Romo got a bad rap. His playoff resume is awful and he had an uncanny knack for making mistakes at the worst possible moments... but as a fantasy football manager, I know that he put numbers up that had his team in position to win a lot of games. He was never going to be a top 5 QB, but he was a top 10/15 type of QB for 10 years, which is impressive in its own right. When he retired, several of the First Take-types (forgive me, Colts Nation... It's my dirty, guilty pleasure) said that Cowboy fans should relegate Romo to the dustbin of history. I thought that was unfair. I believe there is a place for players in team history who were not Hall of Famers or league-wide icons, but who served a valuable role for their franchise. People within the Pat McAfee to Jeff Saturday range, if that makes sense.

Anyways, who would be your picks for Colts players we should remember fondly, even if the league forgets them?

Bowen: Let’s focus on the 2000 Colts and players from that era. I think Tarik Glenn, Joseph Addai and Gary Brackett are three players that come to mind. I don’t see any of those guys as Ring of Honor inductees, but they were instrumental in what the Colts did during the winningest decade in football. Brackett’s stability in the middle of the defense after going undrafted in 2003. Addai rushing for 1,000 yards as a rookie and having 10 catches in the Super Bowl XLI victory. Glenn protecting the blindside for Peyton Manning, earning three trips to the Pro Bowl before retiring at the height of his career, following the Super Bowl win. Those three come to mind for me.


Jess T. (Dallas)


I recently talked to a highly respected Dallas shoulder specialist who said normally this surgery requires 4-6 months of recovery time.As a long time colt fan I am just curious why we don't get a clearer update on his expected return. Andrw luck is the cog that is the Colts future and I feel that a colts fan since 1957 that we should have something to look forward to. Thanks

Bowen: I wish I had an answer for you. The Colts are being reserved with their updates on Luck, and even Clayton Geathers. Some teams provide more clarity than others. That’s just life in the NFL. Maybe they don’t want the pressure of specific deadlines for Luck and his timeframe? Maybe there’s uncertainty over when exactly Luck will begin throwing? Like I said, I’d love more information, too (would be actual news to report), but I don’t think that’s coming until late July.


Thad S. (Dayton, OH)


Hey Kevin,

Thanks for all the work you do on the mailbag. I enjoy reading it each week.

Based on the Wed mailbag and retired Colts numbers, has anyone else worn #88 since Marvin retired? Any other numbers of Indy Colts players that have not been reissued?

Thanks in advance.

Bowen: My pleasure, Thad. Thanks for following along. No one else has worn the No. 88 since Marvin Harrison retired in 2008. I would guess that number might be retired pretty soon after Harrison went into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year. Besides 18 and 88, I can’t think of any numbers that have not been reissued.


Doug P. (Gaithersburg, MD)


This is more of an observation that I would like validated: I remember reading somewhere that Andrew Luck is undefeated when the Colts defense holds the opponent to 19 points or fewer, and prior to the 2016 season, Andrew was 34-7 when the defense held the opponent to 29 points or fewer. Last season, the Colts defense surrendered an average of 24.5 points per game, and ended up 8-8. Doesn't this illustrate that the new GM is doing exactly what needs to be done with the improvements on defense? If the new defense is just a little better: holding the other team to a field goal, rather than giving up the touchdown, just one time per game, this should translate to 11 or 12 wins next season.

Bowen: Yep. Yep. And yep. The Colts have not lost a game started by Andrew Luck when giving up less than 19 points. Slight defensive improvement should be enough to get the Colts back into the playoffs, at a minimum. That’s why Chris Ballard has feverishly attacked that side of the ball with his roster moves this offseason.


Sean M. (Dublin, Ireland)


Hey Kevin, I'm sure your probably overloaded with this type of question this week, but I'm going to give it a go because I liked the idea. 
Over/Under:

1. Andrew Luck: 4800 passing yards (optimistic, I know)
2. T.Y. Hilton: 1400 rec yards
3. Donte Moncrief: 9 rec TDs
4. Malik Hooker: 4 INTs
5. Andrew Luck: 38 passing TDs

Look, I know they're optimistic targets, but I genuinely think the Colts have a shot at making the AFC Championship game with this team. We could be that good (along with an easy schedule)
As ever, thanks so much for answering these questions. They get me through the week.

Bowen: Welcome back, over/unders. 1. Under. 2. Under. 3. Can I go with push? 4. Over. 5. Under. Just slightly lower on the Luck throwing numbers and the Hilton receiving output.


Simon B. (Greenville, SC)


Hola to all..Here are three questions for you guys; 1)How do you feel about the possibility of Chester Rogers getting one of the starting WR spots in 2017 ? 2)Realistically, what are the chances of Philip Dorsette being a.traded b. relegated to second team status c. cut or just given his outright release,prior to the start of the 2017 NFL season? 3.Do you really believe that Chuck Pagano is The Coach that will lead Luck and the Colts to a Super Bowl ? Thanks guy and God Bless for all your hard work.

Bowen: 1. Define starting? I could see Rogers challenging for the 4th and possibly the 3rd receiver role, but I don’t see him supplanting T.Y. Hilton or Donte Moncrief at all. 2. I would be surprised if he was cut/traded. He could easily be “relegated” to a lesser role, especially if Kamar Aiken makes a strong impact. 3. Million-dollar question. I think this year will lead to the answers on that question. The defensive personnel has been totally revamped. Can the defensive-minded Pagano help that unit get to being a bunch that is adequate enough to make a playoff run? I believe this is a monumental season to see how Jim Irsay and Chris Ballard view Pagano and his ability to get the Colts back on a playoff trip, a la 2014.


Adam S. (Cedar Lake, IN)


Why do you think no one has signed Darrelle Revis yet? He doesn't have to be the #1 corner for a team, he said he would play safety didn't he?

Bowen: Maybe Revis is holding out a bit? This time of year veterans often pull the reigns back on free agency. They let Training Camp play out, see injuries occur and then jump back into things with new destinations possibly arising. Also, anytime Revis is involved in things, you have to question how much money he is asking for, particularly at his age.


Anthony T. (Philadelphia)


Hi Kevin, I've been fortunate enough to get a couple questions through in various weeks. This week I'd like to ask about the Colts cold rush uniform they'll be showcasing week 15. I've seen the picture with Luck sporting the uniform but I noticed the white helmet. My question is if it's possible for the team to switch to the blue helmets I believe I've seen in the past? Just to make the color rush truly blue. I love our classic uniforms but I'd personally love to see a full change for one week. Thanks

Bowen: I’m not sure exactly why, but I believe the blue helmets are not an option for the Colts. I’m hoping to sit down with the equipment staff later this offseason and get some more details on how the color rush jerseys came about for the Colts.


Zach M. (Rochester, NY)

Hello Kevin hope you are having a nice summer. I'm going to be a pain here and ask for your opinion on my projected 53 man roster because I saw someone's on the Wednesday mailbag and wanted to throw mine out there

QB 2: Luck Morris with Walker making the P.S Tolzien was a disappointment in his start and is more expensive then Morris 

RB 4: Gore Turbin Mack Ferg with Crossan making the P.S.

WR 5: T.Y Moncrief Aiken Dorset Rodgers with JoJo Natson and Tevuan Smith on the P.S. Bray is a great returner but Rodgers and Ferg can take that spot 

TE 3: Doyle Swoope and Daniels with Allie Cox on the P.S I can even see him pushing for the roster spot 

OL 9: Castanzo Banner Mewhort Kelly Schwenke Good Haeg Clark Blythe 

DL 7: Langford Ridgeway Stewart Anderson Hankins McGill Hunt with Jhaustin Thomas on the P.S 

ILB 5: Morrison Jackson Spence Walker Bostic

OLB 4: Sheard Simon Basham Mingo 

CB 6: Davis Wilson Melvin Hariston Milton Mitchell with Blackmon on the P.S. 

Safety 5: Hooker Butler Geathers Green Farley with Williamson on the P.S. 

K: Vinny
P: Locke

Let me know what you think thanks hope all is well

Bowen: My thoughts: 1. After watching Tolzien take the vast majority of first-team reps this spring, I can’t see Morris supplanting him, unless their preseason plays are on two ends of the spectrum. 2. Christine Michael maybe over Josh Ferguson? 3. I think Brandon Williams at tight end is still a strong possibility. 4. Austin Blythte is no longer on the roster. 5. Don’t rule out David Parry. 6. No Akeem Ayers?


Douglas R. (Ladoga, IN)

What makes every one sold on Malik starting at safety over one of our only bright spots in our secondary they just signed Butler at safety for a few years I'm just saying the last time I checked he is still a rookie with no nfl experience and coming off injury so should we just throw him right to the wolves Or do we not have to earn our stripes any more in this league I just really hope this lights a fire under some of our vets and makes the whole defense step up thier play cause if we get any worse we might just be last in our division I know I will get an awnser like they will put the best player at each spot

Bowen: I understand the question. When I say Hooker will start, I’m projecting him showcasing his talent once he gets healthy at Training Camp. I’m of the belief that the Colts need to find some role for Darius Butler. He’s too solid of a player to have on the bench. I just don’t know where exactly he fits, or how you go about getting him on the field. If Hooker struggles in camp, he’s not going to start. That’s pretty easy. The Colts have other options at safety. But I don’t see that happening.


James C. (Northwest, England)


Hi Kevin hope you are well good to speak to you again, I enjoy talking football with you so thanks for the job you do for us colts fans. 

My question is this- Why isn't Ryan Kelly recognised as one of the best centres in the league??? Nobody talks about him yet he didn't let a sack through all of 2016. I feel if it was another player that didn't let a sack through then everyone would be buzzing about it. So why doesn't Ryan Kelly get the recognition he deserves???? Thanks for your time, have a great day.

Bowen: The NFL had 5 centers play more than 990 snaps last year and not allow a sack. It’s going to take another year for Ryan Kelly to get major recognition. Kelly was solid last year, but wasn’t dominant. I think if the Colts offense becomes a consistent top 5 or top 10 unit, then the accolades and attention will begin to come for Kelly.


Rico W. (Tulsa, OK)

Hi Kevin, Any chance the team goes after Bob Stoops, now that he has announced his retirement? 

Thanks, Colts Strong

Bowen: I get the impression that Bob Stoops wants some time away from coaching. Why else would he retire at a relatively young age?


Luke R. (Rochester, NY)

Hey Kevin,
As the offseason continues, I have some questions.
1. Super early to be asking this, but how should we be addressing the issue right now of a running back capable of handling Ezekiel Elliot-type snaps? Sure, there's Marlon Mack the rookie, but it would be a best-case scenario for him to be our number 2 back for the future, and Gore is WAY too old to being to be good in 2017.
2. What's​ your floor/ceiling win total for the Colts in 2017?
3. Assuming he plays at least 75% of the year, could Clayton Geathers possibly make it to the pro bowl?

Bowen: 1. Dive back into the 2018 Draft for another running back. That makes the most sense to me, when looking to the future in finding another runner alongside Marlon Mack. 2. If Andrew Luck is healthy, I see in the 8-to-12 win range. 3. There are some very good safeties in the AFC. However, if Geathers is healthy for a large portion of the season, he’s going to make a name for himself around the league. Geathers will need to create some impact plays to attract Pro Bowl attention. I could see Geathers as a sleeper Pro Bowl-type guy, with health being the ultimate question mark.


Matt W. (Gaithersburg, MD)

Do u think the colts will have any chance to regain what they had with manning? meaning, winning the afc south for years to come and keeping up with a cheating patriots team with luck and a new defense? I think Ballard did a great job with the picks this season. I fully expect a defense I haven't seen since freeney and Mathis in there prime. Thanks for you're time Mr. Bowen and as always COLTS NATION!!!

Bowen: Let’s remember what those ‘Manning’ Colts did. They were the winningest decade in NFL history. A nod of the cap to an historic run that no team has ever duplicated. To answer your question, I do think the Colts should be annual contenders at the top of the AFC South. With Andrew Luck and a young offensive core, plus the total revamping of the defense, the building should be there for the Colts to be routinely competing for the AFC South title every December. I see no reason why they shouldn’t be.


Bob V. (Bedford, TX)

with the colts having a great off season,i am a little concerned with not much talk of Luck.Would the colts be smart and sign Jay Cutler to a one year contract for 8 million,we have the money to do it for one year.Great insurance policy in case Luck is not back.Your opinion please

Bowen: No thanks. Jay Cutler is working in TV. The expectation is not for Luck to be out a long period of time. Unless Luck is going to miss a handful or more games, I think you ride with Scott Tolzien. Again, I still believe Luck will be ready for Week One.


Benny F. (El Paso, TX)

Both Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers are very young and have a lot to prove. But I think in maybe the next 2-4 years, they can be one of the best safety tandems in the game. They remind me of what the Seattle Seahawks have at safety. Many compared Hooker to Earl Thomas, maybe the best FS in the NFL and a true ball hawk. Geathers reminds me of Kam Chancellor, a in the box hard hitting type of safety. So do you thing in the near future Hooker and Geathers can be as great or even better as Thomas and Chancellor?

Bowen: That’s high, high praise. But I do think the ceiling is really high for that duo. Their skillsets complement each other so well. They fit what you are looking for in this present-day of the NFL. A versatile option is Clayton Geathers. And then a deep ranging presence in Malik Hooker sliding from hashmark to hashmark. Putting Hooker and Geathers into a Thomas/Chancellor comparison is premature. They haven’t even practiced together yet, let alone individually in 2017. But Colts fans should be very excited to see them get on the field together later this summer.


Landen S. (Washington)

Do you see simon becoming like a pat angerer type of player for us? I mean he does have the same number as he did haha. I know they play different positions as linebackers, but could he be moved inside in specific situations and have an impact like angerer did?

Bowen: It doesn’t sound like the Colts will be moving Simon inside. Maybe we see it occasionally on passing downs, when trying to move guys around in creating pressure. Chuck Pagano was asked this very question two weeks ago: “There’s no question from a mental standpoint that if he had to go do that, that he could. Right now, we feel okay with where we’re at…He’s certainly smart enough to be able to go do it. I think if we got into a pinch and had to do it he’d be available, but we don’t need to go there right now.”


Austin V. (Iowa)


Hey Kevin, first time long time here. I really appreciate all you do for us fans. Also I think I speak for everyone when I say the next time you see Chris Ballard in the hallway, give that man a high five from Colts Nation. I love what he did to this roster. In the course of one offseason he’s fixed many of the issues Grigson ignored while in charge. Keeping Pagano, cutting overpaid vets, and signing young guys to low risk high reward contracts. 
My question is, do you think with the major overhaul on defense this offseason that it is going to take a year for this unit to mesh? Or do you think they can come together more quickly with the open starting jobs, knowing that these guys 100% earned their spot to play. Also who do you think will step up and be the leader of this new unit?

Bowen: High five is coming. It’s definitely going to take some time for the defensive side of the ball to mesh together. That’s expected when you have 7-to-9 new starters, and two of those possibly coming at the inside linebacker spots, where the communication is constant. That’s why we heard earlier this offseason of Chuck Pagano and Ted Monachino talking about trying to simplify things for that unit. The last thing you want is for the mental strain to hold these guys back when live action arrives. In terms of leaders, I really don’t have definite answers. Darius Butler is one, but you also wonder what his role will be in 2017. Vontae Davis needs to ascend as a leader. Someone at inside linebacker must absorb leadership responsibility, too. Guys will need to step up here.


Mikey L. (Peru, IN)


My question is based on articles I've been reading about wasting Andrew Luck'a prime. So I think that we need to excelerate the rebuilding process so we don't waste his prime. I mean he is keep getting hurt. How long do you think he still has left in him? Also what do you think of the articles of wasting Luck's prime years?

Bowen: “Rebuilding” in the NFL is always accelerated when you have a quarterback like Andrew Luck. I would argue that you are never truly “rebuilding” with a player of Luck’s stature. Most teams would love to rebuild after back-to-back .500 seasons. I think Luck has plenty of years ahead of him. I see no real reason why he wouldn’t play another decade or so, like other quarterbacks we see around the NFL. The Colts got off to a great start with Luck, and then took steps back the last two years. Remember, the Colts didn’t win a playoff game with Peyton Manning until No. 18’s sixth season in the NFL. This roster wasn’t like Seattle’s for Russell Wilson. The free agent and draft misses of late have forced the Colts to play some catch up in recent years.


Matthew H. (Iowa)


I've decided to come up with some of my own over/under questions. I also did some research and found the statistic from last season when available.

44%: The percent of rushing plays from the offense
Last year:41.19%

300:Passing yards per game by Andrew Luck
Last year:282.7

35:The number of sacks for the colts
Last year:33

32:Amount of sacks allowed
Last year:44

30%:The amount of snaps Marlon Mack gets in weeks 8-16

18:The amount of total turnovers
Last year:22

Bowen: 1. Under. 2. Over. 3. Over. 4. Over. 5. Under. 6. Push.


Mike M. (Bloomington, IN)


Hi Kevin, love your work. I read an article raving about Barkevious Mingo's speed, but due to the nature of OTAs, it is very difficult to estimate his physicality. To me, he looks more like a tall SS. It seems that we could have a really good 3-safety nickel package if both him and Geathers (if he returns, I fear his career is done) can play a lb/ss hybrid role and the lack of 2 solid starters at ILB. What do you think our most effective nickel package would look like (as Ted Monachino has shown to lean towards a Nickel D anyway)?

Bowen: A 6-4 and 240-pound safety? That would have to be one of the biggest safeties in league history. I do agree that projecting Mingo is difficult. What is his role? Can he earn reps, alongside Tarell Basham, and behind Jabaal Sheard and John Simon? Third-down packages should have some creativity. However, I think Mingo off the edge is probably the most likely option, if he does indeed find his way onto the field.


Kevin R. (Indianapolis)

First off, Kevin, your dialogue helps Colt fans stay two steps from the game. Thanks. My question relates to Andrew Luck's seeming lack of play changing. How far along was Peyton when he starting using the audible? It just seems Andrew should have enough knowledge of other teams defenses to use more to his advantage. Thank you.

Bowen: Appreciate that, Kevin. I always enjoy the mailbag. I believe Andrew Luck has probably as much control at the line of scrimmage as any other quarterback in the NFL. Just because he’s maybe not as demonstrative with his audibles/checks doesn’t mean he’s restricted with what he can do at the LOS. I do think that Luck’s third season in Rob Chudzinski’s offense should allow for more of this. Remember, Manning played in the same offense for so, so long with the Colts. That continuity is something Luck is (kind of) approaching here in 2017.


Dave H. (Valparaiso, IN)


With Luck still not throwing yet do you see them adding another QB

Bowen: I do not. Chuck Pagano said the Colts have not looked into adding another quarterback at this point in the offseason.







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

 

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