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:Gregory Young (Burlington, Kentucky)
Hi Kevin! Gotta couple of questions after seeing the game in Cleveland on Sunday. First of all, I have to mention the complete TENACITY of one Andrew Luck! Our Colts' QB has that ribbon in him that spouts that in EVERY game he plays.
That special drive and energy they call leadership is RARE. We are very fortunate to have him as our QB. The NEVER give up attitude spills over to the ENTIRE team. Now, that being said ...
Kevin, and the rest of Colts' Nation, can we overcome the Playoffs and make it to the BIG DANCE with that kind of SALT in our system or do you think it may be a one and done again?
Bowen: Greg, good to hear from you. Anytime you have a player like Luck, no game is ever over. We've seen that a dozen times the last three years with Luck and the Colts erasing double digit deficits on several occasions. Through the first 13 games of 2014, really the only thing completely holding the Colts offense back are the amount of giveaways. Now, to win consistently in the month of January, the Colts cannot continue to survive their own mistakes in trying to win three/four straight playoff games. Whenever you hear coaches talk about keys to any game, the winner of the turnover battle is always at the top of that list. As the Colts head into the final three weeks of the season. they have overcome 26 giveaways to compile a record of 5-2 in games they've lost the turnover battle. If the Colts can get back to the team we saw lead the NFL in fewest committed turnovers last season, chances will greatly improve come January.
Nate Abebe (Columbus, Ohio)
Are the colts (8-4) going to do anything with trent richardson which I had full love and respect when he came out of the draft and being picked by the browns?
Bowen: Chuck Pagano made it clear last week that Richardson is the Colts starting back. Richardson, who's production hasn't matched the early part of the season since a hamstring injury in late October, did finish the Cleveland game with 4.3 yards per carry on his seven attempts. Even with Richardson starting on Sunday, we saw some change in the snap counts for the running back duo. Boom Herron played 47 offensive snaps (12 touches) and Richardson logged 32 snaps (7 touches). The Colts are going to ride some combination of this duo the rest of the way.
Wyatt McCann (League City, TX)
Why wasn't there a Horseshoe FAQ podcast last week? I listen to it every week and was just wondering why one wasn't posted.
Bowen: Wyatt, we had some technical difficulties in trying to upload it last Friday. Our apologies. We appreciate you tuning in each week and will have one up again this week. These podcasts will continue during the offseason, too.
Cody V (Paris, IL)
With as high octane as the Colts Offense has been this season, there will undoubtedly be teams looking at Pep this off season for a Head Coaching job. I realize that the front office has done a great job surrounding Andrew Luck with weapons, but I still feel that with the Rooney Rule, Pep is going to get some serious looks. He seems to finally be getting really comfortable steering the Offense and it's paying dividends. Are you worried about us losing Pep?
Bowen: Just like with individual awards resulting from team success, the same can be said for coaches moving on. Look at Chuck Pagano's pedigree with the Ravens and why that intrigued the Colts brass. The same could be said for Bruce Arians in an interim role back in 2012. Pep Hamilton's name has been floated around with college jobs before and this year people believe he's one of the "hotter" coordinators in the league. However, it's just all speculation at this point. The draw of Andrew Luck is obviously appealing. Again, it's a good problem to have when other teams/schools covet your coordinators.
Brian Timberlake (Maine)
why cant the colts defense be more consistent?
Bowen: Brian, I think it's just a byproduct of the NFL season. You are going to have ups and downs throughout a 16-game schedule in facing a variety of teams. The Colts defense has played pretty well the last three weeks after struggling against the Patriots run game. One particular from Sunday that was nice to see was the defense playing well without Vontae Davis in the lineup. Prior to Sunday, when Davis had missed time, the unit really struggled from a pass defense standpoint. Chuck Pagano made sure to point out the play of cornerback Greg Toler for helping limit Cleveland's Pro Bowl receiver Josh Gordon to just two catches in seven targets. The Colts continue to operate among the NFL's best in third-down defense. Also, sacks is an area to watch each week for the Colts. Of the Colts 35 sacks, 33 of them have come in their nine victories. The true tests in the run department will come the next two weeks with Arian Foster and DeMarco Murray on the schedule.
K W (New Jersey)
Kevin, how exactly are the coaches addressing our offensive turnovers? Although we've been able to make up for them by still posting wins, we all know it has previously and will soon eventually cost us if we can't better our turnover differential (currently -2 and the only category we're not beating our opponents in).
Bowen: With 26 giveaways in 2014, the Colts' record should certainly not be 9-4. They've overcome a number that correlates to teams well out of the playoff picture right now. The focus for the Colts remains trying to get back to the protective unit seen in 2013, where the offense led the NFL with just 14 committed turnovers. K W, Chuck Pagano was asked this same question at Monday's press conference and here was his answer: "Continue to address it. We're not going to run from anything, run from any issues. It is what it is. We've got to get it fixed. We've got to get it cleaned up. Credit the opponent for forcing you into some bad plays and stripping the football but it's still no excuse for turning the football over. We practice it, we drill it every single day. We have our look team defense pulling at the ball all the time and trying to get the ball out. You see our skill position players all the time in games, in practice, in tight quarters, in traffic, putting two hands on the ball. We've got to get it cleaned up, period."