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.
FRANL P. (from Lanesville, IN) Is our offensive coordinator (Bruce Arians) staying with the Colts, or is he leaving to become a head coach?
A: Even though you know the answer to your question by now, I thought I would include it. Bruce left to become the Arizona head coach, and all of us wish him the absolute best (unless it is in head-to-head competition). Bruce twice has been with the Colts (1998-2000; 2012), and each time he had a chance to improve himself when he departed. He left as our QB Coach to join Cleveland as offensive coordinator in 2001. He had that same title with Pittsburgh before coming here. There are only 32 positions like the one he got, so you can understand why he would take it. I think Colts fans will remember what he did in helping shape Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. We all know how capably and loyally he stepped in for Coach Pagano and directed the team to nine wins in 12 tries. He never once stopped perpetuating Pagano's message, and his loyalty was admirable. We'll miss him, but we lost Bruce for the right reason. Bruce joins a few other former coaches during the club's Indianapolis era who went on to other full-time head coaching positions. Vince Tobin left the Colts in 1996 and served five seasons with Arizona. Ted Marchibroda was Baltimore's leader from 1996-98. Gunther Cunningham directed Kansas City from 1999-2000. Brad Childress led Minnesota from 2006-10. Childress was succeeded by Leslie Frazier, who has directed the Vikings since then.
MARY H. (from Martinsville, IN) What do the stars on the "Captains" jersey patches signify?
A: There are four white stars aligned along the bottom of the captain's patch. For each year a player is a Colts captain, a star will change from white to gold, though a player could serve as a captain longer than four years. We waited until late last season before captains were voted upon. Offensive captains were Reggie Wayne and Andrew Luck. Defensive captains were Robert Mathis and Cory Redding. Special teams captains were Pat McAfee and Joe Lefeged. All were great leaders for the team. If a player joins the Colts from another team and was a captain with that previous club, the stars earned prior to arriving in Indianapolis would not count. He would have to start over in getting a star changed from white to gold as a Colt.
JORDAN F. (from New Jersey) Who will be the Colts three starting receivers in 2013?
A: I think what you saw this past season will be a great deal of what you see this coming year. Reggie Wayne was a true leader and someone who Andrew Luck knew to look for frequently. Donnie Avery was a valuable free agent addition who really helped stretch opposing defenses. Donnie was a reliable target. T.Y. Hilton had one of the best rookie seasons in franchise history for a receiver, and he and LaVon Brazill grew tremendously. We had Nathan Palmer last year as a practice squad signee from San Francisco. Nathan has a great deal of talent, and Ryan Grigson said a few days ago his addition was almost like having another draft choice last year. Nathan was a player we scouted pretty heavily while he was at Northern Illinois. There will be other additions as the year goes on, but I think what you saw last year will carry over heavily in 2013.
RUSSELL J. (from Omaha, NE) Will we be picking the best player available in the draft, or are we looking for a particular need, mainly, back up QB, receiver, corner or safety?
A: First of all, I like how you said, "We," even though you're from Nebraska. We like that a lot. The team is drafting 24th, and currently is missing picks in the second and fifth rounds. I don't know that we would target a particular position and stick with that notion regardless of who is available. Watching the board from the outset this year is different than it was last year when we had the first and 34th picks. Sometimes personnel people say, "The board speaks to you," and that may be the case this year. One thing for certain with Ryan Grigson and his staff, they will work doggedly to be ready, and they are aggressive when a player is around that is liked. You targeted a few positions with your question. We'll just see how things go. I know we won't have a great deal of chatter on our end on specifics. That's not smart business. We do like people like you who are keyed in and care about the shape of the franchise.
CHAD T. (from Indianapolis) (There were) lots of great rookies last year. None stood out to me more than Vick Ballard. (Do) you see him starting over Donald Brown, and will Brown be on team next season?
A: Vick was a bright spot in a season of bright spots and like a number of players, he worked hard from the outset. Vick showed his ability in the rushing and passing game, and he was durable. The graph appears up for him. Donald got hurt, but I would not project anything other than him recovering and returning. Donald is a pro, and I think he wants to get back and contribute however possible. How the offense shapes up under Pep Hamilton remains to be seen. He said the club will run a variation of the West Coast Offense (shorter routes; high-percentage passes), but he likes seeing the offensive line blow off the ball and pave the way for a running game. It will be different than last year, and I think Vick and Donald both will have opportunities.
RICHARD M. (from Indianapolis) What are and can you explain the rules and regulations that the NFL, the players union, and the Indianapolis Colts have regarding having players or staff members invited/attend a Super Bowl party where the Indianapolis Colts team doesn't participate in the Super Bowl football game?
A: To my knowledge, there are no restrictions about attending parties.
KAROM A. (from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) As a Saudi fan of the Colts, I've been dreaming of seeing the Colts live for years now, and I know this is a long shot. But is there ANY chance of seeing the Colts play live not necessarily in Saudi Arabia but maybe in the Middle East? Say in the next five years?!
A: You're definitely farther away than Nebraska (see above), so thank you for your support, too. I'm not sure we will play in your general area. We've played preseason games in Mexico City (2000), Tokyo (2005) and Toronto (2010), but nothing more is scheduled at the moment. The league, to a large degree, sets the international agenda. As our game continues to grow, I would ask, "Why not," rather than, "Why?" I don't want to lead you on, however. Maybe you can make it to Indianapolis sometime. If so, let us know. It would be fun to meet you. Thanks for being a great fan.
JEREMY M. (from Nairobi, Kenya) Would love to congratulate the team on a better than expected season. It was the most enjoyable one in my five years supporting the Colts. Noticed that our offensive line coach went with Arians to Arizona, any chance you give us a breakdown of the coaching staff as it is now?! #BTM #COLTSTRONG
A: You and Karom are long-distanced fans, and thanks for being behind us for five years. I hope there are plenty more to come. Bruce Arians left for Arizona, and he took Harold Goodwin, our offensive line coach, with him as offensive coordinator. Bruce and Harold knew each other from Pittsburgh days, so that is the connection. To replace Bruce, we brought in Pep Hamilton, who had been Stanford's offensive coordinator for the past two seasons. Pep mentored Andrew Luck and Coby Fleener during their final seasons, and he helped run a crisp, productive Cardinal attack. Pep should be a great addition. Joe Gilbert, who was the assistant offensive line coach last year, has been promoted to Harold's prior role. The team hired Tom McMahon as its special teams coordinator. Tom had that position last year with Kansas City and held it with St. Louis from 2009-11. Tom also was a special teams assistant with Atlanta for two years. That is where we are with changes on the coaching staff. You hate to have changes, but Ryan Grigson and Coach Pagano will adjust, re-tool and keep things moving smoothly. Thanks again for your support. I hope you make it to Indianapolis sometime for a game.
LAURA R. (from Baltimore, MD) Are you going to focus more on defense with the draft since the Colts have ranked pretty low for the last few years?
A: Like Russell's question earlier, to some degree the draft will come to us. I know we want to get better in all areas, and you likely will see defensive growth in 2013 with it being the second season in the 3-4 scheme. We want to have a firm defensive presence. That is a priority for Coach Pagano. The defense will be a more natural process for a bunch of guys this coming year. Like all areas, there will be an eye out for additions by the personnel staff.
ARNOLD H. (from undisclosed) With having two dynamic players at tight end, how soon can we expect an offensive package similar to New England with our TEs?
A: Players can really mature in their second years. Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen fit that description, plus Weslye Saunders is young. I would caution comparing anything to New England, or any other team for that matter. The offensive approaches in this league are so different from team-to-team that is it not an apples-to-apples comparison. I think you will like the identity that emerges here with our young guys.
ANTHONY Z. (from Toronto, Canada) When, if ever, will the Colts be visiting their fans in Toronto?
A: Anthony, we played there in 2010 against Buffalo. It might have to be that same scenario again that gets us there, but we did have a great time visiting the city. There are some hearty fans up there. Maybe you can make a road trip here.
ANDY H. (from Bloomington, IN) I thought the open house to introduce Andrew Luck was fantastic last year. Any plans for any draft/open house activities for the offseason?
A: There are no definite plans for a draft party yet, but it is under consideration. Since the team's first pick is 24th this year, any such event likely would not be at Lucas Oil Stadium. It might not have the same draw, either. For now, stay tuned to Colts.com for information on any upcoming events. We will post all of our draft activities on the website once they're finalized.
KEVIN B. (from West Virginia) Our defense has problems stopping anyone from literally running over us and through us. Are we too small up front? I want our team to run the ball down the throats of our opponents effectively, too. Why aren't we? (Fan since Unitas)
A: You have been a devoted fan for decades by going back to the Johnny U. days. We did get bigger along the front last year. You will see the same size this year. There should be growth as we reach year two of the system. Getting players like Brandon McKinney back will help, and I think we are moving in the defensive direction you are seeking. We ran the ball more effectively last year, and we were bigger on that front, too. Our new offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton, has a stated affinity for the run. It will be fun to see his approach implemented.
JAMES S. (from Louisville, KY) Why don't the Colts pick up Jake Long, and move (Anthony) Castonzo to the right?
A: Last week, Ryan Grigson said he sees progress in Anthony Castonzo. He said while Castonzo is not to the elite level yet, he is playing winning football at left tackle. How or if things materialize going forward is to be seen. As for commenting on specific personnel outside the team, that is not appropriate.
GEORGE G. (from Indianapolis) What does it take to go to an NFL Combine, if you're not a college student and just want to be evaluated for the NFL?
A: The NFL Combine is by invitation only and the attendees are college players who are draft eligible. There are two combines attended by NFL scouts where one can pay to participate, but that person must meet the NFL eligibility rules. Websites helpful with such information would be: