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:Josh Olumba (Austell County, GA)
Mr. Bowen how can we (colts) expect to win playoff games knowing our running game is not at the level we expected?
Bowen: Josh, that's the million-dollar question heading into January. Of the Colts five losses this season, four of those games saw the team put out their fewest rushing totals of the season. Some semblance of balance would be ideal in the postseason but whether it's necessary or not remains to be seen. The run game has tried to be established over the past couple of weeks but even Chuck Pagano said earlier this week that come playoff time a "whatever it takes" mentality has to be in place. While I do think running the football is important for the Colts, more possession is a bigger offensive key. The time of possession for the Colts has gone down significantly from earlier this season with turnovers plaguing the offense. If the Colts can get back to having the ball consistently in the 32-35 minute mark that would alleviate some of the stress on the defense.
Silas Henderson (Shafter, CA)
Hello Mr. Bowen, glad we won on Sunday. But since I didn't get to see the game I would like to ask this question: Tennessee may be one of the worst teams in the league, but still, did our offense get off to a fast start?
Bowen: It was a much better start for the Colts offense, extending throughout really the entire first half. They had two first downs on their opening possession, marking the first time in nearly two months they have moved the chains that much to start the game. A total of 17 points produced by the offense led to Andrew Luck exiting at halftime. Yes, it was the Titans, but the Colts needed that type of start. Having that mental hurdle of slow starts hanging over into the playoffs wouldn't have been good. Now, of course the question becomes can the Colts do that against a much better defense on Sunday, and possibly away from home if they are able to advance?
Isak H. (Mexico City)
Have the coaches said something about how the team plans to draft?
Bowen: There has been little talk publically about the draft. The grind of the NFL season has reached the postseason and any draft talk from Chuck Pagano or even Ryan Grigson won't be coming until the offseason gets here. In years past, Grigson has held a press conference in the days after the season ended with the draft being one of the topics.
Tim Ferrell (Iowa)
Hello. I was wondering what's going on with Ahmad Bradshaw. How's he doing and will he be playing in the playoffs?
Bowen: Tim, Bradshaw has been placed on injured reserve after fracturing his fibula back in November. He will not be playing in the playoffs. I know you live in Iowa but for the locals, Bradshaw will be down at Circle Centre mall on Friday at noon for a Blue Friday event.
Brian Uhl (Indiana)
Why do the Colts quit playing football after winning division each year? ie resting players, 14-0 season that could have been perfect, just plain playing terribly to finish season until playoffs start, than somehow trying to turn that around in playoffs. No wonder they are usually one and done in playoffs. Play more like the good teams, (I really hate to say this but) New England, you never see them stop trying to win. Just because your making same money no matter how you play, there should be something said to playing your best in each and every game.
Bowen: Brian, I'm not sure what you're referring to. The Colts pretty much played all their healthy players over the course of the last two weeks. Yes, Andrew Luck was taken out after a half on Sunday but Matt Hasselbeck was clearly equipped enough to keep, and extend, that 10-point halftime lead. We saw New England rest some players in Week 17, with home field locked up in the AFC playoff picture. The argument of rest/play is different for every NFL team and there's compelling cases from both sides on what ultimately works in the postseason.