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Colts Mailbag - June 11, 2014

This week, mailbag readers talk or ask about Andrew Luck’s next contract, about Denver wanting to beat the Colts to please its fans, how the club intends to field players without Robert Mathis for four games, one last letter about Jadeveon Clowney’s brash comments, if the club would let Luck rollout more, competition in the secondary, how special teams positions are shaping up and Trent Richardson’s health.





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) Peyton Manning said in last year's loss to the Colts that he and his team did not perform well but the next time he faces Indianapolis, the outcome will be different.  He wants to win it for the fans of Denver.  Since that's the first game, will our players be ready for what he throws at us?  I would love to see the Colts leave Denver with a win.  I wish the reports of doom – not being able to keep players – about Andrew Luck's upcoming contract would stop.  I hope Luck does not go after the big-money deal and signs a reasonable contract so we can stay competitive for years.

A:  I know how competitive Peyton is (though I never remember him predicting a win and I didn't see the interview), and the 39-33 game here last year had a little bit of everything for everyone.  It was a wild night where everyone seemed to make plays (meaning both QBs probably had one or two they wish they had over).  We're competitive, too, so hopefully that night will be just as entertaining – and have the same outcome.  It's a tough place to play, but we've had some memorable games in that stadium.  Will we be ready for an opener?  Is there any doubt?  I don't think a player in the league needs energizing for one of those.  On your second question, there is going to be conjecture on Andrew as you mentioned since people feel a need to throw in their two cents.  So much of that noise is worth about two cents, trust me.  The team has been wise in its financial approach knowing than Andrew and others will need to be dealt with.  We like to win.  He likes to win.  All the players like what we have going and what our culture is.  It will get done as it will.  My feeling in the end is we will achieve a win-win. 

MAL S. (from Baltimore, MD) I have an old photo of a Colts player that was taken in 1950, and he has #73 on his jersey.  So far, no one has been able to identify this mysterious individual.  Can you help me identify him?

A:  LB-Hardy Brown wore that number in 1950.  B-Bus Mertes wore it from 1947-48.  Those are the only players I have listed from pre-1953 (when the Colts in our current form began play).  I show no others in my records, and I hope this helps.  The venerable John Steadman, rest his soul, would have known from that photo in a flash.  You may wish to contact the Baltimore Sun in case a crusty veteran at the paper could help, or you could contact the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards (410-727-1539) in case a curator there could assist. 

PAUL C. (from Superior, CO) Since Robert Mathis is suspended four games, does his forfeited salary still count against the salary cap?  (I'm) just curious, but could the Colts conceivably use that money to sign another free agent for a year or extend a contract, etc.?

A:  The team will be credited for the four games Robert (**click here for story**) will miss, but we have players on hand who will fill his shoes.  The roster composition may be a little different for those four games.  It changes week-to-week anyway when you deactivate players on game days, but we'll field a unit that will perform in his absence.

BOB B. (from Deltona, FL) I read your reply to my previous mail.  I know the AFC South has improved, especially the Colts.  They're addressing areas that were needed, but I know teams will remember comments made by some mindless rookie (Jadeveon Clowney) even before he got drafted and give him SPECIAL attention when they do meet.

A:  I'm sure those comments will be replayed to our players by reporters during the week.  I'm sure they'll go from locker-to-locker fishing for something, but I truly think our guys will have other things on their mind.  Clowney's remarks are somewhat garden variety in this league, and external stimulants rarely have their place here or in many locker rooms.  I disagree with you on the significance of his remarks.  I doubt there will be any feelings here regarding them.  We're going to have our hands full with a number of his teammates. 

PAUL C. (from Winnipeg, Canada) Will the Colts consider rolling out Andrew Luck on a more consistent basis?  He seems to have a preternatural ability to create plays when he is out of the pocket.  I remember watching a game against the Patriots and heard Bill Belichick say to his defensive team to keep Luck in the pocket.  I've been a Colts fan since 1967.

A:  Following us so long, I know you remember the great rollouts of Bert Jones – for the yards/TDs they made, but also for injuries that occurred as well.  I agree Andrew can make things happen, but his mindset (and ours) is for him to get the ball in playmakers' hands.  It's best done from the pocket.  I don't believe we've ever designed something specifically for him to run so far (he said last year it hasn't happened).  I think we'll see him do it from time-to-time, but not by deliberate design.  Something you may want to read is an interesting recent piece by Andy Benoit of about Luck's running efficiency compared to other young QBs.  Here is the link: ****

NOAH W. (from Dayton, OH) (There's) a lot of competition at cornerback this year.  Who's looking good to fill the missing spot?  Qua Cox and Loucheiz Purifoy look like some great undrafted FAs.  Marcus Burley and Sheldon Price look like some great players as well.

A:  All four are using the OTAs to better their chances, but you don't want to draw too many conclusions at this point.  While this work is past the mid-point and mini-camp is beyond that, we'll have to get to training camp before drawing more complete conclusions.  There's not really a starting spot open at CB.  You have Vontae Davis and Greg Toler.  We usually carry about five corners on the roster, so they are jostling for spots.  Their special teams ability is a real key for those who make it.  In general, we've been pleased with the efforts so far, but I don't think we're in the position yet to discuss things specifically.  

JIM O. (from Lizton, IN) I just wonder about Jeris Pendleton.  I like his story and would like to see him make the squad.  Also, what can you tell me about Henoc Muamba?

A:  Jeris and Henoc both are doing fine in OTAs.  Jeris (**click here to read about him from last year**) seemed to have a very good camp last week.  I like how he handles himself, and he seems mature and determined in his approach.  You root for stories like his when a player overcomes some obstacles.  He got on the field last year, and he'll do everything to get back there again.  Henoc has a good body of work in the CFL, just as Jerrell Freeman did (**click here to read about Henoc**).  He has the right approach about landing a spot in this league, and his story is one to follow just like Jerrell's, plus Daniel Adongo, Erik Swoope and Josh McNary.  

ISAK H. (from Mexico City, Mexico) Where are the Colts heading with the 32nd, 64th and 96th picks of the 2015 draft?

A:  I like how you think, my man – nothing like having dreams and aspirations.  I don't know what crystal ball you're reading, but I hope it's deadly accurate.  Whatever the slots, we'll use them to build the best 53-man squad we can.

REX C. (from Ohio) How would the special teams' full starting lineup look at this point, including the non-famous positions (gunner, upback, jammer, LS, PR, KR, KOS, etc.)?

A:  You ask a bunch of solid questions, but we're still hashing those things out this time of year.  You can bet our Pro Bowl-level ace Sergio Brown factors in somewhere.  Matt Overton is a Pro Bowler, and there seems to be some good return competition going on by Chris Rainey and Ryan Lankford.  Tom McMahon is rummaging around and working with his components.  We'll focus on that a little later, but all those roles are famous in the full-court, half-court mentality we have with those units. 

JASON C. (from Plainfield, IN) How does Trent feel with having surgery and the off-season so far?  I believe with a whole off-season to learn the playbook and gain some confidence he will play just like he did coming out of Alabama, if not better.  Will Trent be interviewed anytime soon?

A:  Trent is doing fine and seems pretty relaxed mentally as OTAs conclude and mini-camp is ahead.  I feel firmly you will see a different player.  He will have some competition chiefly with Ahmad Bradshaw and Vick Ballard.  That's how it should be and as it's been every step of the way in those guys' careers.  Physically, Trent is rounding out the way you want, and it should be a fun summer of competition.  (Click here to reach a recent story on Trent Richardson![](/team/roster/trent-richardson/b733ada4-b866-460c-9557-65bb99455216/ "Trent Richardson").)

JAMES H. (from Pittsford, NY) Just want to thank the organization for posting some pictures of the players with their names attached.  I understand that takes time, but I don't bother looking at the pictures that don't give names.  What's the point?

A:  We do everything we can to service the fans.  I'm glad you (and I'm sure others) enjoyed the change.  We'll do everything to keep it going.


Numbers help fans identify players on the field, but in our "Faces of the Franchise" photo galleries we go under the helmet to get to see the faces of the Colts players.


KERVENS P. (from Atlanta, GA) It's time for us to actually know we're the best and going to win the Super Bowl.  I want the Colts to not only hope we will win, but actually know we will win.  Tell Mr. Irsay, Coach Pagano and Ryan Grigson that we are too good, and we will really win this coming season.  Having that said, can we treat every game as if it was the Super Bowl so everybody (especially rookies) won't feel as nervous on the big stage?

A:  You're certainly brimming with confidence and that's good, but we're not the only dog in the hunt.  We like how we are put together.  If we stay healthy, work and listen to the right voices, we have a chance to make some noise.  Everyone you mention in the letter is all-in on the pursuit.  We'll treat everything as we have, though – a game at a time and with the sole emphasis on preparation and respecting the process of getting to game day.  If we do that, no stage would be too big for any of our guys.  Thanks for the confidence in us.  Remember, though, we're not the only ones with the goal of hoisting that trophy.

BILL F. (from Valparaiso, IN) We are planning a trip to the Texans game in Texas.  Do you sell tickets to their game or have any packages available for away games?  We would like to sit with Colts fans, if possible.

A:  We do not typically have an allotment for road games that are available for individual purchase, nor am I aware of any other packages being arranged for that game.  It may be that you check other sources, including the Texans.  I hope you can get what you want and are among Colts fans attending the game.  We'll try to do our part to provide a great outcome.

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