Colts Mailbag

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Colts Mailbag Weekend Edition: If The Colts Make The Playoffs, Could Andrew Luck Return?

Intro: In Saturday’s mailbag, readers inquire about the backup quarterbacks for the Colts, Frank Gore’s play in 2015 and where Peyton Manning could end up next season.

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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:Kyle W. (Massachusetts)

Kevin,

With the signing of QB's Freeman and Lindley, is it safe to assume that even if Luck is cleared to play, he won't even dress Week 17? I understand we have nine more things that need to happen to make the playoffs but one of them is within our control. There's no question that Luck gives us our best chance.

Oh, and how selfless was Gore for giving the O-line his game ball? Hopefully now they allow Gore to end this last regular season game with a 100yd outing ( 9 for good measure).

Bowen: Kyle, as I'm sure you've read on Colts.com, Andrew Luck will not play in Week 17. There remains hope that he could return for the playoffs, if the miracle happens on Sunday. Luck continues to practice, but has yet to be cleared for team drills (the next and final step). As far as Gore, that is his go-to move when he gets a game ball. Gore is always tossing it over to his offensive line. I don't think enough can be said for the individual effort Gore has given this season. With all the quarterback injuries and changes up front, Gore has still turned in the best season for a Colts running back since 2007. It would be remarkable if Gore could rush for 109 yards on Sunday and become the fifth running back in NFL history to have at least nine 1,000-yard seasons.

James H. (Pittsford, NY)

I notice that you have not printed a response to my previous question about signing Freeney in spite of the Colts desperate need for a pass rush. Why didn't they sign him and then, if he would like, have him retire as a Colt?

Bowen: Letting Dwight Freeney walk after 2012, I think, was done for two reasons. The first being to save some money. And the second to add a player like Erik Walden, who the Colts feel is a multiple-down player. From 2013-2014, Walden had nine sacks and Freeney had just four. Walden plays on run downs, too. No discounting the season Freeney is having in 2015, as a situational pass rusher. He's been tremendous at the age of 35 for Arizona. However, at the time Freeney left the Colts, Walden made more sense to get a guy who can play two-to-three downs in the 3-4 system.

Dustan K. (Fort Wayne, IN)

I have 2 questions for you today.1) why didnt we go get a good backup qb forthe texans game.2) whats the thought of drafting o line in the draft or getting free agents so we can protect luck better next year because lets be honest that killed us this year not having him half the year because of injuries.Thanks for answering all of our ?s and go Colts nation.

Bowen: Blaming the Colts season or even a game on the "backup" quarterbacks isn't really fair. The Colts have five wins from reserve quarterbacks this season. That's tied for the most in the NFL. This season was dug a deep hole well before Week 15. As I've mentioned in past mailbags, I certainly see offensive line as a need in 2016. I feel like the Colts have some depth on the edges (Anthony Castonzo, Joe Reitz and Denzelle Good). Then Jack Mewhort is entrenched at left guard for the future. The Colts could certainly use other depth in the interior though.

David R. (Lynchburg, VA)

I've been a Colt fan since they defeated the Cowboys in Super bowl V. Really enjoy watching them play. Just was wondering in the search for a back up QB, did anyone consider or reach out to Tim Tebow? He may not be a starting QB but he has won a playoff game. Thanks

Bowen: It might be a New Year, but that doesn't mean the intrigue in Tim Tebow has ceased from Colts fans. My biggest argument against Tebow is he's just not a plug and play type of a guy. The Colts offense isn't curtailed to a predominantly run heavy quarterback. You aren't going to change your entire offensive makeup just for a short-term option.

John C. (Bellerose, NY)

hi kevin, well now that we are out unless this is Hollywood. i'm going to ask you one question how far in tank did the players we brought in to win this year set us back I hate to go back to the 1-15 days but I do see our division doing a happy dance thinking they finally cannot be counted on given us a automatic win. your thoughts on the fix and changes from top to bottom we might make us competive. thank for your insight looking forward to talking again next year john cosides

Bowen: It would be "Hollywood-like" for the Colts to somehow find their way into the postseason on Sunday. I like that way to describe it. As far as the "set us back" topic, the contracts the Colts divvied out this past offseason weren't too cap-strung. The real adjustments the Colts are going to have to face with their salary cap are the new contracts for T.Y. Hilton, Anthony Castonzo and accounting for the eventual deal coming to Andrew Luck. Those guys have played at an elite level on rookie contracts. That is now changing. But, to get back to the 2015 free agent-haul, many of those deals were front-loaded and wouldn't cause the team too much penalty to get out of those contracts.

Stan C. (Minneapolis, MN)

Hey Kevin, thanks for your work. My family and I finished watching the MNF game between the Bengals and Broncos. It got me thinking about Peyton Manning. All season, Broncos HC Gary Kubiak has seemed eager to begin the Brock Osweiler era and ease Peyton out the door. Elway seems like a guy who could stop that train if he wanted to, but he seems content to watch how things play out. Osweiler is no Peyton, but they've seen enough out of him to potentially ease into a new future with him at the helm. I suspect the Broncos will announce that Peyton's still injured for next Sunday, giving Osweiler another week. Who knows what will happen in the playoffs, but Manning may be expendable this offseason.

That being said, Peyton doesn't seem like he's willing to fade into the sunset just yet. I think he still wants to play. If he put his services out there, though, he wouldn't want to do it as a backup or a mentor for a young QB. No, he would want to lead a playoff contender. I started speculating on what playoff-caliber teams would be willing to take a chance on Peyton at QB next season. One option made me queasy, because it doesn't seem entirely outrageous.

Give it to me straight, doc: could Peyton play for the Houston Texans next year?

Bowen: Stan, you bring up some great points above. On the surface, Peyton to the Texans makes a good amount of sense. They are a playoff caliber team (without him) and have a clear need at the quarterback position. Now, every indication from the Texans (starting with Owner Bob McNair) is that the team must find a quarterback to build around in the draft. Would they want to bring Manning in for a year or two and also groom a high draft pick? That's a lot of resources to allocate at the quarterback position (the Texans need to find more weapons around the quarterback, too). Just like many Colts fans, I'm intrigued by what Manning will do in the offseason. I think he definitely wants to play again but I just don't see many slam-dunk suitors from both sides of the equation.

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