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.
DAVE H. (from Sebring, FL) The critics will be hard on the Colts and Chuck Pagano if they don't have a power running game this season. On the teams' power rankings, they threw the Colts under the bus and gave us a number 18 ranking this year. We have several players with a lot of years but if they still perform at a high level, do you feel the team will re-sign them regardless of age?
A: We'll be fine with our running game. It's a priority and a bedrock principle here. We'll have three good backs to get it done. As for the rankings, you could go catch a fish, print off the ranking and wrap the fish in it. On second thought, don't do that to a poor fish. Remember, they had us at #32 two years ago. We were good enough to clinch a playoff berth in 15 games. Keep it in perspective. As far as re-signing players, that's above my pay grade. It's the same story every year that you want to keep as many as we can. Let's attack this season and worry about things beyond it when they come. We've done a pretty good job of it, but there always are cases like Antoine Bethea that are emotional when they happen. It's a difficult part of the business, and I wouldn't presume to speculate on future negotiations.
KERVENS P. (from Atlanta, GA) I was wondering if our special teams can do trick plays more often this year? I respect the traditional three-and-out, but a fourth-and-two or three can be converted to a first down by our special teams. We'll catch teams off guard. Also, how can we get our defense to be aggressive and dangerous? We play a little nice.**
A: If you're looking to convert fourth-and-short, deception and surprise by special teams is a great tool, but you can't do it often. Also, having the offense try it with playmakers is an option, but rolling the dice even on occasion on fourth downs is a rough way to do business. We work a great deal on a lot of things, but the situations must be right to attempt them. I get your thought, but playing field position is a great strategy, too. As for the defense, we're not "nice." I don't think our players will like seeing your opinion. We're working to have a stronger unit in our third year in the 3-4. I think we'll change your opinion quickly. True we do want to be saltier, but we're not nice.
ERIC V. (from Bloomington, IN) Would it make sense to you to take a center with our first selection? Without Samson Satele or Phil Costa, it might help to give Andrew Luck an anchor on the offensive line. Marcus Martin and Weston Richburg seem to make the most sense, if they choose to go that route.
A: We went with the line on our first pick with Jack Mewhort. Jack has played all five positions, but started his final two seasons at left tackle. Jack was a big-time performer at Ohio State. He was a prep All-American center. We have not slotted him yet. Ryan Grigson says we already have three snappers on the roster. I know a lot of people wanted us to draft specifically at center, but Jack will be a great component. His selection and that of Donte Moncrief will greatly assist Andrew Luck moving forward. As for center, Khaled Holmes is the front-runner.
ISAK H. (from Mexico City, Mexico) Before I bid farewell to my decade as a Colts fan, I would like to know why does the management team devalue hard-working players by drafting less-than-impressive players like Donte Moncrief?**
A: You'll jump ship over a guy like Donte who was productive in the nation's top conference? He had a 16-yard reception average. His size (6-2, 224) makes him the biggest receiver we have. He is physical, has a great catch radius and had a large number of TD receptions longer than 20 yards. Drafting 90th, I think it's a solid choice. We are creating great competition on the unit. It will be one of the most fun to watch develop. I get that you might have a differing opinion. That's fine. I also believe you will hang in there with us, despite what you project as a setback. Remember, we invest a great deal of time and money looking at prospects. We see what they can do and find out to a huge degree what makes players tick. Donte has what we think it takes to be a competitor.
RICK M. (from Jasper, IN) Where are Bill and Chris Polian? I miss them. The Colts got five draft busts. Just as last year, some will play badly, some will be on the bench failing and some will be off the squad by September. I hope Delano Howell and Corey Lynch do a good job but truly, I don't expect them to outplay limits.**
A: Amazing that you are projecting abject failure so quickly when most draft classes take about three years to evaluate, not just the hour and five minutes it took for you to fire off your letter after the draft ended. Literally, your letter hit at 8:11 p.m. when the draft concluded at 7:06. I guess Ryan Grigson has built no credibility in restructuring our program. I guess 11-5 twice on his watch isn't good enough. Hopefully, you've calmed down since Saturday. Drafts usually provoke opinion and emotion. It looks like we did for you. My hunch is we'll be fine and that we've added players who will contribute to our culture and win total. Drafting pieces that fit the infrastructure rarely draws rave reviews. Drafting lower in the process is a mark of achievement, not that Ryan had anything to do with that. I'm having fun with you. I bet you'll have fun with us when we start playing.
CHRIS G. (from Northern Indiana) Well, that was a not-so-good draft. Does Ryan Grigson know that he could not afford his "small-school" experiments with only five picks? He did not address safety, and addressing center is not saying 'Khaled Holmes is our center' and not even getting depth. I am really disappointed in the draft, to be fair. I would've loved spending those three days watching a different thing instead of waiting for Colts' picks. I do want to thank you for answering, and I know you have no faults over the team's bad draft.
A: Well, we got it from both ends of the state with your letter and Rick's above. After the draft, Ryan and Chuck both said they were not impressed greatly with the depth at safety and what they saw was not anything measurably better than the players we have on hand. Jonathan Newsome could be a player with tremendous upside. Let's hope some of the mention of 'Mathis-like' ability comes true. Andrew Jackson was a pretty solid player in a program that has rebounded quickly, and Ulrick John could be a very good investment. It may not be the eye candy some hoped for, but we would not have added components we thought would not help. Ulrick and Jack Mewhort are multi-position players. Ryan was firm that Khaled is our center, and he is not the only one on roster with experience there. You said your piece, as did Rick. There's room in the mailbag for opinion from fans. I hope we prove both of you wrong and that you share some great moments with us this fall.
JERROD F. (from Watertown, NY) It seems a lot of people are upset that we haven't targeted a safety in the draft or veteran free agency. I feel people underestimate the safeties we have. I think Sergio Brown could do a good enough job as our new starting safety. He may not be able to play quite as well as Bethea right away, but I don't think there are many safeties in the NFL that can. Sergio (or whoever starts) shouldn't be given such incredibly high expectations right away. Do you think a new safety should be picked up, or do you think a guy that's already on the roster can do the job?
A: Chuck said Sergio has a chance of a lifetime. He also lauded Delano Howell (click here for story) for how he played last season. Both he and Ryan, as I said before, were not overly impressed with the safety depth in the draft, and we did add one safety, Dewey McDonald, when the draft ended. I like Sergio and Delano and think they have it in them to compete well. Also, we'd never limit expectations for any player. We'll fit the position well. We aren't in any imminent danger of kickoff, and Sergio and Delano have a chance to show what they can do.