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Colts Mailbag - November 6, 2013

This week, mailbag readers ask about Adam Vinatieri and the quarterbacks he has played with, the play of Trent Richardson, the slow starts the team has had (and overcome), Bert Jones and the Ring of Honor, the fumble call on the kickoff return in Houston, Daniel Adongo, Josh McNary, the field logo and Da’Rick Rogers.





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.

ED T. (from Indianapolis) I've been trying for over a year to get a reporter to interview Adam Vinatieri and ask him (his) thoughts on having played with Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and now Andrew Luck.  You have to admit he might have some interesting thoughts on the subjects.  I hate to think I'm the only one who would find his answer interesting.

A:  Adam has talked about this a couple of times.  His exact words about playing with great QBs are, "I'm the luckiest guy in the world."  It's telling how a solid pro like Adam is quick to acknowledge the help he has had from others in his career.  **Adam (click here for more on him)** also includes Drew Bledsoe among those great quarterbacks.  Tom Brady took over for Bledsoe in 2001, and Adam is grateful for five seasons (and one Super Bowl) he had with Bledsoe.  Adam is soon to hit 2,000 career points.  While there is no question his talent is responsible for that, great quarterbacks and offenses have helped.  I think you would hear each of them credit him for helping finish drives and win games (there were a number of clutch Patriots drives/wins decided by Vinatieri).  Here are the quarterbacks for the seasons Adam has played (Vinny missed 3 games in 2006 and 10 in 2009).      

Adam Vinatieri's Main Quarterbacks 1996-Present









D. Bledsoe







T. Brady







P. Manning







A. Luck






PAYTON C. (from California) Do you see the Colts pushing the field more with the speedy WRs coming in?  How are the guys on IR doing right now?

A:  The guys on injured reserve are moving in the healthy directions we want them to.  Nothing seems to be in the way of all our guys being ready next season.  As for pushing the offense now with Reggie Wayne being down, we'll do what is best.  We threw the ball 28 times last week at Houston in the second half and had good results.  Certainly we were down by 18 at the half, but it was a 24-point half with three consecutive TD drives.  Sometimes necessity drives decisions, and we saw an aggressive passing approach work last week.  Chuck Pagano cited Pep Hamilton for going up-tempo and Andrew Luck credited him with the heavy passing approach.  I think we'll what is best to stretch the field.  It was first game without Reggie, and T.Y. certainly responded.  DHB missed some time with precaution had he gotten a concussion (he didn't), and Griff Whalen, Coby Fleener and Trent Richardson had some moments.  One game without Reggie gave a peek.  Pushing the field regularly, we'll see.  I think departing too radically from the balance we want would not help.


KEVIN K. (from Fort Wayne, IN) I'm not sure if anybody who has been bashing the Trent Richardson trade has even stopped to take a look at where we'd be without him.  Like many others, I was hoping for better output right out of the gate, but that was unrealistic to begin with.  I know he's not there yet, but I see a guy who can be as good as Marshawn Lynch.  As far as a question, can we expect to see Reggie on the sidelines with the team on game day here soon?  I think his leadership is a must on or off the field!

A:  Thanks for a reasoned letter on Trent.  I like your comparison to Marshawn Lynch.  That would be great.  Trent will show his talents before it's over.  He's a young guy learning a third offense in less than two years, and we've had an undue number of losses on offense this year.  It's a developmental process for him and the team, but we're responding.  How his development goes largely will tell our story over the last eight games.  As for Reggie, he was in Houston, as you saw.  He met with receivers on Saturday and Sunday (the team even draped his jersey on his usual seat for the flight down).  We'll take all the intangibles/leadership he can provide, but being on the field on one leg during a game might not be the wisest place.  Typically, the team has made other arrangements like the press box for injured players.

JOHN B. (from Florida) I've been a Colts fan my entire life, Bert Jones was my idol. I've stuck with them through the terrible years and the good.  How is Daniel Adongo coming along?  I think he can be a beast at linebacker.  He has the size strength and speed.  Is Bert Jones ever going into the Ring of Honor?  That man played his heart out for us, got pounded and always got up.  A true Colt, he bled blue every Sunday for us.  Thanks #7 for the great memories.  We didn't have too many then.


A:  Daniel is working hard at the 'rush' LB spot and is doing well.  He really fits in with our club's culture.  A number of people ask about Daniel because of the athleticism and potential he has.  I hope we can see it on display, possibly next year.  As for **Bert Jones (click here)**, he was one of the all-time Colts greats.  He stays in contact with the team to this day.  As for the Ring of Honor, we only have had players from the Indianapolis era inducted.  Will that change?  I don't think so, but Jim Irsay did convene a reunion of the 1975 team a couple of years ago here to honor how that team bounced back to win the AFC East that year.  Bert had it all, including the big heart you mentioned.  Watching his highlights still warms the hearts of Colts loyalists. 

DOREN S. (from Washington) Is it time to give up on Trent Richardson and let Donald Brown take over?

A:  Trent gets some heavy battering in this forum, but there is no chance that he will be less involved in the attack.  We'll find ways to use him.  He has great integrity and ethic, and he will respond in the games we have left.  I'd fight too-quick analysis on this front.  Many mailbag contributors don't, though.  Donald will continue to get his time, and he's doing a very good job with it.  We'll continue with the 1-2 punch.  I think it will produce results.

NANCY B. (from Indianapolis) What determines what side the receivers are on and the depth behind them?

A:  There are few different philosophies.  Some teams in past eras would place the speed receiver to the left since most QBs are right-handed.  If a team were to go deep, it would be that receiver, while the one on the other side would run routes to make decisions harder for safeties.  The trend now seems to be away from that a little more.  Guys are not lined up left and right under that particular concept as rigidly as they used to be.  The slot receiver is used by many teams, and size/durability is big there because most routes are run between the tackles and immediate contact can occur upon receptions.  Still, speed is sought because you're looking for mismatches in coverage packages and with linebackers.  Being able to catching the ball in tight quarters is a must for a slot receiver.  In a four-wide set, you're largely looking for more short/intermediate routes that can provide quicker separation from defenders, but an over-the-top element is nice.  These are generalities, not concepts necessarily specific with us, and concepts certainly vary by coaching staffs.  They've evolved just as the passing game has through the years (ie:  the receiver alignments/philosophies in the Johnny Unitas-Bert Jones-Peyton Manning/Andrew Luck era have changed).  Hope that answers your question. 

ISAK H. (from Mexico) I don't want to criticize Mr. Grigson's masterful job, but if he was going to bring one of the players who was part of a controversy back, why did you bring back Weslye Saunders instead of debuting Justice Cunningham or signing Ryan Otten?  If a player who was controversial came back, wouldn't it be better to bring John Boyett back?  Delano Howell has been injured and Boyett outplays Larry Asante.  Thank you for answering all these questions.

A:  I don't think the re-signing of Wes is necessarily controversial.  Players off-field situations are considered on an individual basis.  It's a great shot for Wes.  Let's hope he uses it.  Justice will continue developing on the practice squad.  Delano has come up very big for us this year when LaRon has been out.  No one should be able to question Delano's contributions.  Larry had a great preseason here, and that is one reason why he's back.  John was not healthy enough to see the field.  Ryan and Chuck Pagano run a solid program.  They would not have Wes back if it were the wrong decision.  


ENRIQUE H. (from Bakersfield, CA) There's been so much talk about the Colts kind of going downhill without Reggie (I don't think so one bit) and Andrew won't be the same, but when Reggie leaves the game Andrew will have to learn how to play without him.  So for the rest of the season, do you think Andrew will overcome Reggie's injury and still play at a top level?

A:  I think Andrew will be fine, and he showed it at Houston.  Losing Reggie is a blow to the offense that no one wanted to see, but the name of the game is adapting and having players step into voids that are created by injury.  Reggie's loss is a big void.  It creates great opportunity.  He spent time in Houston with the wide receivers offering support, and he wants to see them flourish until he can rejoin them.  It will be a transition for everyone, and for Andrew probably more than anyone else.  I say he's talented enough to find a way to stay among the NFL's best QBs.  We're in good hands.

RICHARD D. (from South Carolina) We will be visiting our son in Indianapolis over Thanksgiving and attending the game on December 1.  Our son indicated that here is a restriction on women's hand bags to get in the stadium.  Is there a requirement for a clear handbag for admission?

A:  The NFL has implemented new public safety measures at all stadiums.  Please see for details.  The highlights:  A clutch purse (no larger than 4.5 x 6.5 inches) and a clear bag no larger than 12 x 6 x 12 are permitted.  Every other bag is not.  Cameras are fine, but no camera case, the same is true for binoculars.  Please visit the site in advance and have a great time.

JOHN D. (from Clifton, NJ) Will the Colts be developing an iPad app? Some teams have them.  I have the IPhone app.

A:  We are in the process of beta testing and evaluating an iPad version of the Colts app.  The current Colts app, although not optimized for iPads, is available.  We also are working toward a Windows version of the app.  Thanks for asking.

RICO W. (from Tulsa, OK) I noticed on the pictures of the practice sessions different color codes, of course I know red is for the QB, but can you tell me what the color codes of green and yellow represent?

A:  In practice when the offense works against the offense (this is in the early stage before the defense and offense meet), players wear caps to designate the different positions across the scrimmage line.  Orange hats may mean a linebacker, red may mean defensive back, green or yellow could be used to differentiate corners or safeties, etc. (these colors and meanings may vary weekly).  The players with the caps are part of the "look" team to help the offense identify what it is seeing.  It's an identification means to teach players and help with film review later.  The same identification tools can be used in special teams drills and could happen with jerseys other than plain blue or white.  The color-coded method is the easiest way to do the instruction.  

EXTON C. (from Indianapolis) I'd like to know how Josh McNary is doing?  Is he playing ILB or OLB?  Same for Adongo, what position is he being groomed for?  Finally, the measurables on Xavier Nixon seem superb.  He's a Gator, so he must have been highly-recruited and played against great competition in college.  Furthermore, shame on the "Colts fans" who wore orange to SNF.  I know our organization is too classy to call them out, but I'm not.  Those people should go be Denver Nuggets fans, too!

A:  Both Josh and Daniel are doing well, getting adapted to the culture and learning roles.  Daniel is working at the 'rush' position, while we have Josh playing the 'will' linebacker.  Nixon is on the practice squad now after four games on the active roster.  The Denver game was a very emotional time for Colts fans.  They are entitled to what they feel, and it was evident once the game got going who our crowd was cheering for.  It was a loud night and a fun one.  I'd never criticize our fans like you.  We have the best fans.   

PAUL M. (from Pittston, PA) I know you'll tap dance around this question, but I'll ask anyway.  Why is it that the Colts seem to start every game in slow motion?  This is not a reflection of the team, but the coaches.  Thoughts?

A:  I wouldn't pin it on the coaches, and it's something Chuck Pagano says is a "big pink elephant in the room" that won't go unaddressed.  We're 6-2 this year and 17-7 since 2012 under "these coaches."  We haven't lost consecutive games during that time under "these coaches."  It's a pretty good streak when you look at how the program has been rebuilt during that time.  Not many programs have fewer than 20 returnees and go 11-5 and make the playoffs like we did last year.  Our record this year is the AFC's fourth-best, and we'd host a playoff game if the season were over right now.  The last time I checked, we've lost five offensive players to injuries, not that that matters.  A two-game lead in the division at the mid-point, I'd think more people would throw compliments at the coaches rather than jabs.  Granted, comebacks aren't the ideal way to do things, but you have to credit Chuck and his staff for instilling/nurturing the grit and spirit needed to overcome deficits.  We have one of the tightest locker rooms I've seen in my 29 years.  That unity shows up over 60 minutes.  I've worked under nine coaches here, and Chuck and his staff communicate as well as any I've ever seen.  Yes, that counts Tony Dungy.  If that's a tap dance, whatever.  I hope we're doing enough to excite you in the end, and I hope you hang as tough as our players and "these coaches" as we go into the second half of the season.  We'll make the corrections necessary.  It started in this morning's meetings and let's hope it's evident at 1:05 p.m. Sunday.  If you ever make it over to Indy, let me know.  I'll buy you a lunch.

M. P. (from Charlotte, NC) Since we all have seen that our run is trash, what are the plans for the off-season as far as the run game?  Trent Richardson is not what we expected.  Andrew Luck is the best quarterback.  We can dominate these games if we utilize our passing game a little more.  This "pound the run" theory would work if we had Vick Ballard and Ahmad Bradshaw healthy.  How many more games does Richardson need to play in order to get the playbook?  Is he only good for two yards instead of eight or nine?

A:  I've enjoyed some of your previous letters more than this one, and I do not agree with your assessment of the run game and Trent.  Having him now is like having next year's number one already.  I think history will bear the move we made pretty well.  I think we can run it, and with him.  Injuries have changed our personnel greatly as you mentioned.  I'm sure we'll look at ways to improve with the people we have.  Next year is next year.  We should have a deep group, with Trent in it.

STEPHEN L. (from Adelaide, Australia) I am somewhat confused about the fumble recovery that was overturned in the Houston game.  To me, it looked like a clear recovery, even after watching it again on GamePass.  Do we get an apology or something similar for two major refereeing mistakes (that, and the non-allowed challenge on the missed blocked put)?  Do we get to see this referee and his team again?A:  A very entertaining letter that speaks for a bunch of Colts fans, no doubt.  Glad you are keenly attuned to the game, and my comments will end there since I'm a club employee (thus subject to a fine like coaches or higher-ups).  I am confident we have turned those plays in for a review.  In cases where mistakes are made (and I'm speaking generally, not specifically), they are acknowledged.  I never have heard an apology as part of the acknowledgment.  While there's a chance we get a crew twice, typically it does not occur over 16 regular-season games.

JON F. (from Springboro, PA) My question is, why only set up Trent Richardson for small gains?  He's a great athlete with speed, tell him to run downhill with the ball.  We all want to see a breakout 100-yard game from him!  His very first run was a pitch I believe, and I was glad because it showed his speed.  Yes, he's still learning but use him more, such as screen passes.  He had a few very nice catches versus the Texans.

A:  I like the use of Trent in routes out of the backfield.  His late reception against Houston was a big-gainer.  I think we could use him like that, and he would be effective getting the ball in space.  Thanks for the suggestions.  We're all intrigued on how he will be used in the next eight games. 

JERROD F. (from Watertown, NY) That Texans game had me going through just about every emotion possible.  I was happy to see T.Y have a phenomenal second half and watch the Colts have a complete turnaround.  The way everybody flipped a switch and looked like an entirely different team was great to watch.  With that said, do you think all the doubts many analysts had about the Colts have been erased?  Many people said the Colts' offense would start to crumble without Reggie, but every receiver (T.Y especially) seemed to show that the offense is still just as dangerous.  Also, I saw in the last mailbag that someone mentioned the idea of the midfield logo changing to just the horseshoe rather than the helmet.  While it might not mean much, I just wanted to express my agreement with whoever brought that up.  I think having just the horseshoe at midfield would be a great look.

A:  We all went through the emotional range, and the win helped in a number of ways.  The offense will continue to take its shape without Reggie, and the committee will be needed.  As far as analysts (no Mark S. reference?) expressing doubts, let's start with mailbag contributors (not you) first.  Seriously, we just need to focus internally.  It's better to focus on what you can control.  How often we go up tempo, who knows?  Who steps up in addition to T.Y., we'll see?  That is critically important.  Thanks for the feedback on the field logo.  I've passed it along.  You never know.  Appreciate the support.

DAVID L. (from Vermont) It seems like a number of fans like Da'Rick Rogers.  If he is that good, can other teams get him off our practice squad by offering a 53-man team contract?  Should we get him up on the 53-man team so we have a big WR on the team, see how he does and keep him from others?  I'll say it again, we run the ball better with Mike McGlynn at center, and he plays better at center than guard.

A:  Should another team come after Da'Rick, the ball would be in his court and/or our court.  We'll see if anything happens.  He is a good prospect, and there are many of them on 32 practice squads.  As for the comment on Mike McGlynn, I guess thanks.  There's a compliment in there somewhere.

KERVENS F. (from Port St. Lucie, FL) Is Da'Rick Rogers ever going to play in a Colts uniform?  Do you think Trent Richardson is ever going to explode?  The Rams are bad at run defense.  I hope this is it.

A:  There may be a time for Da'Rick.  There will be a bust-out time for Trent.  There is no time like the present, unless you're a Rams fan.

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