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:Terry W. (Ocklawaha, FL)
Quan Bray has been really impressive as a kick returner and I was impressed with him in preseason as a wide receiver. Andre Johnson has only had one game in which he played well against Houston. I'm thinking maybe the Colts should get rid of Johnson and play Bray. Go with the speed and the youth. We've got Coby and Jack to catch high passes in the endzone. What do you think?
Bowen: I just can't see Bray cracking the wide receiver group in 2015. The Colts have really trimmed the snap counts for Johnson in recent weeks (playing only about 30 offensive snaps). However, I don't see Bray taking those reps. I do think the Colts like Johnson out there for what he can do blocking and still believe that he can provide games like we saw in Houston. With Bray, I'm going to be interested to see what happens when Phillip Dorsett is healthy in a couple of weeks. Bray has shown that he can definitely help this team as a return man. Does Dorsett's return jeopardize Bray's spot at a really crowded position? The only reason Bray was brought up was because of Dorsett's injury in the Saints game (10/25). It's a tough (and good) dilemma for the Colts to be in.
Josh M. (United States)
I have seen recently that teams have signed players off of our practice squad. Do the colts not get anything from those teams? It seems as though since the Colts did not waive the players they should get something in return.
Thanks for answering these questions for us.
Bowen: Great question, Josh. Opposing teams get nothing in return when a team signs one of their players off the practice squad. The main stipulation for signing another practice squad player is that they have to be on your active roster for the next three weeks. So basically, you can't just have teams signing practice squad players of their next opponent every week for intel. The Colts can try and increase the salary for a practice squad player but that's obviously a difficult decision to pass up for the player saying no to a potential active roster spot for three weeks.
Ben D. (Voorhees, NJ)
Despite all the injuries to the Colts, I believe this season has been a success. A major part of its success has been veterans signed through Free Agency like Andre Johnson and Frank Gore, not to mention the late pickup of Bradshaw. The vets aren't getting any younger though. How long do we have with them and how would you go about replacing them, draft, Free Agency, or next man up?
Bowen: Ben, this has to be a case-by-case situation with each of these guys. It's impossible to group all of the "veteran" free agents into one group. Frank Gore has obviously showed this year if he wants to keep on playing you aren't going to show him the door anytime soon. For the most part, the Colts do have some young depth at each position group. The draft is the obvious and most effective way for the Colts to do their building. The safety position is a great example of this. You have signed Mike Adams in 2014 and Dwight Lowery in 2015 to be stop gap guys there for the short-term. Long-term, you draft Clayton Geathers this past May and he will likely be one of the safeties of the future.
Dave H. (Sebring, FL)
I FORGOT TO ASK ABOUT MATHIS! HE BEEN QUIET AND UNDER THE RADAR THIS SEASON! SO WHAT'S GOING ON WITH HIM? I DON'T SEE HIM MAKING SACKS AND HE DOES NOT LOOK LIKE HIMSELF! NO POWER, NO SPEED! IS HE ALRIGHT OR PLAYING WITH INJURIES??????? HOPE HE'S OK!!
Bowen: I'm not sure if I agree with this. In 2015, Mathis has four sacks and 11 quarterback hurries in his 299 snaps (per Pro Football Focus). If you were to double Mathis' snap count (to put him with the same reps of the other outside linebackers) and his sack total, he would match sack leader Justin Houston, playing in 119 fewer snaps. I don't think there's any question who the Colts best individual pass rusher is and that's No. 98. He hasn't gotten home to the quarterback in a couple of weeks but has been credited with five hurries in the back-to-back Colts wins.
Richard W. (Tulsa, OK)
Do you think other teams officials our looking watching when Coach gives the Colt fans the areas that need to be addressed to win a football game? Thanks, Coltstrong
Bowen: I wouldn't read too much into that. Opposing teams study each other all the way down to the 53rd player on the roster. They know every tendency possible, especially this time of year. Pagano is giving very general assessments of what his team has to do to earn victory (i.e. stop the run, protect the quarterback). It's not like he's saying on third-down "we need to bring X amount of blitzers through this gap."