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Colts Wednesday Mailbag: Where Will Johnathan Hankins Start In 2017?

Posted Jul 5, 2017

Intro: This Wednesday, mailbag readers inquire about the look of Henry Anderson, rookie playing time and what happens if Frank Gore goes down to injury?


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.

Here is the collection of Wednesday questions:

Les A. (United Kingdom)


Hello, looking forward to this season, not to worried about Andrews throwing arm think he'll be fine as long as we can protect him, is the protection their ? Thank you Les UK Colts fan.

Bowen: The question the Colts have had to answer every offseason since Andrew Luck’s arrival into the NFL. Unfortunately, for fans of the Horseshoe, the answer hasn’t been what they wanted to hear. I do believe though that as the Colts head into the 2017 Training Camp, they feel the best about their line since Luck came into the NFL in 2012. I think with the strides shown late last year, another offseason working with offensive line coach Joe Philbin and some continuity finally starting to come up front, I see improved play in the trenches this coming season.


Richard H. (Victoria, British Columbia)


Hi Kevin. I am without question Canada's biggest Colts fan and read every mailbag you produce! Thanks for your great work. 
I have an interesting question about one of Chris Ballard's very first moves as a GM. He signed an offensive tackle from the 49ers practice squad. Since doing so no one has made mention of him and I have not heard if he has a chance to make the roster. if he is a Colt, shouldn't he get his day in the sun?
Thanks, Kevin. This is my first question to the mailbag, but have many more.

Bowen: Awesome, Richard! Thanks for checking it out twice a week. You are referencing Fahn Cooper, an offensive tackle who was a 2016 undrafted free agent. Right now, I think Cooper is on the outside looking in to make this team. Now, once the full pads come on at Training Camp, Cooper should have his chance to merit some roster consideration come August. You just don’t really have a lot to talk about with offensive line depth until things get more real for that group in a few weeks.


Steven B. (Columbus, OH)

Hello again Kevin. Thanks again for keeping the Colts Nation up to date on the team that we love so much. My question has to do with Mr. Ballard's desire to make the team younger, faster and more physical. It's easy to tell that the team is younger. Probably impossible to tell if it's more physical at this point in time. Is there any way to tell how this team compares to recent teams when it comes to total team speed?
Also, is there a coach on the team that you feel is underrated. Someone who may be in line for a head coaching job if we have a strong season. I know we have a couple of former head coaches and I was wondering who we might lose if things go as well as I hope/expect?

Bowen: No problem, Steven. Interesting question. That would probably take some advanced metrics to truly find out how much faster the team is in 2017. My guess is it’s definitely faster, but I have no hard evidence to prove that. With regards to coaching, I can’t see anyone on the staff instantly jumping into an NFL head coaching role in just one season. Maybe Rob Chudzinski would get another shot if the offense strings together a couple of strong years.


Luke R. (Rochester, NY)

Hey Kevin,
How has your summer been so far? This is the first time since 2014 that I have been confident in our defense.

1. I love the secondary, I like our OLB's, and I love Hankins at NT, but I have concerns about the other parts of our D-line, such as Henry Anderson. I understand that he tore his ACL before the 2016 season, but I'm trying to figure out which Anderson we will be getting: the early 2015 one, or the 2016 one. If he is fully recovered, he can possibly turn the D-line into a strength. Thoughts?
2. Dark horse rookie candidate to start come week 1?
3. What do you think the Colts will do if they realize that Gore isn't good enough to be their starter in the early part of the season, or somehow gets injured?

Bowen: It’s been great, Luke. Have had the chance to get on the golf course a bit, which has been awesome. 1. A major, major question for the defense. Anderson participated fully in the team’s offseason program. That’s a great sign. He says that he’s good to go, both mentally and physically. Let’s wait until full pads arrive before seeing exactly where Anderson is at. But I’d be shocked if he’s not closer to his 2015-self, more so than his 2016-self, come fall. 2. Really dark horse, but Anthony Walker. Simply because that position group is still up for grabs. 3. Ride Robert Turbin and hope Marlon Mack can handle a very accelerated learning curve. You really have no other choice at that point.


Marc K. (Israel)

Why are the Colts holding on to Josh Ferguson? He's fumble prone and hasn't done anything to warrant his spot on the roster.

Bowen: The Colts are giving Ferguson another chance this offseason. He’s cheap, young and has receiving ability from the running back position. Those are reasons why he should be on a 90-man roster this time of year. If Ferguson struggles in camp and the preseason, he’s obviously not going to make this roster with the added running back depth. I have no issue in letting Ferguson have another shot and see if he’s grown from his rookie season.


Ben H. (Fishers, IN)

Hey Kevin. How do you think Malik Hooker and Quincy Wilson will affect our ability to stop elite AFC South recievers? They're obviously very young and are yet to play an NFL game, but do you think they're up to the job? Vontae Davis and Mike Adams had been trying to do it by themselves, unsuccessfully. Now that Mike is gone and new/young blood is moving in, do you think we're in a better place with our secondary than we were two years ago? Thank you for your time.

Bowen: If healthy (and mainly that applies to Malik Hooker), I think they are. The Colts are definitely in a better place with their secondary, for the present and the future. There’s no question about that. But the Colts need to get the rookies up to speed quick in camp, because cohesion back there is so vital. And you also have the Clayton Geathers x-factor with his neck injury to remember as well.


Darius C. (Gary, IN)

What's up Kevin! I'm a loyal Colts fan for 15 year's now. Do you think our defense is better with Butler at safety or playing in the nickle? If you say safety then who do you think will play the nickle?

Bowen: Good question. If Clayton Geathers and Malik Hooker are healthy, I’d prefer Butler in the nickel when it’s time for five defensive backs. In my mind, Butler is just too sound and valuable to have on the sideline. But I’m really curious to see how the Colts use him in 2017.


Ethan H. (Fort Myers, FL)


Thanks again Mr.Bowen, how do you think Tarell Basham and Quincy Wilson will perform in this incoming season?

Bowen: For the Colts defense to make strides in 2017, I believe these two will have to make some impacts. Does that mean Wilson starting? Does that mean Basham having 4-5 sacks? I’m not 100 percent sure. I just think these guys will be needed to varying degrees this season. And, honestly, I think both have the ability to make early positive impressions at this level.


Jim S. (Carmel, IN)

Hi Kevin, I just stay on the D-line topic. I read an article this week that said Grover Stewart was the second biggest reach in the draft at that position. I saw that this young man threw the discus in college and was wondering if you had seen the footwork that discus throwers usually develop. Doesn't speed of foot and huge size usually bode well for the D-line?

Bowen: Jim, during rookie minicamp Stewart was extremely impressive in how he moved for a guy north of 330 pounds. I didn’t get as good of a look at him during the offseason program, so I want to see him in full pads during camp. Elite footwork for a big fella is such a rare trait in the interior of the defensive line. I think Stewart has some of it and that is one of the reasons why the Colts pulled the trigger on a Division II product late in Round Four.


Greg C. (Wilmington, DE)

Kevin, I heard you talking about the officials going to an iPad this year and I'm for anything that will speed up the game (especially less commercials). But I was wondering if inclement weather (or bright sunshine) would hinder the ability to see the screen.

Bowen: Hmm, good question. I guess it would to some degree. Let’s get the equipment staff ready with towels just in case. I’m sure the NFL has taken these things into consideration.


Jonathan S. (New Orleans)


Hi Kevin, hope all is well on your end. I'm a frequent reader of the mailbag, but this is my first time sending questions in. Chris has made a lot of great/good signing in free agency and I love the defensive minded draft haul, rather it was actually BPA or BDA (Best Defender Available). 
My question(s):

1a. Everyone assumes Big Hank will play NT, In your opinion do you see him playing nose tackle or three-technique? why? I know he has played both throughout his NFL career. 
1b. If Big Hank plays the 3-Tech, who do you see rounding out the starting D-Line?

2. I figured, may as well join the Zach Orr talk: How serious do you see the Colts being in the pursuit/signing of Orr (Spinal Condition) with their history of serious injuries? Neck (Peyton Manning, Clayton Geathers..etc) and head injuries (Austin Collie, Tyler Varga...etc)

3. Not really a question, more of me venting...lol....Did Mathis/Freeney really get snubbed from NFL Network's' List of Top 5 Pass Rushing Duo's? Really? I have a lot of respect for Von/Ware, but they only played a few seasons together, while Freeney/Mathis were terrorizing opposing team Fans, QB's, Coaches, O-Lineman, and their wives/kids for almost a decade...just seems like a head scratcher.....

I look forward to hearing your insight and continue the great job you do in answering our questions!! Laissez les bons temps rouler

Hi Kevin, hope all is well on your end. I'm a frequent reader of the mailbag, but this is my first time sending questions in. Chris has made a lot of great/good signing in free agency and I love the defensive minded draft haul, rather it was actually BPA or BDA (Best Defender Available). 
My question(s):

1a. Everyone assumes Big Hank will play NT, In your opinion do you see him playing nose tackle or three-technique? why? I know he has played both throughout his NFL career. 
1b. If Big Hank plays the 3-Tech, who do you see rounding out the starting D-Line?

2. I figured, may as well join the Zach Orr talk: How serious do you see the Colts being in the pursuit/signing of Orr (Spinal Condition) with their history of serious injuries? Neck (Peyton Manning, Clayton Geathers..etc) and head injuries (Austin Collie, Tyler Varga...etc)

3. Not really a question, more of me venting...lol....Did Mathis/Freeney really get snubbed from NFL Network's' List of Top 5 Pass Rushing Duo's? Really? I have a lot of respect for Von/Ware, but they only played a few seasons together, while Freeney/Mathis were terrorizing opposing team Fans, QB's, Coaches, O-Lineman, and their wives/kids for almost a decade...just seems like a head scratcher.....

I look forward to hearing your insight and continue the great job you do in answering our questions!! Laissez les bons temps rouler

Bowen: 1. A definite question to be answered during camp. I don’t feel great about my answer, but I’ll give you my thoughts. Not very confidently, I would put Hankins at nose. I think the depth at the other defensive line spots is greater so the more pressing area to have Hankins play is at nose. That’s my belief. 2. Another good question. It sounds like the Colts did their homework, but this isn’t your average free agency case. A lot must go into this decision. I wish I had a better hunch of what the Colts think about Orr and his situation. It looks like they are pumping the breaks for now. 3. My answer to that list: LOL.


Matt W. (Gaithersburg, MD)


Hey kevin how's everything with u and ur fam if you don't mind me askin. Just a quick question do you think we will pick up WR OGB? His stats ain't that good but let's face it I believe he's a good receiver he just needs a better team lol and He's big and he's fast and I believe him and Andrew Luck would do great things together what's ur take on this? Thanks again kevin and as always COLTS NATION!!!

Bowen: Terrific, Matt. Summer has been great and Indy is treating me well. Do you mean ODB with your question? I’m unsure of who you are referring to. Frankly, I think the Colts are good at receiver and don’t need to pursue much at that position going into 2017.


Joseph B. (Kokomo)


Hi Kevin the season is almost here I can smell it ...at least July is the last month with out football till next year woo hoo ...but my question has to with draft next yr ... Do you think Ballard will go heavy defence again or will it be more of a balance .. and if we postion group would we pick? 

Off - HB,OL

DEF - DL,LB 

This is what i think we should dradt in the first round...

Bowen: I think primarily defensive heavy is the way to go again in 2018. On offense, a running back and an offensive lineman or two should certainly be considered as well. But linebacker (probably outside linebacker) and cornerback are atop my list again, with the draft still several months away.


Landen S. (Washington)

What positions play the most on special teams? I was thinking either olb's or cb's

Bowen: Yep, I would say that as well. Safeties also get a lot of special teams run. On offense, a receiver near the bottom of the depth chart could play a good amount, too.


Tim G. (Worcester, MA)

Hey Kevin love your articles. My question to you is, in a perfect world where all of our players are fully recovered and back to top form, how do you see the depth chart playing out? I've been a bit confused on trying to figure out the defense. The defense line starters I believe are the only that we can all agree upon with Langford, Hankins, and Anderson. Vontae seems to be the only sure starter along with Geathers if healthy for the secondary. How do you see the first and second string playing out come the start of the season for both offense and defense?

Bowen: Thanks, Tim. Offense is pretty much set in my eyes: Luck, Gore, Hilton, Moncrief, Doyle, Swoope, Castonzo, Mewhort, Kelly, Haeg and Clark. On defense, I really have no idea. Let’s go with Hankins, Langford, Anderson up front. At linebacker, Sheard and Simon on the outside. At inside, Bostic and then the next spot is really up for grabs. In the secondary, not sure on the cornerback opposite Davis. Will rookie Quincy Wilson crack the starting 11? At safety, let’s go with Geathers and Hooker.


Tony H. (Los Angeles)

Hi Kevin!
You are great for letting fans give their opinions. My question is about Frank Gore. This guy has had his time in the sun. His time has come. Father Time has called for him. He is no longer a starter. It's sad athletes cannot see the writing on the wall. It's time for Marlin Mack to step forward and see what he can do. Mack can get the same 1000 yards and more that Gore will give. The purpose of drafting Mack is to let him play. I need your feedback?

Bowen: Appreciate that, Tony. I disagree. Frank Gore has started 92 straight games in the NFL. That’s 70 more than the next longest active streak. He ran for 1,000 yards last season, become the first running back in league history over the age of 33 to accomplish that feat in more than 30 years. Only 12 guys in the NFL last year cracked the 1,000-yard mark. Gore’s durability and productivity should not be taken for granted. You need multiple backs in this league so the Colts will have to rely on Robert Turbin and Marlon Mack to complement Gore. Is Gore reaching the latter stages of his career? Sure. Mack is going to get some run, but it’s a lot to expect a fourth-round running back, from a spread offense in college, to start from Day One.






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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