Colts Mailbag

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Colts Mailbag Weekend Edition: How Much Pressure Is On The Colts In 2015?

Intro: In Saturday’s mailbag, readers inquire about using Frank Gore on stretch plays, where the Colts now turn at right tackle and the pressure on the Colts front office this season.

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ANDERSON – 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 Cosides (Bellerose, NY)

hi kevin, hope your having a great summer.i cannot wait to see us play looks pretty awesome now. the media puts us in a boom or bust low on our upgrades. so my question is. is there a lot of pressure on the the front office if we fall short again. i'm going on the theory all stay heathy.and if we succed can we sustain.after all these vets are not going to be around for 10 years. which could be a promlem if we have to rebuild. your thoughts thank you john cosides

Bowen: When you have a team that reached the AFC Championship last season and added the pieces they did in the offseason, there of course is "pressure" to continue to perform at such an elite level. That's the nature of the NFL, particularly when you have a quarterback with the promise of Andrew Luck. Earlier this week Jim Irsay touched on this topic with ESPN.com: "It's hard to remember a season so anticipated like this one is," Irsay said. "Of course there were great expectations in past years with Peyton (Manning) and Andrew, but this year is really special. We have some special veterans we brought in. When you take a team like we had (last year) and add really special guys, to all of sudden to have those guys, their presence as we go into September, that's special." I think Irsay speaks for fans, coaches and players with that sentiment.

John Kochovoski (Syracuse, NY)

Hi Kevin,

Big time colts fan here. Since we have upgraded our run game a bit this year, I would like to see us incorporate the stretch run play we used to use with E.James. I know we want more play action I think this would be a good play to use with some of RB's we have now it would open up the play action big time. Manning benefitted greatly from it, I think Andrew could blow up the scoreboard using it. Your thoughts.

Thanks (Pass this along to Pep for me lol),

~John

Bowen: Ah, the stretch play. Such a staple of those early-mid 2000s Colts teams. You are correct in that Peyton Manning and Edgerrin James made that look quite easy and confused the heck out of defenses. While Pep Hamilton hasn't really had the stretch play as a major part of his running plays, I am interested to see if the Colts insert different running plays for Frank Gore, compared to past backs. Stretch play or not, the play-action game is going to be a serious weapon for the Colts in 2015. Gore is a unique talent at the running back position and had a career high 312 carries for 1,695 yards (5.4 yards per carry) when Hamilton was on the 49ers staff during the 2006 season. Will Hamilton and the Colts offense implement new running plays in 2015 to accentuate the running style of Gore?

Oliver Boulton (Northampton, England)

Hi Kevin, all of us NFL fans from across the pond are so relieved that Football is nearly here! If you haven't had the pleasure of it beforehand, let me tell you that Cricket isn't exactly riveting...

My question is about Vick Ballard specifically. It shocks me that so many people are so ready to just throw him under the bus and write him off as camp fodder. Medical procedures have come a long way, even in just the past 10 years, and Vick is still young enough to recover IMO. What, in your opinion, are the chances of Ballard having his shot in TC and the pre-season to fight for that #2 role behind Gore or at least split those reps with Boom?

Bowen: A terrific question from across the pond. Oliver you make some great points in your question, from both sides of the argument. Yes, medical advances have clearly come a long way in recent years. However, you still worry about the physical (and maybe even more, the mental) toll that Ballard has had to deal with the last two years. He had never missed a game due to injury, in his life, before the back-to-back (non-contact) season-ending injuries the last two seasons. That is cause for concern. On the other end of the script, the Colts staff loves everything about Ballard (on and off the field). If healthy, he's definitely going to get a chance to prove himself in the backfield pecking order. I see no reason why Ballard can't challenge for reps with Boom Herron, proven the 2012 version is what we see in Anderson the next few weeks. Besides Donald Thomas, no one deserves more of a healthy camp than Donald Thomas.

Bryce Hart (Madison, IN)

Has the Vectron Radio Network ever had an Indianapolis fan on the air live with Bob Lamey.

Bowen: This will mark the 32nd Training Camp 'Voice of the Colts' Bob Lamey has covered. Lamery enters his 29th season as the Colts play-by-play man and hasn't lost an ounce of passion. I talked with Lamey on Friday and he said he's never had a fan "live" in the radio booth with him during a game. The radio team of Lamey and Jim Sorgi will once again be together on the Colts Radio Network, with Matt Taylor on the sideline.

Taggyrt Moses (Keeneseburg, CO)

Do you think that if Griff Whalen had a great preseason maybe returning punts and kick could he win the job. Thank you Kevin for awnsering my questions. Great awnsers!

Bowen: Well, it wouldn't be a mailbag if we didn't decipher Griff Whalen's chances to make the 53-man roster (should I be worried what the questions might be like if Whalen doesn't make the final roster?). I fully expect Phillip Dorsett to be the Colts punt returner in 2015. I'd be shocked if Dorsett wasn't back there fielding punts in Buffalo come Week One. I do think Whalen will take reps there. Whalen has experience with kick returns in the past, but I'm not sure if he enters Anderson as one of the Colts top options back there. The Colts know Whalen can be a return man, in a pinch, and he has been on coverage teams in the past. For Whalen to make the team, his combination of receiving skills and especially a special teams impact will have to be too much for the Colts to pass up.

Keenan Alban (California)

What is the reason for releasing gosder cherilus? The o line is already a weak link and this just made things worse. I know coach pagano has a plan any idea what that plan may be?

Bowen: I don't think there is one specific reason for the release of Cherilus. Injury concerns and a significant contract for Cherilus (mostly the first one) are two factors that weren't playing in the favor of the veteran right tackle. Every time Jim Irsay talked this past offseason, he brought up the injury issues that the 31-year old Cherilus was facing heading into 2015. The plan at right tackle now starts with Jack Mewhort sliding over from left guard. Mewhort has played tackle in two of his past three football seasons (started at left tackle for Ohio State in 2012 and 2013), so he has plenty of repetition drilling at tackle. The Colts lauded Mewhort's versatility when they drafted him in 2014 (he played right tackle at the 2014 Senior Bowl), so you knew tackle could be an option down the road. That now comes in his second NFL season. If Mewhort can handle himself out in space, versus the more confined areas of guard, the Colts have bookend tackles in the 23-year old Mewhort and the 26-year old Anthony Castonzo for the foreseeable future.

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