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:Tobias Tomasi (Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil)
Great win from Montoya yesterday, right?
Well, i have a question for you.
The first one is about Jonathan Newsome. What do you think it will be his role in the Colts defense this year? I believe that when Mathis come back he will assume the starting role. That being said, i think Newsome would come to the field only on passing downs or special situations or he can take the job from Cole or Mathis? He had a great rookie year leading the Colts in sacks on the regular season, i remember him detroying the game against the Giants on prime time and playing really well in the post season.
Bowen: Yes, it was a tremendous 99th running and what a ride for Montoya coming from 30th back at one point in the race. The 500 has some nice momentum to build off heading into the centennial running next year. Back to football, and your question regarding Jonathan Newsome. Like you've mentioned above, the Colts have an abundance of pass rushers. Newsome is near the top of that list and when Mathis does return, I don't think that will impact too much of the playing time for the second-year pass rusher. Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky believes the Colts pass rush is continuing to evolve and Newsome showed last season why he's a big, big part of that going forward. Even if Cole and Mathis are the starters, like you say above, that doesn't necessarily mean Newsome will automatically be relegated to the bench come passing downs. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see Newsome (and multiple edge rushers) playing on those downs.
Russell Barnable (St. Kitts & Nevis)
With both Andre Johnson and Frank Gore being signed as temporary (albeit effective) starters for the next couple years, do you view any particular player we have who are looking to be their long term replacements after they move on?
Bowen: Russell, I think you can start with the two offensive skill players the Colts drafted this past year when looking at long-term options at those positions. At wide receiver, the Colts drafted Phillip Dorsett and while his frame might not resemble Johnson, he has the talent to grow into a leading role. T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief definitely have the ability to carry on the tradition of Colts pass catchers seen the past 15-20 years. At running back, sixth-round pick Josh Robinson might not be the tallest guy (just like Frank Gore) but his production in the SEC last year (6.3 yards per carry) speaks for itself. Boom Herron and Vick Ballard are still young by NFL standards and could fit right behind Gore as early as Week One this season.
Jeff Mac (Clarksville, TN)
As a long time colts fan I am extremely excited about the upcoming season, but my question is how long do we have to win the Super bowl with what we have now and what is the plan to continue to grow so we stay competitive while we replace some of the older guys!
Bowen: Jeff, this is a great question and one that Jim Irsay and Ryan Grigson have mentioned they think about almost daily. The term "sustained success" is something that the Colts brass frequently mentions as a focus for this regime. This current draft class, paired with the upcoming free agency is going to be key for the Colts. Does the bulk of that 2012 draft class (highlighted by Andrew Luck's contract), plus Anthony Castonzo represent the centerpiece moving forward? Have the Colts found a couple of young defensive pieces among this year's rookies that can be long-term starters? While the Colts certainly have the look of a "win-now" team in 2015, the contracts signed this offseason do not tie the franchise's hands down the road.
Brenyn Bishop (Bountiful, Utah)
What are you guys going to do about the offensive line because Andrew Luck is a amazing quarterback but if he is not protected, we can't win?
Bowen: Pep Hamilton would be the first to tell you that Andrew Luck cannot continue to be hit as much as he has the past couple of seasons. The sack numbers against Luck have diminished a bit but the hits still can significantly impact plays, and obviously the health of the Colts star quarterback. The Colts currently have 10 linemen on the roster with starting experience in the NFL. Building competition and versatility across the line will be a staple of that group this offseason. The key now becomes finding the continuity and seeing what the Colts can get out of right tackle Gosder Cherilus. If Cherilus can turn in a healthy season (similar to his one in 2013), the Colts will have one of the better tackle duos in the league and can then focus the rest of their line resources on the center and right guard spots. The Colts line does enter 2015 with some momentum after the postseason run last year, where Luck hardly hit the turf in three games.
Anthony Medina (Florida)
Since the colts drafted Philip Dorsett in the first round and he is exactly like ty Hilton is there a chance that the colts let are best play maker ty Hilton go after his contract year
Bowen: This question was answered in more detail in past mailbags. I will direct you there for those answers. While I don't think Hilton and Dorsett are "exactly" alike, it's not like having two players of similar skill sets would be a bad thing for the Colts offense.
Andrew Barron (Los Angeles)
Hello, Colts fan here. I'm wondering if there is any updates or news on Nate Irving?
Bowen: Andrew, there's no exact timetable for Irving returning to the field. He said earlier this offseason that he will be ready when he has to be ready. Of course, that's a little vague but that should be expected to a degree with an ACL injury suffered at the midway point of last season. From a timetable standpoint, we saw Reggie Wayne ready for the first day of Training Camp last year after an ACL injury around the same timeframe as Irving. Just like Irving, Wayne also tore his ACL near the midway point of a season. Irving is observing OTAs right now so look for Anderson to be the earliest we see him get on the field.
Ryan Herendeen (Columbia City, IN)
Do you think the colts will use Duron Carter in the Red Zone bc of his Height? He is 6'5!!!
Bowen: Whether watching Duron Carter in the Colts rookie mini-camp or now in OTAs, his physical presence is clearly unique. Now, let's slow down a bit when predicting Carter's immediate impact. Look at what the Colts have done this offseason at the wide receiver position. In no particular order, the Colts have the likes of T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson and Donte Moncrief leading the group into 2015 (both Johnson and Moncrief could be red-zone threats with their 6-3 bodies). First-round pick Phillip Dorsett could easily find his way into that group very soon. So where does that leave Carter, or frankly any other Colts wide receiver? It's still too early to try and project Carter into such a specific role. This is a guy who hasn't played any NFL football and doesn't have a ton of college football experience compared to a guy like Dorsett. The rest of this offseason program and obviously Training Camp should give the Colts a better idea of where Carter will slot in 2015. Is he too talented to keep off the field? Is the practice squad a better option for him in 2015? These are all questions that come for Carter's role within the deepest position group on the Colts roster.
Christian Schmidt (Chicago, IL)
There's a video online of Pat McAfee kicking a 75 yard field goal and I see that we just signed rookie kicker Taylor Pontius. What are the odds that McAfee takes over for Vinateiri when he retires or even takes over for 50 yard field goal attempts this season, or was Pontius brought in to eventually replace Vinateiri?
Bowen: This question usually arises every offseason when the Colts bring in an additional kicker. As if Adam Vinatieri needed to prove himself any, he showed last season that, in all likelihood, he will dictate when his career comes to an end. Vinatieri enters his 20th NFL season fresh off his best campaign. For new kicker Taylor Pontius, the Colts have a recent track record of their camp kickers moving on to starting jobs—Brandon McManus (Denver) and Cody Parkey (Philadelphia). As far as the 50-yard debate with Pat McAfee, length isn't really an issue right now for Vinatieri. From at least 40 yards last season, Vinatieri knocked home 10-of-11 field goals. McAfee has a world-class leg but that weapon will probably be held for kickoffs, the booming punts and the very rare chance of a 60-some-yard field goal at the end of a half or game.
Alan Kalleber (Goshen, NY)
If Tom Brady is out for four games he will face the colts the first week back. I realize he will be up for the game, however, won't he have to stay away from the team for those four weeks. If this is correct it seems he should have a little rust and and more so his receivers should be out of sink with him and more in tune with with his replacement. Don't you think there will be a period of adjustment for the offense when he comes back?
Bowen: Alan, you are correct in that Brady will have to be away from his team for that four-week stretch (just like Robert Mathis last year). If we were talking about a quarterback who isn't a first-ballot Hall of Fame lock, I might agree with your belief. Sure, the timing might be a little different, but it's not like the Patriots offense has been overhauled with new faces/or a new system this year. You know Brady, being the competitor that he is, is going to do everything he can to make sure that there is little drop off when that return does come at Lucas Oil Stadium (assuming that suspension holds after the NFLPA appeal). I do think that your claim about timing could be the biggest hurdle. If New England backup Jimmy Garoppolo throws a much different ball then Brady that could certainly have an impact in those first few days of practice during Colts/Patriots week in mid-October.
Dave H (Sebring, FL)
I WILL BE BACK IN INDIANA. IN THE SECOND WEEK OF JULY! FOR 2 1/2 WEEKS CAN YOU LET ME KNOW ,THE COLTS PRACTICE SCHEDULE FOR THIS TIME. SO I CAN SEE THE TEAM AND PLAYERS! THIS IS SOMETHING I HAVE MISSED ABOUT THE COLTS AND WATCHING THESE GUYS DEVELOP AS THE SEASON GOES!!!!!
Bowen: Dave, unfortunately Colts players will be scattered all over the country during that time period. Once mini-camp ends on June 11, players do not have to be back in Indianapolis until Training Camp (expected to start on August 1). If you are looking for your Colts fix over the next few weeks, we are expected have a live stream of OTAs/mini-camp the next three Wednesdays. Today's can be seen around 10:50 a.m. EST on Colts.com/live or on the Mobile App.
Bill Power (Carmel, IN)
Please give us the starting day for Training Camp in Anderson. Travel plans are being made now.
Bowen: Training camp is expected to commence on August 1 (15 days before the Colts preseason opener in Philadelphia). Outside of a couple of off days, the Colts should practice virtually every day in those first dozen or so days of camp. Exact dates and time for Training Camp are expected to be announced next month.
Alan Kalleberg (Goshen, NY)
What do you think about the PAT? I think that they should move it back to the 2 yd. line and just make it a 3 point conversion instead of 2 point.
Bowen: While, I see both sides of the argument, I kind of side with Adam Vinatieri on this one. If it's not a problem, why the need to fit it? Now, having said that, I see where people want the game to be more entertaining. In my opinion, if this new PAT rule is going to last, some tweaks need to be made. The two-point conversion should be from the 1 ½ yard line to entice more teams to go for two. Another option would be to move the PAT even further back from the current 15-yard line. It's going to be really interesting to watch how many teams do decide to go for two points under these new parameters. I don't think we will see a bevy of teams go that route initially.