INDIANAPOLIS – Readers of Colts.com 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.
CHIP E. (from Cumberland, MD) It seems the NFL came down hard on Robert Mathis for what appears to be an honest mistake. He was apologetic and demur in his response taking accountability for his actions. I remember a time not too far in the past where a very loud and arrogant response from a certain DB in Seattle for PED test failure was not met with the same stringently-harsh response. Why the difference in the NFL's approach toward these situations? Why is it a decent player and seemingly good guy like Mathis, who has never given the league any problems, is made an example of whereas the boisterous, narcissist seemed to get off lightly?
A: You certainly used your chance to voice your opinion, and that's what we're here for. Robert explained his situation you depicted so well, and he apologized to teammates (though none really felt a need for him to do so – they fully know his character). We'll work through this as a team. Players will step up until he returns, and we'll move on. I won't get into discussing any other NFL player, and you and others can find the league's stance in articles that covered the matter (click here for Robert Mathis story on the topic). We'll honor the league's decision, and we'll wait to get one of our "cherished" players back.
FRANK P. (from Lanesville, IN) How is the team going to do the four games without Robert Mathis?**
A: We'll have to make up for his loss, but we've been pretty resilient in adverse times before. You could call Robert's absence "gaping," but his teammates will find a way. You'd hate to say these are about the four worst games to miss since they're all important, but Peyton Manning and Nick Foles combined for 82 TD passes last year. Their combined 116.4 rating came on 653 completions in 976 attempts for 8,368 yards in addition to those TDs, and they were sacked a combined 46 times in 1,022 pass calls. That's a tall order for any defense, and those two games are followed by division battles (Jacksonville, Tennessee). We'll find a way to attack, and many players have used opportunities like this to shine. We aim to make that the case this time before Robert returns.
ROSS W. (from Indianapolis) To your knowledge, has Andrew Luck spent any time this off-season learning or putting any emphasis on learning how to properly baseball slide? In my opinion, Luck's ability to take off is a little under-utilized. Regardless of how often he runs, he could definitely improve on protecting himself.
A: I don't know if Andrew specifically has worked on that part of his game, but I think he's getting better at it. He peeled off a pretty long run last week in OTAs, for what that is worth. I know Andrew is aware of the importance of ending runs prudently. As long as he ends runs as such, I'll avoid issuing style points for the slide. It's not how pretty it is, only that it happens at the right time. (Click here to review breakdown of Luck's big run late vs. Tennessee last year to ice win.)
DAVE H. (from Sebring, FL) Charley Casserly was talking about the Colts and said until they can move the ball effectively and stop teams defensively, he does not see them beating teams in the playoffs like New England, Baltimore and Denver. He thinks these teams control games and the Colts need to improve at it. He says they have to do it to move to the next level.
A: Charley is one of the most educated voices covering this league. I've known him for years, and we even brought him in three straight years in the not-too-distant past to address our team on working well with the media. I think how Charley depicts elite-level teams is spot-on, and I think we want to do just what he is saying. Year Two of our regime (2013) was better than Year One, and I think we're building toward exactly what Charley said. The fact we won 11 games those first two years is a tremendous feat. We want to keep building into the long-time successes earned by New England and Baltimore. (Denver has covered a lot of ground these past two years, too.) Last year, we did beat three of the NFL's Final Four teams. We want to progress to the conference finalist round, too. Doing what Charley said certainly would help us get there.
JOE B. (from New Orleans, LA) Just wanted to say how lucky you guys are to get Donte Moncrief! I will boldly say he should have been a first-round pick! So angry the Saints didn't get this guy! This guy is going to be big-time! He plays big in big games, schooled LSU by himself! Good Luck to Donte. Reggie Who? And I'm from Louisiana!
A: Being from New Orleans, too, I know how it rubs against the grain to cite Ole Miss, but I'm glad you did in Donte's case (click here to read Moncrief feature). He will be a good addition for us. He's talented, physical and is a worker. He calls the SEC the "baby NFL," and we'll bring him along accordingly. I'm glad Andrew Luck will be targeting him rather than Drew Brees doing so. Thanks for your comments – at least up until Reggie. It's "Reggie Wayne." Don't let your euphoria over Donte include a shot at Reg. Remember, he's from New Orleans, too, even if he did bypass LSU and the SEC.
ISAK H. (from Mexico City, Mexico) I'm curious, does the team have an emergency long-snapper? I've always wondered if that exists.**
A: We have scenarios for every eventuality because you never know...... Our backup long-snapper is Andy Studebaker. I'm not sure, but I think Anthony Castonzo has a bit of a background in snapping for placements. Teams never leave themselves unprepared. If you remember, we won a Super Bowl in a steady rainstorm. Though we were an "indoors" team, we actually did practice snaps will wet footballs just in case it ever came into play. We also work in inclement conditions during the week when we'll be playing in them in games. Again, you never know what can happen, and you don't want to find out on game days.
PENN G. (from Indianapolis) I see the Colts desperately trying to have three good TEs. What about improving that position? Dallas Clark is still out there, and any Colts fan would be thrilled to see #44 in a Colts' jersey once again. It could be a one-year deal, and quite useful.
A: I won't debate the talent of Dallas Clark (and how solid he was in the locker room), but I don't know after 143 career games, more than 500 receptions, 5,000 yards and 50 TDs if there is a spot for a #44 here beyond Ahmad Bradshaw. Dallas even wore #87 in Baltimore last year, and we have one of those here, too. Obviously, I'm having fun with the answer. I don't know that Dallas intends to keep playing. He's had a great career and was one of our best-ever building blocks. I sense our building blocks now include different players but you're right – Colts fans always will have a great appreciation for what Dallas contributed here.
MICHELLE M. (from Fort Wayne, IN) Ever thought about picking up safety Ed Reed for cheap? For leadership being a veteran? I know of his recent injuries, however, if he is healthy, part-time we could maybe use him in a pinch?
A: I'm sure if Chuck thought that were a move to make that we would do so, given his history with Ed. At this point, though, I don't get the feeling that is in the cards. Ed was a great pro and has a special place in Chuck's heart, but seeing him in the horseshoe? I don't know.