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).Rick H. (Tipton, IN)
Can you name some of the success stories with regard to players that the Colts have signed off of other teams practice squads as well as udfa's in general ?
Bowen: I assume you're talking about current Colts? If so, you have Jack Doyle and T.Y. McGill coming off the waiver wire that have made significant impacts. In the undrafted route, you have Mike Adams (now going on Year No. 13) and Zach Kerr. I guess you could put Adam Vinatieri into that group as an undrafted guy who will have a stop in Canton some day. Edwin Jackson is another undrafted name that is looking good to earn a roster spot this year.
Luke R. (Rochester, NY)
Preseason just started, so finally football starts.
- As I look throughout the depth chart, one main depth concern, is tight end. With the only real proven TE starter in Dwayne Allen on the roster (no, Doyle and Swoope are not starters), if/when Allen gets injured, who comes in? One idea I have, is what if the Colts go after one of the Ravens tight ends during roster cuts? Do you think this is a plausible idea? (They DO have plenty of depth at the postion)
- Out of all of the ILB's the Colts have, who do you have winning a spot behind D'Qwell?
- What defensive players (particularly secondary) are you going to be watching during the preseason?
Bowen: Luke, never comes in light with the quantity of his questions each mailbag. 1. Jack Doyle is the backup tight end. Now, I could see tight end being a position the Colts at least explore with what the waiver wire looks like there come final roster cuts. You are right in that the experienced depth is virtually non-existent at the tight end spot. 2. Right now, without Sio Moore, I view Edwin Jackson and Antonio Morrison as the next up guys at inside linebacker. You could throw Josh McNary into that group, too. The Colts are really high on Jackson and Morrison and both have impressed this month. 3. I'm definitely going to be watching the young cornerbacks. If the Colts keep five corners, who are those No. 4 and 5 guys there? Tevin Mitchel and D'Joun Smith are two guys that are again battling through injuries and could really, really use game reps.
Corey W. (Anderson, IN)
Kevin thanks for the mailbag I look forward to reading it twice a week. My questions are about the rookies how many rookie do you think will make the team this year and how many will be UDFA's ? Maybe it's the way the roster is setup this year but I see as many as 4 to 5 making the roster depending on if 1 or 2 WR make it what's your take? Do you think we could do something similar with the OLB position like we did with the DL last year and cut Walden and Cole and keep most of the rookies I thought it looked like Ron Thompson was getting pressure on C. Jones most of the night but just couldn't get the sack but had several hurries ?
Bowen: I do see a pretty hefty rookie class making the roster and contributing. You look at the draft picks and you can make a very strong case for seven or even all eight draftees making the team. Seventh-round pick Austin Blythe is probably most on the bubble right now. It's likely going to come down to either Blythe or Jonotthan Harrison for that backup center/reserve guard role. Then when you talk undrafted guys, I see a running back, wide receiver, outside linebacker and possibly a defensive back having good chances to join the rookie draft picks. As far as the outside linebackers, those veterans are going to play big roles for the Colts this season. I don't see undrafted guys coming in and immediately supplanting them.
Landen S. (St. George, Utah)
Who in your opinion will be our backup center? During the preseason game I saw Harrison playing both center and guard, and I believe I didn't see Blythe play a snap at center in that game. Only guard
Bowen: This is something to watch in the coming preseason games. Does Austin Blythe, a seventh-round pick out of Iowa, get any more reps at the center position? Whoever backs up Ryan Kelly in 2016, they HAVE to be able to play both center and guard. Harrison has done that in the NFL, albeit not with a lot of playing time. Can Blythe hold up at guard? I think those are ultimately going to be the questions in deciding who is the backup. Right now, Harrison appears to have the lead there.
Matthew H. (Iowa)
This might be a crazy question, but I've read some articles lately about pat mcafee being the emergency quarterback. Are we going to see pat mcafee get any reps at quarterback during the preseason? Do emergency quarterbacks ever get reps during practice so the can atleast run a few plays if they had to during a game?
Bowen: Is this incognito Pat McAfee sending in a question? McAfee will not be running any plays in the preseason from the quarterback position. And he won't be under center in practice either. Yes, there is a small package of plays for McAfee. However, reps are so valuable during practice and the Colts must spread those among three quarterbacks (who all need them for a variety of reasons). McAfee is a great athlete and can definitely sling it. But don't look for him to be working his craft via his right arm anytime soon.
Kevin F. (Wrentham, MA)
I don't see a number 88 or 87 on the roster. Do you expect those numbers to retire or do you expect them to use them for the players expected to be the greatest receivers like the cowboys use 88? (No cowboy who wore 88, as great as they were, was as good as Marvin in my opinion)
Bowen: Yeah, I can't see anyone wearing those numbers. I don't think 88 or 87 is in a "pass down" sort of usage. Of course we can 18 to the "retried" number group, too, joining the numbers 19 (Johnny Unitas), 22 (Buddy Young), 24 (Lenny Moore), 70 (Art Donovan), 77 (Jim Parker), 82 (Raymond Berry) and 89 (Gino Marchetti).
Matt W. (Gaithersburg, MD)
How are you doin Mr . Bowen? Hope all is well. Quick question, I'm suprised the Colts did not try to pick up freeney why is that? He still has gas in the tank and definitely could have helped the rookies just like Mathis and the other veterans do and Mathis and freeney have got history and stats that show why they are great and even better together. I would really love to know why and get you're take on this. Thank you Mr. BOWEN for you're time. COLTS NATION!!!!
Bowen: We've had this question at various times through the offseason. I think there are a couple of reasons. First, Freeney is now a situational rusher. He obviously still does it at a high level, but he's not playing on run downs. With the Colts' current cap situation, it would be hard to justify such a contract for a player strictly reserved for those situations. Also, the Colts have to, have to, start developing young pass rushers. It would be a feel good story for 93/98 to end their careers together, but the NFL isn't all about Hollywood endings.
Marcia C. (Indiana)
I just read the Colts/Ravens game this Saturday will be broadcast on the NFL network. This is good news as Fox 59 and CBS 4 have not been on DISH since June, and no date has been announced for their return. My question is do the Colts have any say who can broadcast their games? Do the Colts have any influence on getting these networks back on the air so we won't miss any games? We live in Indiana and it is so frustrating not to be able to see the games. See if Mr. Irsay can pull any strings, please!
Bowen: Unfortunately this is a cable provider question. The Colts air preseason games locally so their fans in state/the viewing area can take these games in. It's just an unfortunate situation with DISH. Remember, you can stream these games online through FOX 59. Reminder to all fans, these are your viewing options for Saturday night.