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Colts Mailbag: How Can The Offensive Line Better Protect Andrew Luck?

Intro: This week, mailbag readers inquire about the play of the offensive line, Josh Cribbs and the Colts pass rush.


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:Michelle M. (Fort Wayne, IN)

Ok, we beat jaguars... What are we going to do to protect Andrew Luck? that is a very serious situation.. he is a phenomenal quarterback but he isn't going to be phenomenal if he is sitting on the bench hurt.. Frustrating to watch.

Bowen: The offensive line had its struggles in the first half on Sunday against the Jaguars. That type of pressure certainly doesn't allow the Colts offense to operate as one of the league's best units as it has for so much of the 2014 season. The necessary corrections were made during intermission and now the question becomes can that protection continue going forward? It looks like the Colts will have a different look up front again this weekend. Right tackle Gosder Cherilus should be back in the lineup. However, starting right guard Hugh Thornton is dealing with an MCL sprain so guys like Xavier Nixon, Joe Reitz or A.Q. Shipley could be called upon to start.

Kevin Rudge (Schoolcrafts, Michigan)

How much production will griff Whalen do now with Joshua cribbs here?

Bowen: The Colts had to waive Whalen on Saturday in order to bring up Zurlon Tipton from the practice squad and give the team three running backs on their 53-man roster. Whalen was signed back to the team's practice squad on Tuesday. It was quite the debut from Cribbs. It took just one touch for Cribbs to show what he's capable of. His 46-yard kick return to start the game is the longest the Colts have had since 2012. Whether it was punt or kick return, Cribbs showed a few flashes of why he's one of the game's most electric return men.

Cody Abrams (Rushville, IN)

Are the Colts playoff material or are we going to miss out on the playoffs this year?

Bowen: Cody, I'm no fortuneteller but I do see this team competing in the month of January this season. The Colts currently hold a two-game divisional lead and with a 4-0 record against the AFC South, Indianapolis has control over any challengers to that crown. Yesterday, we took a look at the AFC playoff picture which looks quite murky after Week 12. If the Colts and Texans win, lose or split their next two, that Week 15 meeting between the two teams could ultimately decide the winner of the AFC South.

Jaramie Black (Wilmington, NC)

Have you been surprised at how bad the defense has played these last few weeks? We lack a pass rush and its showing against the strong teams which isn't going to help us in the playoffs. What can we do to generate some sort of pass rush?

Bowen: To be fair, this question was sent in prior to Sunday's game. The Colts defense played much better against the Jaguars but the pass rush argument relates directly to what this team has done in wins/losses. In the Colts four losses, they've recorded just one sack. In their seven wins, they've piled up 26 sacks. Some semblance of a pass rush is a necessity for the Colts to make a January type of run.

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