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).
Jim S. (Carmel, IN)
Hi Kevin, I have seen complaints about the defense not having more blitz packages to make up for not having a big time sack leader. Do you think the new D-linemen will help that situation? I think stuffing the run may well provide help in that area.
Bowen: I don't think we can truly put into words what improved defensive line play would do for the entire defense. Certainly, with blitz packages, better play up front is going to force opposing offensive lines to be more worried about the down linemen, thus possibly freeing up the blitzers behind them. Same thing with the run defense. You could argue the defensive line play might be the most important position group on the roster this year (you could also argue for a few others and be pretty compelling).
Will V. (Zionsville, IN)
First off, how are you? You do so much for the colts, and just wanted to thank you.
So, the draft went well and Chris Ballard nailed it on the head. But, a lot of questions remain especially on defense, such as tackling and who is going to start. My question though is about the offense. Andrew Luck is rehabbing of course, but to be better on offense, a lot needs to happen. According to various reports that I have read, the offense in general needs to step in the physicality department, especially the receivers (no offense guys). A lot of the interceptions Luck threw last year were due to the receivers not boxing out the cornerbacks, like in basketball. Especially when it came to the comeback routes. Also, Andrew did hold on to the ball a little too long (sorry buddy), mostly due to the 7-step drop backs that Rob was having him due. So, will Rob allow Andrew to kind of do what he did in college as far running the offense? Will he implement more 3-step and spread offense plays, and have him get the ball out quicker (i.e. Peyton Manning hint hint wink wink)? And last but not least, will the protection hold up? I think it will! Go Colts!
Bowen: I'm doing great, Will. Hoping for some nice weather on the 4th. And thank you very much for the kind words. The deep ball debate question hasn't crept into the mailbag too much this offseason. I'm steadfast in saying the long ball still has to be an area the Colts tap into throughout a game. You have to use Luck's arm and the elite speed at receiver to your advantage. It falls on the offensive line to allow these chunks to be hit, when dialed up. I do see improved play from the offensive line in 2017, therefore allowing better chances at a deep ball or two during a game.
Jeffrey K. (Colquitt, GA)
Hey Kevin long time how are you I have a few questions for you.
1. Do you think we should go after Zach Orr?
2. Do you think Anthony Walker will be our starting ILB?
3. Do you think we should switch TJ Green to Strong Safety?
4. Do you think with Quincy Wilson and Malik Hooker a healthy Vontae Davis and Clayton Geathers we could have a top 10 secondary?
Thanks for your time Kevin have a great day.
Bowen: 1. See below. 2. I do not. I believe Jon Bostic will be a starter. The other spot is wide open, with Edwin Jackson/Antonio Morrison/Sean Spence ahead of Walker, in my eyes, right now. Maybe Walker will move up in camp, but that's a lot of bodies in front of him. 3. Green said earlier this year that he was playing strong safety. Check out this article for more. 4. While there would be some cohesion questions with that group needing to get on the same page quick, I think there's a bunch of potential in them being a strength for this team. I see top-10 potential for sure. But, that quartet has to work together during Training Camp for that to even be realistic.
Zach C. (Fort Dodge, IA)
Do you think the Colts will look to sign Zach Orr?
Bowen: Once I saw this news break on Tuesday, I knew what question would be entering the mailbag shortly thereafter. Orr played for the Baltimore Ravens from 2014-16, making second-team All-Pro in 2016. From 2014-15, Orr's position coach was Ted Monachino, the Colts defensive coordinator going into his second year. As an inside linebacker, Orr would definitely address a position of need. Orr said he visited the Colts on Friday, so there's some mutual interest. Now, two big questions on Orr. Is he truly recovered from the neck injury that sent him unexpectedly into retirement? Also, the suitors will be aplenty if Orr is indeed healthy. Can the Colts beat everyone out? If healthy, the Colts should do their homework in trying to pursue Orr.
John K. (Columbia City, IN)
this is my first time with a question for you.
Also I have been a Colts fan since 1962 and have seen a lot of ups and downs for the Colts thru those 55 years.
I know that it is about 2 months until the regular season starts, but since Andrew Luck has not yet started throwing yet, I have two questions.
1) How much time does it usually take for an NFL QB with surgery similar to Andrew's to get back to normal, full passing abilities?
2) Of the other Colt QBs on the roster, who do you think is the top candidate to replace Andrew Luck, if he is delayed in his rehab and unable to start the regular season?
Thanks for the work you do to help us Colt fans keep involved in our team.
Bowen: Wow, Jack. Welcome, and I respect that fandom. 1. From the Twitter doctors out there, most have thrown out a six-to-eight week throwing timetable needed to be game ready. How Luck bounces back day-to-day, once he does start throwing, will certainly impact how quickly he can ramp things up. Each person is such a case-by-case process. That's why it's key for the Colts to have Luck begin his throwing pretty soon, with the regular season opener around 10 weeks away. 2. I'd be very surprised if it was someone other than Scott Tolzien. Coming into the 2017 offseason, I thought Stephen Morris might push Tolzien a bit. But it was Tolzien receiving just about every first-team rep that the media saw during the spring. The backup job is definitely Tolzien's going into Training Camp.
RC H. (Tacoma, WA)
Hey, Kevin how are you doing?
I see all eyes turnt on the injuries of Luck and Geathers. What's the latest on Hooker? For a first round pick I haven't heard to many updates on him. Is he still on track to make his debut in training camp?
Bowen: What's up RC? Good to hear from you again. Unfortunately, this time of year, we receive hardly any injury updates. The talk has always been to have Malik Hooker ready for Training Camp. The start of Training Camp was the goal after Hooker had surgery back in January. Hooker's springtime was all about rehab and we hardly ever got a look at him. The medical aspect of Hooker's draft profile never seemed to be an issue for the Colts. He actually played through injuries for the final couple games of Ohio State's season. It would be a surprise if Hooker had to miss substantial time in camp.
Jeff P. (Bristol, CT)
My goal line offense.
FB. Zack Banner
OL. Castonzo, Mewhort, Kelly, Haeg, Clark.
WR. Ty and Moncrief.
Maybe even Basham or Stewart at FB.
Can you see the Colts going big like this on short yardage?
2nd thing. What Ballard has done with the Colts roster is unbelievable. This is the 1st time in 20 years I have seen this much depth with quality players. Any way I can find what the average draft position of the Colts roster is? My guess is this year's roster has the best average draft position of any team in recent history. Was wondering if this information is listed anywhere.
Bowen: I cannot. Zach Banner at fullback is a little too crazy for my liking. I don't think it's a guarantee that Banner is definitely dressing for games this season. Put Robert Turbin or David Parry at fullback. Turbin was great in that role last year. You want some receiving options in there, so Jack Doyle needs to be on the field as well. In regards to the draft position, I have no clue where you would begin to look for that. You would probably have to go individually, player-by-player, for every year. I'd guess you are right though with this roster having the highest average draft position in quite some time.
Jeremy W. (Fort Wayne, IN)
Hey kevin! I love these mail bags great job man! So i think last year we didnt have a run for over 25 yards. My question is who breaks one for over that first this year? And how many games do you think it might be (or which defense should we have a crack at it)? Also with our offensive line how long do you think til they really start playing at a high level with the run? What will it take for the colts to average over 100 yards a game in rushing?
Bowen: Jeremy, glad you enjoy them. I love hearing the variety from fans twice a week. Frank Gore has to fall into a 25-yard run at some point in this season, right? Let's go with Gore in Week Three against the Browns. If Marlon Mack receives a good amount of early playing time, then he obviously would be my pick. 2. With the run, I think we saw some nice lanes late in the 2016 season. I'd expect that, along with the pass blocking, to continue on the right trend with much needed continuity up front. 3. The Colts averaged 101.8 rushing yards per game last year, so I see no reason why that would decrease.
Ethan H. (Fort Myers, FL)
I just want to start with thank you for putting my question on the rookie questions of the week it made me so happy and my question for this week is how did you think the offensive line will do next season?
Bowen: No problem, Ethan. Thanks for sending them in. I'm encouraged by the potential of the offensive line. You are likely going to be starting four guys who were top-three round draft picks, along with Joe Haeg (a fifth rounder in 2016). I like the youth of the group with three second-year players, plus the veterans in LT-Anthony Castonzo and LG-Jack Mewhort. If this group can stay healthy, I believe it will allow this offense to become one of the better units in the NFL. I really think another season under Joe Philbin should further the progression of the offensive line.
Darin G. (French Lick, IN)
Again, not a question, just looking out for you. You said you like blue Powerade. Powerade has high fructose corn syrup in it. Gatorade don't. Don't drink Powerade.
Bowen: Darin, thank you for your concern. However, I think I like blue Powerade too much for me to go cold turkey. It continues to quench my thirst and is my go-to drink. However, I greatly appreciate you looking out for me.
Nick M. (Long Island, NY)
Hey Mr. Bowen, how's it going? I have a few questions this week. My first, who is your surprise cut of camp? And going along with that, who is your surprise make of camp? Finally, my last question is, as a colts reporter, do you genuinely root for the colts and consider yourself a fan of the team? And if not, is there a nfl team in particular that you do cheer for? Thanks for the response!
Bowen: 1. It's going to be someone on the defensive line. Some quality, former starter/key contributor, is going to get cut. The numbers just call for it there. I know we've had questions about Jacoby Brissett and/or T.J. Green possibly getting cut. I don't know if the Colts have enough depth at those spots to jeopardize the roster spots for those two youngsters though. Having said that, the 2017 season is massive for both. 2. I grew up a Colts' fan, but as a person that covers the team, if you aren't objective, then you can't do your job to the fullest. Have to put that stuff aside when writing/talking about the Colts.
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