INDIANAPOLIS – Each week, readers of Colts.com can submit their questions to have a chance of them being answered in our Wednesday or Saturday mailbag.
With the abundance of questions in recent weeks, we will have two mailbags each week. This one comes via a weekend edition (here's the Wednesday version from this week).
Here is this weekend's collection:John C. (Bellerose, NY)
easy question kev, who is gonna backup matt at qb. at falcons. the sked looks to turn now in our favor. but we have to be ready. anyone out there? for insurance john cosides
Bowen: That question was answered on Thursday afternoon when the Colts claimed nine-year vet Charlie Whitehurst off waivers. Whitehurst has some familiarity with the Colts, outside of starting two games against them last season. If Andrew Luck has to miss the entire six weeks of his "two-to-six" week timetable, Whitehurst will likely be the Colts backup well into December.
Michelle M. (Fort Wayne)
Hi Kevin, we all know that since grigson has become the gm, he has a sign hanging in his office that says 'PROTECT 12'. Is this his idea of protecting him??? And what are they going to do about it to fix it?? Also, I read an article in colts extra about possible Andrew luck 'could' if he wanted to, leave indy when he becomes a free agent. Is it possible for him to leave, no matter how much money we would offer him? And does things like this article, per se, find its way to irsay?? One last question... DOES IRSAY KNOW HOW WE CANNOT PROTECT LUCK AND WHAT STEPS DOES HE DO TO PREVENT IT OR DOES THAT JUST LIE ON THE GM?? Thank you. Im sure there are many many many of us that would like to know these answers, because its something every 'die hard' colts fan can see week to week as we watch our beloved franchise QB get hit to the ground.
Bowen: Let's start off by saying, putting "blame" to Luck's injury on a specific player or position group isn't that easy. The Colts are saying the injury occurred on a Luck scramble to start Sunday's fourth quarter. We've seen a guy like Tony Romo suffer a significant injury behind the league's best offensive line. Injuries are inevitable in the NFL and somewhat fluke-ish (look back at the Henry Anderson injury). The Colts offensive line has provided Luck the fourth-most time to throw in the NFL this season (per Pro Football Focus). Yes, the hits have been abundant in Luck's four seasons and there's multiple factors for that. One of Luck's greatest assets as a quarterback is his never-say-never attitude in trying to keep plays alive. Of course, with that come extra hits that have obviously taken its toll. The Colts know that their line must try and keep Luck as clean as possible and that will remain an emphasis despite improvements in that category. The team has invested in the interior of the line through draft picks and I expect that area (and the tackles) to once again be a focus in the 2016 draft. As far as Luck and him potentially "leaving", I hesitate to even approach the subject because it's pure speculation. Neither Luck, nor the Colts have ever said anything other than they want to get a deal done to keep No. 12 in Indianapolis for a long, long time. I don't see that changing.
Dave C. (New Castle)
Clearly Andrew is one of the best young quarterbacks to enter the league. But at times he seems a little raw. I know there are off season limits imposed by the Labor Agmt, but how much is the team allowed to tutor him over the summer in things like sliding technique, reading defenses, going through reads, and knowing when and how to through the ball away. I am not an Andrew Critic, but it just seems he could use some fine tuning. Perhaps there is a "guru" out there that could help.
Bowen: Dave, each team is allowed to hold an offseason program. For teams with returning coaches, they can have up to nine weeks of offseason work together. Here is how those phases within that time frame can be split up. Quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen had a great quote about Luck this week in describing this very topic: "He's so darn competitive. He doesn't want to go down, he doesn't want to slide, he doesn't want to throw the ball away." This is how Luck is wired. It's one of Luck's greatest attributes and yet gets him into trouble at times, too. Remember that strike Luck threw to Donte Moncrief in the playoff win over Cincinnati last season with Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap draped all over him? Luck waited till the very last moment and was rewarded with a game-changing play. Taking that completely away from Luck wouldn't be fair. It's a "fight" Luck is always going to have in his career to know when the time is right to take his medicine.
Justice S. (Austin, TX)
Here to input one of the weekly Whalen questions, Do you foresee Whalen making a strong case for a contract this season? He's seems to be the most reliable receiver we have right now being able to catch anything thrown his way. I also saw Coach Pagano really loving Whalen.
Bowen: It's amazing how the Whalen questions have evolved over time. Credit the fourth-year wide receiver for the production he's had the past two weeks. His 13 catches in 14 targets this season speaks for itself. However, he's had some timely, timely grabs to keep key drives moving for the Colts offense. You are right, Justice, Pagano loves Whalen. That locker room loves Whalen. Like the other (slightly more heralded) 2012 rookies, Whalen is in a contract year. He's certainly making a very, very strong case for the Colts keeping him around down the road. You know Whalen has plenty of comfort in Indianapolis and appreciates the type of opportunity the Colts have given him.
Jonathan C. (Edinburgh, IN)
Kevin I was wondering what u thought about how the Colts can never seem to get any respect for a big win all anybody seems to be talking about is the eye poke and that Denver defense was off but what about how hard the Colts played this was the toughest ive seen a colts team play in a long time against one of the most physical defenses in the league
Bowen: Good thing the NFL doesn't use "polls" or a BCS system to determine their playoff teams. Sure, is it nice to have people talk about you in a positive light? Of course. I actually thought the national reaction to Sunday's win was there. Look, the Colts are a 4-5 football team and when you have three undefeated teams this late in the season around the NFL, they are going to rightfully dominate the headlines. The Colts definitely gave the national media reason to pause last Sunday with that type of performance against the NFL's best defense. Now, the Colts will be tested again and see if they can take their act on the road in three of the next four weeks. With how Cincinnati and New England have started the season, it's going to take a monumental run in the AFC to get people to talk to you in the same breath of those undefeated teams.
Keenan A. (California)
Any updates on injury to mike Adams and also will we pick up a d lineman to replace Henry Anderson?
Bowen: The update on Mike Adams is here: Adams said on local radio this week that he is a little banged up, but will be ready after the bye week. As far as Anderson, the Colts currently have one open roster spot with no defensive linemen having been added since the rookie defensive end went on injured reserve. The two players to keep an eye to try and make up the immense loss of Anderson are Billy Winn and Zach Kerr. On Thursday, Colts.com had more on Winn and Kerr.