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.
MATT S. (from Indianapolis) Khaled Holmes has been listed as the backup to Samson Satele at center but has been inactive every game. Is he still injured or is he a luxury backup? I followed Pac-12 football and thought he would fit in well here. Always Stay Positive...Go Blue.
A: Khaled has been on the active game day roster a handful of times, including last Sunday, but his chance really hasn't come yet. Khaled is a great person and will keep working. There's no reason to believe he couldn't be in the mix at some point. With only 53 spots on an active roster, there are no "luxury" players.
BILL M. (from Calgary, Alberta) Just want to say that I have been Coltstrong since 2002. I came up with a nickname for my boy Coby Fleener, "Jazz-hands." Would love to see it stick. Tell me what you think. Also, let's lay off T-Rich.
A: I won't get into the nickname business, but I've heard this one used for Coby already. I'm sure he's aware of it, too. I'll leave it to others, but you did the right thing by writing. Hope others read your words about Trent. I'm glad for those who are patient in this process.
JORGE R. (from Mexico) I am happy for Donald Brown to be in the first spot. He deserves it. Trent is a good player who just needs time. I agree with (a reader last week) about starting to throw more in the beginning of a game to get an early start, then use the power run. In the case of DHB, I think he's a bust. I miss Donnie Avery.**
A: A bit harsh on DHB there, Jorge. DHB, like a lot of guys, can perform a little more consistently, and we will need them all to do so. We have a lot riding on the next three games before the playoffs, and a solid DHB will only help. Neither Donald nor Trent got the chance we/they wanted to have in Cincinnati. We have to do better there.
PATRICK P. (from Wisconsin) How concerned are you about the lack of a running game?
A: We've shown our ability, but we haven't shown sustained consistency. Coaches aren't talking about injuries but in my opinion, it's had a huge impact on us. Consistency has been a season-long issue for different reasons. How to get it out of ourselves to help control games will go a long way in defining our post-season. Concerned? A bit, but tempered with knowing we can do it.
DAVID L. (from Vermont) The Cincinnati loss wasn't good, but the young talent that showed up was good to see. Rogers should have been up earlier. McNary made one great tackle. Sheppard (if he controls himself) is turning into a solid player. Are there any more hidden gems on the practice squad? Angerer, Heyward-Bey and Moala are not playing good football. Where is Nevis now? With three weeks left and most likely playing at third or fourth seed, hopefully we will get to see the young talent grow.
A: It was good to see the young guys get some playing time, and the veteran guys you mention are key players who we need. Drake is with Dallas now. Even though we have a number of new guys up, let's hope we don't have to make any/many moves. We've had enough already.
TYLER B. (from Mishawaka, IN) For the last few games the slow starts have been daggers in the heart for our team. How can we expect to win games consistently when we are being out-scored in the first half each game? I know we have a young team but when we go to the playoffs what's going to happen is that teams will get ahead and hold onto their lead. We need to get our engines revving to make something happen to look like the Colts we know and love. Is there any way we can get good quality starts?
A: We just need better fundamentals and techniques to get the consistency. That's all it boils down to. The last six games have seen us get a first-half lead just once. Going 3-3 in those games is a tough way to do business. I hear you. I just don't have any other answer, and the players talk about the importance of execution and faith in each other. It's not a popular answer, but it is the needed approach for results.
BRAEDEN H. (from Paris, KY) The playoffs are approaching quick and the Colts are in and are indeed AFC South Champions once again, however it seems to have been a walk-in since we play in the weakest division in the league. Do you truly feel we can actually make it deep in the playoffs, or will this be another one-and-done like last year when we lost to Baltimore?
A: While I or the team cannot control perceptions like the one you present, all of us here know how hard it is to win a division and how special the accomplishment is. When you state a goal early in a year and work months toward getting it, you don't denigrate the achievement when it comes. We now have other goals, and we're working hard to get to those, too. I don't think you meant your question in a critical way, but our winning the South was not a walk-in, in my opinion. Can we advance when we get to the playoffs? I hope so. If we play to our ability level, I like our chances. One thing I know for sure is we have the opportunity. Right now, three playoff tickets are punched, and we're one of the three.
DANIEL F. (from Los Angeles, CA) Would you agree that on-field celebrations are too exaggerated today? Does every sound football play have to end with some form of celebration? What happened to sportsmanship and understanding which you are being paid to do? Players are paid to (perform), the best of the best understood this. Why should players celebrate plays that are part of their job description? Leave the celebrations to the fans and the cause for celebration to the players, the latter of which are being paid to do.
A: Really good question that could be answered in a number of ways, and I bet a question that has occurred to others. Since you asked my opinion, I think there is a place for some of it. All of it that occurs? Probably not. It's an emotional business and I think fans respond positively to a great deal of it. Spontaneous moments truly are the best, and you strongly prefer not to see things that demean an opponent or detract from the team. Some celebrations are obviously rehearsed, and those pale to the spontaneous moments (click here). I could go on. As a kid, I loved Elmo Wright's TD celebration. As a young adult, I got a kick out of Billy "White Shoes" Johnson (click here). As I got older, I appreciated the professionalism of Marvin Harrison (and others). Of Marvin's 128 TDs, I only remember about five celebrations, and none were over the top. When he had his 'elevation' catch in Tennessee in 2003, all he did was motion for the team to come join him at the new scrimmage line. I guess I trend to the way you think. Defining what is proper would vary wildly in the public domain, let alone a locker room, but you asked for my opinion. Great question, though.
JAMES H. (from Pittsford, NY) Like many others, I, too, very much appreciate the Colts Mailbag. I have been a Colts fan since the mid-50s. My hero was Buddy Young and then Lenny Moore. I don't think these Colts are as good as some would believe, and I don't think they are as bad as some believe. Last year's draft was terrific, not so, this year. What do you think our draft priorities should be moving forward?
A: You've seen a great deal of football. I wouldn't give up on these guys yet, and I don't think you are. Are we special? Not truly, but we have battlers and heart. That can take you a long way. Remember, our best team from the previous era (2005) didn't win its first playoff game. You could argue our 2006 team was maybe only the third- or fourth-best that we had. We have a shot to do something. Let's let time be the judge of the 2013 draft. The 2012 class was an eye-popper, but we were picking high and made picks at positions where contributions were quite noticeable. I wouldn't jump the gun on evaluating this past one. Time will be needed, as with most draft classes for every team. As for next year, we still have time on the clock in 2013. There will be many lively conversations when the right time comes. Thanks for the nice words on this forum and for your support of the Colts.