Colts Mailbag

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COLTS MAILBAG: MAY 29, 2013

Each week readers of Colts.com can submit questions about the team and have the chance for their questions to be answered. Here are this week’s answers to selected questions that were sent. To submit a question for Craig you can visit the COLTS MAILBAG or tweet your question with the hashtag #COLTSMAILBAG.

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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.

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JAMES M. (from Liverpool, NY) Where do you see Lawrence Sidbury fitting into the defense?  Also, is Justin Hickman still in the mix?  Last, how cool would it sound hearing Bob Lamey saying "TOUCHDOWN, RODRICK RUMBLE!!!!!"**

A:  Both Lawrence and Justin are in the mix.  In watching OTAs, it has been a bit difficult to see the defense take its shape.  A real knowledge of it will have to wait a little longer.  Today is day five of OTAs.  We've had a few smaller-type practices, but it's really hard to know at this point.  You'll have to check back on that later.  As far as Bob with a touchdown call for Rodrick Rumble, I'd love it.  Bob can give Michael Buffer, or anyone for that matter, a run for their money, and Rodrick provides one of those names that is fun to hear.  Good call on your part.    

DAVID L. (from Vermont) It is great that you answer our questions and you do such a good job.  My big question stems from Coach Pagano saying he is very happy with the D-line players and maybe someone who gets cut will end up a starter with another team.  Is Drake Nevis one of those players?  I really like the way he plays.  I thought he did a great job his rookie year in the 4-3, but then he got hurt.  I thought he would start last year but he didn't.  Was it his back injury problems?  Was it he is not as good a 3-4 tackle as he is a 4-3 tackle?  It looked like he put on some weight but did not move as well.  What do you think?  Is Nevis a starter in a 4-3 for someone else this year?

A:  I would caution against any notion of an individual player being singled out in a comment like that from Chuck.  I think he meant things only in broad terms in that the roster is far more constructed this year compared to last year.  I think we're just fine with Drake, so don't get your worries up.  Glad you care, though.

PATRICK K. (from Danbury, NC) Which positions will have the most competition going into training camp?

A:  Other than quarterback and maybe our kickers, I think there will be some great competition across the board.  That has been a goal of Ryan Grigson's from the outset of the off-season, and we're starting to see it in OTAs.  You never want to get too pleased with where you are because of how quickly things can change with injuries, but there will be a big number of interesting unit battles when we get to camp.  Fans will have a lot to watch.

TOMMY B. (from Wabash, IN) Do you know if Indy is trying to get the 2018 Super Bowl?  I was under the impression everyone was very pleased with the job EVERYONE did.  I also was wondering what other cities would possibly be in the running.

A:  The Indianapolis Super Bowl Committee is weighing the possibility of bidding on Super Bowl LII and should make an announcement on its decision fairly soon.  It is a major commitment by the city to do so, but we certainly proved we have the chops to host a whale of a game.  There was nothing the first time that was a drawback, and the city knows how to host championship events – always has.  Other cities that are possibilities for that game would be Denver, South Florida, Minneapolis, Atlanta and New Orleans.  Four of the five are proven Super Bowl cities that know how to play the bidding game, too.

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TREMEL S. (from Indianapolis) I understand OTAs are underway.  I haven't heard any headlines from T.Y. Hilton or LaVon Brazill making plays.  Should this be a concern since our plays are intermediate this year and we need our players to get yards after the catch? **

A:  You have no concerns.  Both are here and are working very well.  T.Y. says he has been working in the weight room and has gotten leaner.  He wants to cut down on the drops he says he had last year, and he has looked very fluid in the new offense.  LaVon made a really good catch last week in OTAs, and we really need for him to reach the next level in his development.  That is a pretty big need for us heading into training camp and the season.  All players have been getting the new offense down, and it has been a hefty learning curve for most of them.  The environment is good here and you should come see the team on June 12 at Lucas Oil Stadium.  You'll like what you see.  As for intermediate routes, don't discount our willingness to probe deep downfield either…..    

PHIL D. (from Los Angeles, CA) Thanks for always answering my questions, Craig.  I appreciate your insight.  I'm working on saving up to take my kids to that Monday Night game versus the Chargers.  My oldest son is a Charger fan.  Anyway, my question this week is about the greatest receiver to ever wear blue and white.  I remember when Marvin Harrison got in trouble and suddenly left the team.  But I don't recall him ever really retiring.  If so, when?  And when will he be eligible to go to the Hall of Fame?  I know he has the numbers and should be a no-brainer to be a first-ballot inductee.  #Always reppin that All Blue Horse Shoe Crew!!!

A:  Marvin's departure after the 2008 season really was because it was time physically.  He got the very utmost from his talents, while terrorizing opponents and thrilling onlookers like you and me.  He will be eligible for voting this year, and I know Mike Chappell, who is the local voice in the room for Indianapolis, will do a terrific job in presenting Marvin's case (as well as Tony Dungy's, too).  You never want to take things for granted, but I don't think there will be a problem for Marvin getting in, and I hope it's a first-ballot deal.  It doesn't always happen that way, however.  I hope you can make it down to San Diego for the game on October 14.  We love having our fans in opposing stadiums doing their part, too.  Try to work on your son.  While Powder Blue is nice, nothing beats the Horseshoe.

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IKEEM J. (from Atlanta, GA) As you know, we can never have enough cornerbacks, Vontae Davis, Greg Toler and Darius Butler are our big three and I assume penciled in as starters, but how are the other DBs holding up like Sheldon Price, Daxton Swanson and could we possibly see a John Boyett sighting during the regular season?**

A:  As you said, we have a number of good candidates, and don't forget Cassius Vaughn when you're listing names.  We'll see how things shake out, but Vontae was a huge addition last year, and we have some interesting battles going on.  The young players are in the learning phase, and Sheldon Price has not been able to be here because of academic work at UCLA.  John Boyett is working through his rehab process and is very limited in what he can do.  He is overcoming surgery on both knees, and he is a physical talent who made an impact on the team at the combine.  I hope we can get him involved during training camp and season. 

JIM N. (from Martin, TN) Do players who get invited to rookie camp and then the OTAs get paid to attend, reimbursed travel expenses and paid a stipend?  I know drafted players get a salary - but then you have undrafted free agents and then players invited to camp - can you explain the difference in team financial cost?

A:  In general, rookies don't get paid for the offseason like the veterans do.  We do house them in a hotel and provide a small living expense reimbursement for each day they are here, but there is no salary during the "Rookie Football Development Program" in the off-season.  I hope that helps explain what you are asking.

BOB M. (from Milwaukee, WI) A comment, last year was certainly a pleasant surprise. Mostly young guys finding their way early, then realizing, "Hey, we can do this."  Mr. Grigson has in two years assembled some big-time talent, what a find he has been. Colt fans everywhere like the looks of this team.  Josh Chapman, the run-stopper from Alabama, could be an interesting guy to get on the field.  If that knee rehabs, I doubt that anyone will be able to push the Colt D around.

A:  Sounds like you're attuned to the process here.  You are right about Ryan fortifying the roster on every unit.  We have some competition at a number of positions, and I think you will see a bigger defensive presence this year.  The coaches have done a tremendous job of making this a solid learning environment and getting players to believe in what is being done.  Coaches do a good job also of making players accountable.  For where we are in a second off-season with this regime, there are a number of people like you, and that includes me, who feel good about the situation.  Josh Chapman is just one example of what is going on here, and having him on the field in OTAs and the other workouts is a great sight.  We need to finish strongly over the next two weeks, and there should be no problem with focus.  All of what is going on is necessary as we try to build on last year's 11-5 record.

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GAGE M. (from Danville, IL) To start off, with I've been a Colts fan since when I was a little kid.  I have two questions.  One, I look at the Colts app on my I-phone every day and I see in the pictures that LaRon Landry is not in any.  Where has he been?  Two, Vick Ballard has been a great add on in the running back position.  Do we see him gaining speed through OTAs.  He was a little slow last year, but he makes up with power for his loss of speed.  Get him a little faster and we might see a Steven Jackson.  GO BLUE!!!!!!!!!!!**

A:  We'll get LaRon on there in due time.  We're all looking forward to his physical presence.  He will draw a lot of attention in the mini-camp.  As for Vick, I don't agree with your "loss of speed" comment.  Is he a burner?  Not in a pure sense, but he has plenty of burst and power.  He's a good mix for us, and he shows a year of physical maturation in our workouts.  Vick will be a big part of what we do this year.  

RICHARD B. (from Fishers, IN) This is the way the national anthem should be sung – just straight up without jazzing it up!!

A:  Thank you very much for your opinion on our wonderful anthem.  We all have heard various styles through the years, and I know many people share your preference for it to be done only in a traditional manner.  Coming off Memorial Day, I thought I would include your letter because we all feel a depth of thanks for our service people, one that can never be conveyed enough times.  Here's hoping all of us take the time to truly reflect on the anthem when we hear it being performed.

JERROD F. (from Watertown, NY) I feel like there hasn't been much talk about T.Y. Hilton this offseason.  He emerged as a tremendous player in both the receiving and returning game last year.  He's one of the few players I actually followed through college, and I was incredibly happy both to see my lifelong favorite team pick him, and to see him have success in Indianapolis.  I was just curious about his progression through the offseason, and if the Colts have any plans of trying to keep him around for years to come.  Thanks in advance!

A:  We spoke about T.Y. earlier in the mailbag, and I wrote about him earlier this week on our website.  He's doing very well and working hard in OTAs.  T.Y. looks right at home with us and if all goes well, you should have him matched with your favorite team for a number of years.  Thanks for checking in.

R.J. E. (from Marion, IN) I know you don't like to comment on the team's intentions for each player, so I'll refrain from asking.  But could you provide a bit of background on Caesar Rayford and Jeremy Kelley please?  I've always felt that size gives football players a small edge at certain times, and those two dudes have some length to them, which we haven't had in the past.

A:  Jeremy was signed back in January after playing last year with the Utah Blaze of the AFL and in 2011 with Hamilton of the CFL.  He is another example of the wide net Ryan Grigson uses to infuse possible talent to the roster.  Jeremy has been working hard in the voluntary program and OTAs, and his size (6-6, 225) certainly is different than what we've recently.  Caesar was signed just a week ago, so he is just getting adapted to the organization.  His size (6-7, 265) is on the high end, too, and he played 2010-12 with the Utah Blaze and had 22.5 sacks and 26.5 tackles for losses.  He was a productive collegiate player at Washington.  There is no question the roster reflects an increase at size in some position groups, but athleticism has to be an accompanying factor, too.  They both will have a handful of remaining OTA work and a mini-camp in June to keep learning the playbook.  We've seen in the past how players can emerge, but I don't want to get into projections.  Suffice to say, Ryan and his staff keep their eyes peeled and their minds open when it comes to attracting players.  Last year's team had great contributions from players who came from vastly different backgrounds.  As Ryan put it recently about getting depth across the roster, "It's never-ending.  We're always trying to get better.  We really are trying to get better every day.  You can never be too deep in this league."  Thanks again for checking in on us.  Hope you can make it to the June 12 practice at the stadium. 

ANN B. (from Fishers, IN) What are the dates and schedule for training camp?  Many of us need to request our days off way ahead of time for the summer months.

A:  Ann, thanks for a question that is on the minds of a number of Colts fans.  We are in the final stages of firming up the dates and practice schedule and should have it in the very near future.  We know our fans have to make accommodations to see us, and it's very important to us to help them do so.  We will get that information as quickly as possible to let you and our other great fans have an idea how to prepare.  I know it's a relatively short commute for you to get there, shorter than for many other fans, and we appreciate your dedication to following the team.  We will try to hurry the process along.

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