Colts Mailbag

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Colts Mailbag: How Can The Colts Get Off To Better Starts?

Intro: This week, mailbag readers inquire about the Colts run game, trying to play without Robert Mathis and a look at the Colts starting corners.





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

Here is this week's collection:Jacob Robinson (Zionsville, IN)

Do you think the colts will get back to running the ball considering Trich had some good carries in the 1st half?

Bowen: Without a doubt. By getting behind schedule so early on Sunday night, the Colts clearly didn't run the ball as much as they had planned on it. Chuck Pagano mentioned this on Monday. Richardson had nine touches for 51 yards in Denver and the Colts would love to build off that type of performance as the weeks move on.

Richard Wolford (Tulsa, OK)

In respect to the Denver game. How do you run a QB sneak on the 2 yard line, especially when it is 4th down? Thanks, Colts Strong

Bowen: Andrew Luck has already gone over this decision several times in the past few days. First, it was a bit of a chaotic situation with Luck trying to hurry-up and catch the Broncos off guard. I don't think he realized that the ball was positioned a bit further from the goal line then it looked after Hakeem Nicks went down. Obviously, this is a play that Luck would love to have back.

Rob E (Ocala, FL)

Why do pep and chuck continue to insist we be a power running team? With a young and inexperienced O-line, Trich underwhelming, and Ahmad coming off a serious neck injury, we don't have the pieces to make this work... I think this is why we start out so slow, instead of spreading the offense out and accepting that we are a pass first team!

Bowen: The old debate of pass/run for the Colts offense. Yes, the Colts started slow on Sunday night but when you look into the box score, they actually passed five more times than they ran it in the game's first 11 plays. On the first two drives, Trent Richardson had three carries for 11 yards. The Colts were looking to do anything they could to sustain drives and keep the ball away from such a potent offense. The slow starts are an obvious concern and the players and coaches know that to take the next step as a team, first half performances have to improve.

Gregory Young (Burlington, KY)

Hi, Kevin! My question is this after seeing both halves of the Denver game this past Sunday night... Why didn't the Colts play the defensive setup that basically shut down the Broncos in the second half in the first half? I realize that the Colts were stopped 3 times inside the ten and came away with only 6 points. However, if the defensive strategy would have been the same in BOTH halves the outcome of the game would've probably been FAR different. Don't you think? Thanks for giving some further input into this.

Bowen: First, let's give some credit to the Broncos. This is one of the best offenses in NFL history so they were obviously very effective in taking advantage of their five drives in Colts territory. The Colts did a nice job neutralizing Demaryius Thomas on Sunday night but tight end Julius Thomas was a mismatch, especially down in the red zone. It boils down to getting off the field on third-down. Denver converted six of their first seven chances on Sunday night---hence the 24-0 lead. The Colts did a much better job in the second half on the money down and that was a clear reason why they clawed their way back into the game.

Bryan Smith (Lafayette, IN)

What are we going to do without Robert Mathis? Is there anybody we can sign to replace him? Can this be fixed internally? I didn't see much of anything last night. I'm not hitting the panic button but I don't think we will advance deep in the tournament without a pass rush. What are your thoughts, and what is your understanding at this point of the teams plans?

Bowen: A lot of very reasonable questions and the loss is clearly something that can't be done from just one person, or even one position. Ryan Grigson and his staff always evaluate every option but for now the job must be a collective effort from within. For this team to get back into the playoffs, a consistent pass rush will be needed. Off the edge, Bjoern Werner and Erik Walden will be the focal points. Jonathan Newsome, the rookie out of Ball State, could see some action in pass rushing situations. We've seen some disruptive blitz work from the likes of Jerrell Freeman and Josh McNary out of the inside linebacker spots, too. The fact that opposing offensive coordinators don't have to even account for Mathis is a major loss as well. Can someone emerge on the Colts defense to attract that type of attention in weeks to come?

Manny Vang (Fresno, CA)

I really thought that the additions of D'Qwell Jackson and Arthur Jones would help an extremely passive defense, but now I've seen nothing has changed. Does Coach Manusky have any kind of plan for more aggressive defensive play? Also, I love that we're trying to run the ball, but unless we get a groove going Coach Hamilton needs to wait on that run game. I'm tired of seeing my favorite team constantly having to come from behind.

Bowen: Again, let's not jump to any concrete conclusions after Week One. Yes, the defense struggled in the first half but the opposition was of historic proportion. We saw in the preseason a lot of blitzing and an attacking style is what the Colts want to have with Vontae Davis and Greg Toler able to defend on an island.

Rich Harvey (Fairfax, VA)

What happened to Delano Howell? One minute he is competing for the starting safety position and the next minute he is nowhere to be seen. Not on the roster, not on IR. He just disappeared! What gives? Thanks

Bowen: Howell suffered a neck injury in the second week of Training Camp and after some consultation with various doctors and family, the injured reserve move was considered the best option. It's unfortunate because it did appear Howell was the early favorite to start at safety but anytime you are dealing with a neck injury, the seriousness must be taken into consideration. Howell is currently on the Colts' injured reserve.

Jim Merriman

Jim Harbaugh was quoted on the subject of Peruball in the paper recently, saying that Andrew Luck was good at it at Stanford. They talked about a village parish here Harbaugh volunteers each year, as well, though not in great detail. What is Peruball?

Bowen: Doing some google searching led me to "Peruball" being a mission trip that Harbaugh went on this offseason in Peru. I'm not really sure what Andrew Luck's connection is to "Peruball."

Dave H (Sebring, FL)


Bowen: As far as the read type option stuff you are seeing on offense, Seattle has one of the most unique playmakers in the NFL in Percy Harvin. His skillset is ideal for such plays. How much do you want to risk your franchise quarterback in those running-type situations though? We did see Andrew Luck attempt a shovel pass to Dwayne Allen on Sunday night. Compared to most teams, the Colts have a fairly big secondary from a height standpoint. Even the younger guys like Loucheiz Purifoy, Sheldon Price and Dewey McDonald all have above average frames for secondary guys.

Tuna Hunkin (Honolulu, Hawaii)

Will the Colts go after Ben Jarvis who has just been released by the Bengals? Still not very confident with our running back situation - TR still hasn't shown he can go over a 3 yds per carry average and Bradshaw is injury prone and if they both go down we are done.

Bowen: No move for BenJarvus Green-Ellis, so far. The Colts did sign Dion Lewis earlier this week. Lewis is a small-ish back who brings some kick return experience to Indianapolis. Lewis was a decorated college player at Pittsburgh and is trying to prove he can return to form after breaking his leg a little more than a year ago.

Frankie Ruiz (Bakersfield, CA)

With three quality corners in Davis, Toler (when healthy), and Butler.. I have often wondered why we don't play more man to man press coverage. Last year we were successful in being physical with Denver's receivers, but we were burned badly against St. Louis playing more of a zone. Why don't we stick with one philosophy? Just curious to hear your opinion.

Bowen: I think it's pretty clear the Colts do tend to play more man-to-man coverage because of the cover skills in guys like Davis, Toler and Butler. For this defense to be successful, having corners that can hold their own without much safety help is key. Going forward, if that trio can stay healthy and play on an island that would alleviate some major stress towards the unproven Colts pass rush.

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