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Colts Mailbag

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Colts Mailbag - December 18, 2013

This week, mailbag readers ask about the receivers and who should play, how the club will use Trent Richardson after last week’s game, if Daniel Adongo should help Robert Mathis rush, if Andrew Luck should rest and not play in Kansas City, if the injury bug will subside for the playoffs, the play of Mike McGlynn/Samson Satele and if Luck should run more often.





INDIANAPOLIS – Readers of 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.

LEVI F. (from Grand Ridge, FL) I loved the way LaVon Brazill and Da'Rick Rogers stepped it up and hope to see way more of them.  To me, DHB has the size of a dream receiver and the speed and playmaking ability to go with it.  My idea is to convert him to a RB because of his speed and open space ability.  I think he would be a beast.  I also think he could block good.  I know that won't happen, but it would be awesome.

A:  Like you said, it won't happen, but I know we both see the talents he possesses.  Let's hope he makes a big push in the last two games.  We're all-in for the last two games and need every one of the receivers.  He's had moments before.  Who's to say he can't again.  Your letter did come before the Houston game and LaVon was out.  Da'Rick had a pretty good outing, and Griff Whalen produced in LaVon's absence.  Thanks for the input.  As a regular contributor, I know you want to see everyone succeeding here.

FELIX B. (from Hartford, CT) Why haven't we put Daniel Adongo on our line?  Robert Mathis needs help.  Teams realize all they need to do to have pocket time is to double-team Mathis.  We need extra strength, and I feel like Adongo would push that opposing offensive line, don't you?   Will you change the playbook for the playoffs?

A:  Daniel has a world of talent, but he still is learning as fast as he can while contributing on special teams (plus he hurt a hamstring against Houston).  As it relates to him, don't get too far ahead of the process.  Remember, Daniel never had played football until August.  He's covered a tremendous amount of ground, but defensive contributions need to come from others at this point.  That's not to denigrate Daniel in any way, just temper your expectations.  As far as the playbook and the playoffs, we'll keep to our philosophy and execute it to the fullest.  It's gotten us to 9-5 at the moment.

WAYNE W. (from Massachusetts) I was excited about the Trent Richardson trade.  I'm looking forward to his future.  It seems the reason Donald Brown has had more success has been the situation.  Trent would play on fairly obvious running situations, and there were bodies on him quickly.  Brown often got the ball in third-down and passing situations and found big holes.  When Trent was benched, Brown had similar trouble with early-down running.  I feel the burden falls on the offensive line.  This group just cannot open lanes in obvious run situations.  I hope we make some improvements to our line next year, but haven't given up on this year though.

A:  We've had our moments with the line, and I believe we are capable.  We ran well to win against Tennessee twice, and we ran well at the start of the year.  We ran fine last week.  It's all about execution, and I know you're not giving up.  We do need the backs functioning in all situations.  It's a priority for December/playoff football. 

CHUCK F. (from Fort Wayne, IN) How do you feel our injury bug will pan out?  I think we should get back a lot of our key players on both sides of the ball for the playoffs.

A:  We didn't seem to get too banged up this past week against Houston.  A number of guys are on a day-to-day basis, so we'll see.  We're hopeful Greg Toler starts work today and can go.  It's been a long time since we've seen him.  Ricky Jean Francois likely will be back for the Jacksonville game.  If we keep trending as we are and don't have any setbacks, it seems like we'll be in decent shape, just listening to what Chuck Pagano says about the medical matters.

RALPH C. (from Seaford, DE) Are the Colts going to keep Trent Richardson or trade him in the off-season?  He hasn't performed like most first-round draft choices perform.  I keep waiting for him to have a breakout game to justify the trade with Cleveland.  What do you think his problem is?

A:  You bet we will, and you wrote before the Houston game where he had 102 scrimmage yards and a **TD reception (click here for film breakdown of TD play)**.  Trent is more comfortable with the offense and is looking to contribute however he can.  He was split wide last Sunday, as well as playing the up back early on.  He took over when Donald was hurt and had 64 yards, including a big fourth quarter.  He'll be in the mix this year, next and, I'm sure, beyond.  As far as the struggles, getting here two games into the season is a tough thing on any player.  Having to learn a playbook under the gun is not an easy process.  I feel firmly Trent's addition is and will be a very good thing for us.


DEAN H. (from Fort Wayne, IN) For a couple years I've wondered which members of an team get officially labeled as "Super Bowl winner" when they win a championship? Obviously starters who played in the Super Bowl would be counted.  I'm curious if these other groups get recognition as winning a Super Bowl:  players on the practice squad, players on IR, players who may have been traded earlier in the season, assistant coaches, support staff. **


A:  All players and coaches would be in that mix, as well as anyone associated with the team in a full-time capacity when it happens.  It's a special accomplishment for everyone to share, and I don't think you would find any delineation whatsoever.  If you're there, you're there. 

JOHN C. (from Bellerose, NY) We are in the playoffs.  Would you give Andrew Luck a bye week say against Kansas City?  This way he gets rest, plus KC won't get to see him and make adjustments.  We would be a lot stronger to make a run.  It's the defense that in my opinion has four weeks to get it right for us to have any chance in playoffs, not the offense.

A:  Giving any player a rest is not in our plans during the season **(click here to read what Chuck Pagano said Monday about Sunday's KC game)**.  We are not locked into the fourth seed by any means, and we're playing to win.  It's a terrific matchup and let's worry about this Sunday first.  This is the type of game you want when you start preparing.  If we can get the same level of defensive play that we had in our last two home games, it would be exactly what we need.

DAVID L. (from Vermont) It was great to see the defense play that aggressive.  Can we do it two weeks in a row?  The better thing was to see was the first offensive drive.  With Mike McGlynn at center and Joe Reitz at RG, we were controlling the line.  McGlynn plays center better then guard and brings more force to the position than Samson Satele.  Reitz did a very good job during his short stay and when he left, we needed to earn our yards.

A:  It was one of our better defensive efforts of the season.  We want to stack it together.  We've had five interceptions in the last two home games.  We had a five-possession streak Sunday where Houston did not get a first down.  Eleven drives for them in a 44-minute span ended with seven punts, two turnovers, one possession lost on downs and a safety.  It's a prescription Chuck Pagano covets and one we need to duplicate.  Mike McGlynn played well, and Sunday was his third start at center (we're 3-0, which does mean we've won six times with Samson there).  You need that multi-positional value, and you saw it with Xavier Nixon coming in for Joe Reitz, who was starting a second different position in two games.  Let's hope all our linemen get healthy.

* *

DAVID W. (from Tucson, AZ) Andrew Luck has been running better than most of our running backs.  Is that a major concern entering the playoffs since Reggie Wayne is out and our offense is having hard time stringing together wins?

A:  While Andrew runs well, we don't want that being a staple of our offense, and it's not – it's a supplement.  Our backs gained more than 100 yards last Sunday, and that's what we need.  Andrew is best served to attack with his arm, he's said that.  It is nice to have that added dimension when needed because of the premium placed on disrupting the QB.

DAVID A. (from undisclosed) Dear Robert Mathis, how do you get past the offense so fast?

A:  It's called motor, determination, drive, passion, talent, heart, conditioning – anything that is a positive attribute for competition and for the dedication it takes to hone a craft.  Robert never let anyone hold him back.  In my opinion, he's one of the top 3-4 picks we have made in our Indianapolis era.  Given some players we've drafted, I still don't think that's an embellishment in the least.


BRAD H. (from Livingston, MT) Why didn't Pat Angerer play on Sunday against the Texans?**

A:  Pat was a deactivation against Houston and has been placed on injured reserve.  Kelvin Sheppard has been getting more time on the field and has opened the last three games at the 'mike' LB role.  Here's hoping Pat returns in the future with the impact he has shown in the past.

CODY V. (from Paris, IL) I liked the first half tempo and play-calling by Pep Hamilton against Houston.  I also loved how they spread Trent Richardson out as a receiver and got him the ball in space.  He's looking more confident, and let's hope he gets hot for the playoffs.  If we can execute in Arrowhead like we did on Sunday, I like our chances to run the table and get the two seed with a little help from Baltimore.  Your thoughts?

A:  Nice to see you take the wide view of things, but all we can worry about is Sunday.  A number of perceptions changed in the mailbag this week after the Houston win, but a down day in KC could change how people write in next week.  We handle wins the same way as losses, you put it behind and move one once you clean up any lingering problems.  The up-tempo worked well last week.  We ran the ball and while we could have converted a few more third downs, we were on it early.  Trent will be fine.  We have a bunch to play for, and a good day at KC is all we can worry about.  People will talk about the chances of moving into a very high seed, but none of that matters if we don't follow our process.  Remember what Jim Mora said about potential – 'Potential means you haven't done it yet.'  We can't even think about anything beyond KC.  That's up to you, and thanks for the support.

DONALD P. (from Chester, VA) Way to go Colts!  Do you think that this team is gearing up to make a long playoff run?  It seems we are getting confidence.  A win in Kansas City would be huge.  Trent being used in the short passing game is something he excelled in while in Cleveland.  Defense is getting better, and Andrew gets it done with his legs as well as arm.  Keep up the SUPER job on the Colts Mailbag, see you in New York!

A:  Donald, please see the answer above.  We don't want to put the damper on fans, but we have to worry about 60 minutes in KC.  We'll leave the rest to you.


RAMON P. (from Las Vegas, NV) We still have problems with third down, why not ask Andrew to run more on third down?  He is really smart, and I'm sure he won't get hurt.  Thank you very much and go COLTS!!!

A:  Please see my answer above regarding Andrew and rushing.  While he is capable, smart and everything you want with talent and instincts, the best approach is to run only when you have do.  Anything else, well, let's just leave that alone.

AARON O. (from North Manchester, IN) The team has won every game Mike McGlynn has started center, or at least when Samson Satele has not.  Why do you think that is?  Why does the coaching staff stick with Satele when he's healthy?

A:  We've won three times when Mike was at center because he has multi-positional value, like a number of linemen.  He did start at center in Philly for 14 games in 2010, so we do know Mike can play there.  Samson has started in six wins for us this year (and a number of them last year), and he has come in for a lot of attention this year from readers.  Early in the year Mike was getting that attention.  Coaches do not like to change starters at any position for injury reasons, and they have the best interests for the club in mind when they put players on the field.  The right decisions will be made, but you have every right and chance to ask your questions. 

CHRIS M. (from Sioux Falls, SD) With the injury to Donald Brown how will the Colts use T-Rich?  They used him in a lot in the pass game which worked out well.  Has Darius Butler earned the starting role over Greg Toler?  Also, I will be attending the Colts-KC game.  Are there times when fans can possibly get autographs, or is it just hit and miss?  I will be behind the Colts' bench, so I'm hoping to get a few.

A:  Donald left with a stinger, but that does not mean he won't be ready for Sunday.  Regardless, we'll keep doing what we do and while there always are nuances to each game plan, there are not radical departures from core philosophy.  Darius has done a good job for Greg, and we hope to get everyone healthy.  Having Greg up would help the team.  Glad a huge fan like you is making the trip.  The best chance for autographs (and there are no promises) would be where you'll be in the stands.  Maybe luck (no pun) will be with you.  You'll love the atmosphere in KC.  As far as road sites for Colts fans, this one is a great place to see a game.  They have passionate and smart fans who get after it.  As NFL venues go, this one is a top five pick in my book.

MATT B. (from Mooresville, IN) How many people does it take to hold up the flag over the football field?

A:  We typically shoot for 150 people with some form of military background.  We can accommodate a few more individuals than that with the same sort of background.  I don't think I've ever seen a flag any bigger than the one we display with immense pride at the stadium.

RICH I. (from Martinez, CA) There is still a lot of football to play this year but it's never too early to start thinking about next year.  I've had a difficult time following how many of our 2014 draft picks we still own.  Can you help?

A:  We do not have our top pick.  That went to Cleveland for Trent Richardson.  Next year's fourth-round pick also goes to Cleveland in a trade we had this past draft to get Montori Hughes (fifth-round).  Next year's seventh-round choice goes to St. Louis for Josh Gordy.  We will get a seventh-round pick from Baltimore for A.Q. Shipley.  So we have choices in rounds two, three, five, six and seven (from Baltimore).  That's where we stand for 2014.

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