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.
DERRICK L. (from Miami, FL) Nnamdi (Asomugha) and LaRon Landry ... major upgrade, or perhaps Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, no? No chance?
A: The winner is LaRon Landry, and we're very happy to have him. LaRon is a terrific, physical addition. He has been a difference-maker so far in his career. We look for more of that presence across our unit next season. LaRon should be able to deliver, a player for whom opponents must plan. You could feel the excitement in Ryan Grigson's and Coach Pagano's voice when they spoke about him. This could be one of the more physical defensive backfields the club has fielded in its Indianapolis era.
ROD K. (from Hilo, HI) I'm a long-time Colts fan, one of the few loyal to the blue here in Hawaii. I just heard Donnie Avery signed with the Chiefs. Why would we let him walk and give away a good target for Andrew Luck like we did with Pierre Garcon to the Redskins last year? Why did we not resign Donnie? Are we looking to draft receivers, or is management happy with the young talent in T.Y. Hilton, LaVon Brazill, Dwayne Allen, and is Griff Whalen set to step up?
A: Rod, this business is a tough one to put into words sometime. Losing players via free agency is tough on many levels, and we've seen a number depart through the years. Donnie did a pretty good job for us last year. He helped stretch the defense, which we wanted, and he was a generally reliable target. That said, there are tough decisions to make every year. We have a new coordinator in Pep Hamilton. How the offense shapes us this year will be different than in 2012. We will remember Donnie's contributions and thank him for being someone who helped us make a dramatic jump. He was able to stay healthy after a very tough injury, which you liked seeing. Donnie worked hard to recover, and I hope he has a long and happy career with the Chiefs. As a long-time fan, you've seen others come and go via this route. It seems to be a position in a little bit of flux, so stay tuned. We were thrilled with Dwayne last year. LaVon, like many players, can grow and should. Griff seems to have an avid following among mailbag readers. He was hurt early last year, so we should see more of him this year in the spring and summer. I know he's ready to give it a go.
PHIL D. (from Los Angeles, CA) Can we at least make an attempt at Ed Reed, Steven Jackson or Randy Moss? The biggest free agent acquisition we had the last 10 years have been Adam Vinatieri, even though I believe Ryan Grigson is doing so much better than Bill Polian.
A: Bill and Ryan both had active times in free agency in their second seasons with the team. Those two years (1999, 2013) were the two heaviest times for acquisitions by the Colts since this form of free agency started in 1993. We have assembled a pretty solid group this year, though it did not feature the names you mentioned. I can understand your feelings because a number of fans had their favorites. I don't know that Reed, Jackson or Moss couldn't have been a fit here, but I know we would not bring in anyone who wasn't our style of player (sorry for the double negative). I think we're going to get great contributions from our bunch, and I bet you'll be pleased. Thanks for checking in, and I'm sure Ryan appreciates your compliment on the job he's doing. I don't know that he ever sleeps.
NICHOLAS L. (from Smyrna, TN) Do you think the Colts will try to pick up the defensive end Cliff Avril?
A: We'll be seeing Cliff this year in Lucas Oil Stadium – when Seattle visits. I don't know whether we made a push for him, but we have brought in a number of players who will contribute well this year. Thanks for your input.
JOHN C. (from Zionsville, IN) With the Colts losing Donnie Avery to the Chiefs, do you think they'll look to free agency to get a potential #2 receiver? I see T.Y Hilton as more of a slot receiver, what's your opinion?
A: I am curious about our use of T.Y. this year, too. I hope he is able to play an even bigger role than he did last year. A number two target for him? I don't know. It seems like there has been activity by the club to get another target for Andrew Luck, but nothing has taken shape yet. I like our aggressiveness, and I know it won't stop. We'll use every route necessary to get the type of players we want. Once the buzz of free agency subsides, it's full speed ahead on the draft. It's a fun time for everyone around the team, fans included.
BUDDY C. (from Rocklin, CA) It's all well and good we are trying to build up the offensive line to protect Andrew Luck. I do understand. But it's also vital to get a good running back to complement him or it won't work. We have not had a good running back since Edge and (Marshall) Faulk. What's up?
A: I wouldn't forget Joe Addai or Dominique Rhodes. They were capable and productive in their own ways, but our offense was set up not to have such a featured back. Measuring who we've had against Edge or Marshall is a tough thing to do. Marshall, rightfully so, resides in Canton. Edge could, too, but I'm not sure he'll get there. I feel he belongs, but I'm not sure the voting momentum can get him there. Try not to measure things off those two, and let's see how our young guys come through. Vick Ballard could make a jump. We hope Delone Carter can find a better level of health, and Donald Brown can be productive. You have a tough yardstick when you measure everyone off EJ and Marshall. They were special, no SPECIAL.
RYAN S. (from North Dakota) I was alright with the free agent pick-ups until the signing of LaRon Landry, now I can't wait for the season to start. I was wishing we could have landed him in the draft, now a few years later, here he is. How much do you think our defense has improved already? I can't wait to see our two safeties playing together this fall. Go Colts from the great white north.
A: Good that you're so fired up in the great white north. We appreciate it, and we're fired up as well. There was a sense of excitement in our building with LaRon's arrival. We have a ways until we get going, but the feeling you have is one share by many. Thanks for checking in.
PATRICK K. (from Danbury, NC) What direction do you think the Colts will go in the draft, now that free agency is almost over?
A: Your guess is as good as mine. Information here is kept under lock and key, and it should be. The free agency additions have been spread out across the units. We have five picks currently, plus one compensatory selection at the end of the seventh round. Help on both lines never hurts. I don't think we will go into the season with two quarterbacks, but I don't know the draft is the answer. If free agency doesn't land another receiver, based on our actions lately the draft could be used to do so. Those are just guesses.
DAVID H. (from Sebring, FL) I am very happy with the team's transactions for free agent signings. We must give Andrew Luck the time to read the field and make the plays, so this team can get to the next level. Will we also be looking at a big center, since Samson Satele and A.Q. Shipley were always hurt and underperformed. Now that Donnie Avery's gone we still need another weapon for Luck. The guys we had last year were good players and we need to keep as many as possible, they will play better in their second season with the team.
A: David, you're always a little biting with your questions, but keep them coming. I like frequent contributors, and I don't think you've missed a week yet. I don't think Samson and A.Q. underperformed, and they weren't "always" hurt. I think they did fine last year and should do so again. I'm sure both would say they expect more, too. Believe me, they are the kind of guys you want around. We've made some additions, and protection comes from more than just the linemen. Another year together, plus Andrew's natural maturation, will help. We'll have a different attack, too, with Pep Hamilton. We'll assemble a unit that will attack, be smart and produce. We are fortunate to have transitioned at quarterback so quickly and smoothly. I know you have faith in the process here. Thanks again for checking in. See you next week.
SKIP J. (from Indianapolis) Would the Colts ever consider (Tim) Tebow for back-up, also for his multiple uses, most of all for his class, character and being a winner?
A: I would not quibble one bit about Tim's intangibles, character and leadership abilities. I don't know enough about Xs and Os to debate his skills at this level. (I'll never snow readers that I am that technically savvy as a "football" person, and I'll always be honest about that.) I just don't know that he would fit with what we are installing here. He is the kind of person for whom I cheer. We've had a number of classy guys like him here through the years (ie: think Bill Brooks, Hunter Smith, to name two). I hope there is room for Tim in the league. In the meantime, we have added Matt Hasselbeck to the quarterback corps. Matt has been a terrifically productive player for a number of years, and he will bolster the position with Andrew Luck and Chandler Harnish. Matt is a good fit with our scheme, according to Ryan Grigson, and his overall talents make us a better club.
CHRIS N. (from Evansville, IN) I've been a fan since '98 and I eat, sleep and drink the Colts all year. Have the Colts ever considered creating and running their own app for the Iphone, windows, and Android phones? I like ESPN's, but I think the Colts running their own app would be better. And does the NFL prevent or regulate teams' media usage?
A: Thanks Chris. The Colts did successfully launch their own mobile app this past season (http://bit.ly/ZK3NOy). We are going to continue to grow the app within the guidelines laid out by the NFL. We have some exciting new features planned for the upcoming season, check it out! BuildTheMonster.
ENRIQUE H. (from Bakersfield, CA) Do you think the Colts will take Margus Hunt at the 24th spot or take another defensive end, and if so would the Colts consider cutting Lawrence Guy or Clifton Geathers? What do you think?
A: Margus Hunt seems to be a guy who can make an impact, and we seem to get a question per week about him. As far as Lawrence and Clifton, they, along with Martin Tevaseu, really blended well last year after joining the team late. Everyone here had a great of respect for how they came in and worked and contributed. What they did under the circumstances was pretty admirable. Let's see how they can be with an off-season and camp. Lawrence and Clifton may not be names recognizable to many, but people should recognize how the contributed in the clutch last year.
WYATT M. (from League City, TX) As a Colts fan, Reggie Wayne has always been one of my favorite players and I have watched him throughout his career, but he is already 34. Do the Colts have any plans on getting his successor through the draft or free agency in the near future?
A: We seem to be trying to add someone to the corps, but it has not happened yet. For a player of Reggie's talent and his competitive drive, I wouldn't use the word "successor," but I know what you are saying. Two more "Reggie" type seasons could get him up around Marvin Harrison's numbers. We'll have an eye for every position and will act where needed. Clearly, we have tried to add to the receiving mix already. How it happens remains to be seen. We still have room for our younger guys to grow.
MATT C. (from Indianapolis) Last August during the first home pre-season game when the Colts wore white jerseys against the Rams it seemed the home team had an advantage to keep their bodies cooler by making the visiting team wear darker jerseys to absorb more heat when the roof was open. Is there possibility the Colts will wear white at home in near future when the roof is open during the day?
A: We wore white last year in preseason to give our fans a different look since we typically wear white on the road. You are correct in your statement about the lighter colors being beneficial in heat, but we have to declare in advance of the season what we will be wearing at home. By doing so, the visiting team can plan accordingly. We like wearing blue at home and have done so for years. The decision to open or close the roof can run up until 90 minutes prior to kickoff, and we only do so on days where the heat is not a true factor to where players would be affected adversely. Good question, though. If you remember back to 1997, though, we opened in Miami on August 31. It was a very hot day and the Dolphins chose to make us wear blue. It was smart on their part, and we had to cope.
WAYLON H. (from undisclosed) Happy St. Patrick's Day, Mr. Kelley. Keep up the great work.
A: Thanks for the well wishes. It was a special day for many people, and I hope it was recognized appropriately.
BILL V. (from undisclosed) When does this year schedule come out?
A: It won't be long. Mid-April is the general time. I would look for it around that time, maybe between the Final Four and Masters.
LORENZO W. (from Atlanta, GA) Hey, I'm a true fan from Atlanta, love the Colts. Just want to know will Josh Chapman will be healthy and starting at the start of the season? I think he would be a big threat on defense.
A: Josh is coming along fine. He should be a very good addition to a line that has been transformed in free agency. It did not make the best sense to rush him last year, so seeing what he can do this spring will be one of the key things that will be watched. He is a talented guy with his head on straight. We think he'll be a big threat, too. Josh being available is almost like an extra draft pick this year. I know he's itching to get going.
K.C. (from Las Vegas, NV) What are the chances of us landing Victor Cruz or someone of his caliber?
A: If you've been following the team, there has been some work behind the scenes to add a receiver. Nothing yet, but I know we never stop trying to improve the team.
ISAK H. (from Mexico City, Mexico) What will happen at the backup QB spot? Will it be Chandler Harnish's, or will another QB come to the team to compete with him?
A: As you know by now, we added Matt Hasselbeck yesterday. Chandler did learn a great deal last year, as all rookies do, about what it takes to move from college to the NFL. He is a worker and studier, and he told me recently the mental approach to playing on this level is something for which he has a greater appreciation. It will be fun to watch Chandler get more work. He got a pretty good dose in the spring and training camp last year. He's a bright, young talent who is in a great atmosphere. He should develop well.
RICHARD B. (from Mahopac) Do you have any idea who Jim Irsay is talking about when it comes to a WR in his tweets?
A: I do not. In this business there are a lot of talks that are serious that never materialize, while some do reach a conclusion. It is just part of the job. I do know Jim Irsay likes to keep communication lines open with fans, and I like that. I think the large majority of his followers do, too. Providing a bit of an inside glimpse is fun, and I know he never would misinform his followers. We view our fans as some of our most valuable assets. In this instance, nothing has happened yet, but he and his leaders have transformed the shape of the team dramatically since March 12.
WAYLON H. (from undisclosed) My 54 seasons as a "Colt" have taught me that RG1 and those in charge know a great deal more than we do, so I watch the moves with players and the draft and wonder when two players of equal value fall to us.....what tips the scale? I am really looking forward to season 55. GO COLTS!!!!!!
A: Waylon, you are a terrific fan, True Blue. Thank you. It sounds like the Colts have been a life-long passion for you. Nice nickname for Ryan as well. I bet he will get a kick out of it. As far as two players of equal value, our scouting department does such detailed work (interviews, background checks, attendance at games/workouts, the combine, etc.) that I doubt it ever truly would be that two players are nose-to-nose. We've seen and learned so much about players that there typically is a clear choice. Plus, Ryan likes each of his people to make a stand for a prospect they like. I am sure position need would factor in if the choice truly were that close, but I don't think it would be. Hope that helps, and we have no worries about you on the bandwagon. You are near the front.