Colts Mailbag

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Colts Mailbag: Are The Colts A Serious Super Bowl Contender?

Intro: This week, mailbag readers inquire about the Colts special teams units, T.Y. Hilton and an update on Vick Ballard

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

Here is this week's collection:Jim Fay (Crawfordsville, IN)

First of all I would like to say that I've enjoyed watching the Colts games this season and congratulations to the team. My question is when are the coaches going stop using the two point conversion too early in the game. I believe that they are leaving points off the board unnecessarily and shouldn't try one until later in the game. (Pat MacAfee for MVP)

Bowen: Chuck Pagano has talked before about a chart they typically follow to decide when the time is right to go for two. Seeing how there was no more scoring in the game on Thursday night, that decision was the correct move in case Houston would have gone down and scored a touchdown late (a successful two-point conversion would have given the Colts a seven-point lead). Deciding when to go for two points and when not to can be a difficult situation with most decisions being right around a coin flip type of percentage.

Shawn Lambert (Walterboro)

why don't the colt get a better kick return to help the team

Bowen: A few kick return questions this week and I'm not really sure why. The Colts currently rank fifth in the league with a 27.4 kick return average. Touchbacks are the norm but when taken out, the Colts return unit has been productive in 2014.

Alex Cotterman (New Palestine, IN)

I really like what I have seen this season from the Colts offense. The O-Line has been better than expected and the playcalling FINALLY allows Andrew Luck to flourish. Now the question.

Do the interceptions that Andrew Luck 'threw' like the tipped ones against the Texans and Ravens and the ones that went between Coby Fleeners hands against the Broncos count against his QBR? Thanks I love the Mailbag.

Bowen: Those count just like the other interceptions. Right now, Luck is seventh in the NFL with a quarterback rating of 99.6. Luck is just a point behind fourth place on that list.

Jonas L (Germany)

Hi Kevin! Huge Colts fan from Germany here. Love to see Bjoern getting after the quarterback this season. Here's my question: What about 'Facebook Friday' with Pat McAfee? Will the show continue? I'm really missing it!

Bowen: This year, McAfee is hosting a "Name That Colt" segment each Friday, which is very entertaining. I enjoy it because you get the obvious personality of McAfee, along with him interviewing several different players each week. Also, if you are interested in more McAfee, he has a segment each Wednesday on "NFL AM" (it's archived on Colts.com).

Kevin Rudge (Schoolcraft, MI)

T.Y Hilton is doing great. Why isn't he punt returning like he did when he was rookie??

Bowen: It's always a difficult decision on whether or not to put one of your bigger threats as a return man on special teams. Hilton is currently the third leading receiver in the NFL so you run the risk of him obviously getting hurt or even run down a bit by placing him as a return man. With the Colts offense playing so well, Griff Whalen coming off a nice game in Houston as a returner and Hilton himself having 604 receiving yards on the year, I see no reason to make that change right now.

Philo Vaega (Lacey, WA)

Wow! What a TNF. I was really nervous because the Taxens had a chance to win it; thanks to Bjoern Werner for stepping it up for the defense at the end. Hope he keeps making plays. Our defense were fantastic and our offense! But our special team, not so good. My question is about Griff Whalen, why isn't he trying to make plays when he's on punt return and KR? Seem like he's too slow or he's always running straight to the defender. Hope he plays well next game! Go Colts.

Bowen: Outside of the Ravens game, I think Whalen has been reliable and a solid threat when returns are needed to be made in 2014. The Colts are fifth in the NFL in kick return average this year. Punt returns rank just 20th right now but Whalen is coming off a very productive night in Houston with two punt returns for 31 yards. I don't think the worry level should be high at all for the Colts special teams units.

Jonathan L (Los Angeles, CA)

It seems to me that the most effective formula for building a Super Bowl caliber team is to have a rookie quarterback that is in his rookie contract. And have an extremely dominantly defense, using the money that the organization is not spending on the quarterback. Last off season, the media kept talking about an arms race between the afc contenders. We should have been in that. I'm hoping we have many more years with andrew luck, but there will be a time where he eats up a large portion of our salary cap. Then it will be harder to build a team around that. Unless we can build a top 5 unit on defense we'll never make it past the divisional round. We have to be willing to take more risks in order to see bigger rewards. Look at the 49ers and Seahawks. We have a better qb than both those teams. We just don't have the formidable defense to go with it. I know they want to build for the future, but the goal is always Super Bowl. I kno w having the right talent doesn't guarantee Super Bowls, but isn't it worth the risk?

Bowen: I would counter with the argument that the talent is there right now to win a Super Bowl. The rookie contract debate isn't a trend that automatically leads to Super Bowls and there are recent teams that have gotten to the pinnacle with "big contract" quarterbacks (Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning). The Colts defense is beginning to take the shape of a unit that can more than handle itself, along with an elite offense. If this unit can continue to remain near the top of the league in third-down conversions allowed, sacks and takeaways, this team has the makeup to get on a serious run.

Steven Newell (Pontotoc, Mississippi)

First, I would just like to congratulate the Colts on playing at such a high level these last three weeks! This has surprised many due to injuries and suspensions that we have suffered. One player that we lost before the regular season was Vick Ballard. I have followed him from his time at Mississippi State, and he is one of my favorite players. I was really excited to see what he was capable of in this offense. How is his rehab going, and is he staying around the facilities like veteran leader Robert Mathis?

Bowen: I've seen Ballard around the complex a lot throughout the first part of the season. Safe to say he's very pleased about the recent No. 1 ranking of his Bulldogs. Ballard showed a ton of promise during his rookie campaign and his back-to-back years with season ending injuries should be chalked up as bad luck considering the non-contact nature.

Patric Todd (Flagstaff, AZ)

First I'd just like to say that I love the direction this team has taken. The team is strong and has weapons in every phase of the team. Even our punter and his booms tick are a weapon. A couple weapons are actually the reason for the question. With both Donte Moncrief and Boom Herron looking as good as they do, I can't help but wonder why we haven't seen more of them. With the production that all our backs and recievers are putting up, I think it might be good to get them both in the game, Donte seems to catch everything he can reach, and I think Boom could prove very effective as a change of pace kind of back.

Bowen: First, there's no denying that both Herron and Moncrief have been productive in limited roles. There's also a ton of current talent at the Colts skill groups. How many playmakers can you incorporate into a game plan though? Who are you taking snaps away from? On most teams, those two would be playing major roles but the Colts offense is filled with an abundance of skill talent (reason the unit leads the league in several categories) that you can afford to have these two concentrate on special teams until they are needed in a greater capacity on offense.

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