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Colts Mailbag

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Colts Mailbag - July 2, 2014

This week, mailbag readers talk or ask about if the offensive line now is better at run blocking than in previous years, if the team will wear white jerseys in a preseason game, the greatness of Dallas Clark, how the WR battle will be in training camp, how the NT position shapes up and if Ryan Grigson is judged by the play of Khaled Holmes.





INDIANAPOLIS – Readers of may submit questions during the week and have a chance to have them answered during the middle of each week.  **Submit your question here**.

Here are responses to some of the questions received recently.  We thank you for your interest in the Colts.  Please make an effort to be concise when submitting a question.

DAVE H. (from Sebring, FL) When Peyton was QB, the O-line was more about pass protection, not run-blocking.  Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano have done a great job getting players willing to do both.  That is what the team needs to get to the next level.  We must be versatile for the team's future, and I would love to see the Colts be the next dynasty.  We are overdue.

A:  We are versatile doing both now, but we weren't as one-dimensional in that past era as you claim.  While we were tilted a bit in a pass:rush ratio, we could run block then, too.  Our approach is different now with Ryan and Chuck.  You can see it in the size of the lines on both sides of the ball.  We're a bit more direct now in the rushing game.  As for winning, I'd love for us to get to the dynasty level.  It's the goal for us, but that's stating an awful lot as well.  As for "overdue" for being a dynasty I don't agree with that.  You're never owed anything in this league, and don't forget we have the most playoff appearances of any franchise since the start of the 1999 season.  We also have the second-highest regular-season victory total.  There are some franchises that never experience that achievement level, so keep that in mind if you think we've had a prolonged period of irrelevancy.  It's the furthest thing from the truth, but I do appreciate your thoughts and weekly contributions.

ENRIQUE H. (from Bakersfield, CA) I keep reading stuff about Da'Rick Rogers and LaVon Brazill most likely to make the roster and Griff Whalen getting cut or put on the practice squad.  He had more receptions and yards than both of them.  Does the coaching staff feel the same way, or is it just talk?

A:  It's talk, talk, talk.  Nothing has been determined, and it will be hashed out in training camp.  I think all three had very solid spring work, and they know the stakes are high – just like in every position group.  This will be outstanding training camp watching should all parties stay healthy.  Don't stop tuning in when it comes to NFL coverage, just know most of what you hear is opinion, with a large percentage of it not grounded in fact.

DOUG B. (from Indiana) I realize you can't always be as successful as the 2012 draft, but Ryan Grigson puts a lot of faith in Khaled Holmes being the starting center.  He has brought in interchangeable pieces to cover himself just in case Holmes doesn't work out.  If Holmes is a bust after the support he is being given, do you think it will decline Grigson's reputation when it comes to the draft or do you think he will point to the success promoting competition in camp and the best player rising to the top.

A:  I don't think Khaled will be a bust.  I think he has what it takes to have a very good career.  He and Andrew are meshing well already.  Khaled produced at a high level at USC, and he is very smart.  I think Ryan, his staff and the coaches identified a player who can contribute.  I also think Ryan has assembled complementary parts that will shape the line the way we want it.  There's no question the 2012 draft was a raging success.  Our 2013 class was measured against the previous one, and that's an unfair yardstick.  I think it will acquit itself well.  I don't think Ryan's reputation hangs in the balance in this or any regard.  Will he bat 1.000?  C'mon, no one does.  Just look at how he and Chuck have re-shaped the franchise (sure, some will say and have said the presence of Andrew is the biggest reason) while winning and making the playoffs.  Khaled will be fine.  He's one of the easiest guys to root for on the roster.  He'll do well under the microscope everyone is applying to him.

NICK M. (from Virginia) I'm very glad we brought Brandon McKinney back.  I'm hoping he can stay healthy and contribute this year to an improving defensive line.  But, with players like Josh Chapman and Zach Kerr, do you see us carrying more than one nose tackle and if so, who makes the cut?

A:  Great question, and the answer will come in a few weeks.  You never can have enough parts on the defensive line, and others could slide in there as well.  Brandon paid his own way to attend mini-camp, and we signed him when it was over.  I'm sure you remember he was one of Chuck's early big-ticket UFAs.  He's had health issues that point toward the rough nature of the game, not the individual, and it is fun seeing a nice, quiet guy get another shot.  You could see how our veterans liked seeing him again in the locker room.  Josh is poised for a big year, and Zach has some good numbers.  They fit the profile of a defensive line that has shot up in average weight per player by about 40 pounds in the last two years.  We want sturdy performers like Chuck had in Baltimore.  You'll see great competition here, too.

BOB B. (from Deltona, FL) Dallas Clark was and still is a class act.  He and others changed the dynamics of the offense.  He was a major contributor and a complete player.  It was a shame he went elsewhere, but things progress and change.  It's a cycle, but Dallas retiring a Colt was the ultimate.

A:  I couldn't agree more, and Dallas (**click here for a story on him**) is the type of guy for whom ceremonies like this are held.  No one will forget his contributions.  He ranks with John Mackey at the top of the positional reception marks.  I don't think Dallas reaches Canton, but he reached the hearts of many of us.  He's a Colt forever, and that's what counts.

MITCH S. (from Indianapolis) Are the Colts going to wear white jerseys again at home in preseason?

A:  We will be wearing white jerseys in the preseason home opener against the Giants.  It continues a tradition we started a couple of years ago.  There are no plans for any other things out of the ordinary (ie: throwback uniforms) during the regular season.

JOSE S. (from Moline, IL) Why do fans always try to suggest picks and free agents like it's their job?  Yes, I know some of the people they suggest might be good, but that's why the Colts have people that are experts on that topic.  I really would like to see other questions other than, 'Why don't the Colts sign so and so, or why don't we draft so and so?"  It just makes me not even want to read the mailbag anymore.  Just a rant, thanks.

A:  Glad you ranted.  That's why this forum exists, and I try to present all viewpoints when they are spelled out rationally like you just did.  I don't mind when people have suggestions.  It means they're invested with us, so to speak.  Sometimes (largely due to tampering rules) I can't get into things when it involves current league players.  Sometimes, it's fun to hear who fans think are players in the draft that could help the team.  We like hearing from our followers.  Many are regular mailbag contributors, and I hope you become one, too.  Take the time to write, even if it's not a suggestion like the ones you outlined.  I guess you feel strongly we have solid coaching and personnel staffs.  I think we do, too.

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