Colts Mailbag

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Colts Mailbag Weekend Edition: Is Andrew Luck A 2016 Comeback Player Of The Year Candidate?

Intro: In Saturday’s mailbag, readers inquire about the depth of the offensive line in 2016, how the running back group will shake out in the offseason and the young options at cornerback.

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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).

Mark R. (Wellford, SC)

Hi Kevin,

Thanks for taking the time to answer my question. With Andrew missing 9 games last season, does that make him eligible for the Come Back Player of the Year award in 2016? GO COLTS!

Bowen: I don't believe there are specific qualifications for the Comeback Player of the Year award. However, I do think Luck's injuries/time missed were significant enough for him to potentially be on the ballot next season, given his play.

Jim N. (Tennessee)

Are there any guys returning from last year that when you see them you have to look twice - they have changed so much during the off-season - gotten bigger - obviously stronger?

With all of the new offensive linemen are there any of these rookies that you think - he is going to need to hit the weight room - just doesn't look like he can hold up at this level?

Bowen: Jim, this is a great question. I would say there are three guys in particular that have caught my eye. Let's start out with a guy who has gotten smaller. Hugh Thornton has dropped some significant weight and has spoken to how much better he feels this season. Last year's top two draft picks both look like an NFL weight room has done them well. Jacoby Brissett and D'Joun Smith have some definition to them this season. Dorsett has spoken specifically to this. In terms of the offensive linemen drafted in 2016, none of them scream, "Wow, they need to get into the weight room." Of course, an NFL strength/diet program will serve them all well to last a season of more than 20 games when you factor in the preseason/possible playoffs.

Martin G. (Topolcany, Slovakia)

Hi Kevin,

great job, I always read the mailbag. I want to ask you some questions about O-line. How many O-lineman can we have on 53-man roster? How many "backups" we can have on active roster? And also I would like to know your personal oppinion on who will start at the right side? I know that we have great players on the left side and now after the draft we also have a great center. I wish you good luck and have a great day.

Bowen: Thanks, Martin. Typically, a team will keep around nine offensive linemen on their 53-man roster. Then on game days, usually seven offensive linemen dress. That means those two backups have to bring some sort of position flex to play multiple positions. It looks like the Colts have at least a couple of swing guys among this year's trench bunch. Predicting who's going to start on the right side of the line right now is anyone's guess. I'm going to stick with the incumbents there (Joe Reitz at right tackle and a slimmed down Hugh Thornton at right guard). However, I do expect immense competition from Denzelle Good. I think he's at the top of the guys challenging for a starting role. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he was in the starting 11 come Week One.

Dustin B. (Kings Mountain, NC)

Hi Kevin, People keep saying we are gonna have problems this season at the RB position. I think with Gore, Varga, Turbin and Rodman we are in really good shape. What's your thoughts on our depth at RB compared to other positions?

Also do you think Tyler Varga really has what it takes to be a standout. I saw alot in him last year. I think he has great potential. What's your take on Varga's future with the Colts?

Bowen: I do think there is plenty of depth/variety of skill sets at the running back position. Robert Turbin has proved to be a very quality back in this league. He's healed from the nagging ankle injury that plagued him last season. Jordan Todman is another guy to throw into the mix after his nice postseason last year with Pittsburgh. Tyler Varga showed last preseason that he can really impact a game in several ways. Then you have change of pace guys in Trey Williams and Josh Ferguson. They bring something the Colts would love to involve within their offense. With the durability of Frank Gore leading the way, the Colts have several options to turn to in assembling the necessary running back depth.

Ryan P. (Indiana)

Last year I think Duron Carter played like pro bowler in preseason.Absolutely outplayed everyone,why didn't we keep him and any chance getting him back?

Bowen: Last preseason, Duron Carter had nine catches (in 20 targets) for 126 yards and a couple of drops. That catch rate was in the bottom 100s for receivers playing at least 25 percent of the snaps. The Colts had quality depth at receiver, more so than arguably any other position group. That is why Carter did not make the roster. Carter is now back in the Canadian Football League with his old team, the Montreal Alouettes.

Dave C. (New Castle, IN)

The other day, Bill Polian was on ESPN. He was explaining that GM's were now trying to fill holes in their rosters by trading players at positions of excess on their team for a player on another. He said, for example the Colts have an excess of cornerbacks.

That surprised me. I thought we were about right at that position. What do you think?

Bowen: Ryan Grigson mentioned after the draft that he was really looking forward to seeing the undrafted group of cornerbacks. Grigson has also spoke on several occasions this offseason about his eagerness to see the young corners already on the roster compete. On paper, the Colts don't have much proven depth at corner behind true veterans in Vontae Davis, Patrick Robinson and Darius Butler. If several of those young guys emerge than that group could have added depth. But of course you can never have enough cornerbacks in this league and the Colts would love to mold a couple of young ones behind the trio of vets.

Christian S. (Chicago)

I'm curious to know what the potential is, if any, of signing Dwight Freeney. I understand the goal is to get younger on defense and adding a 36 year old lb to the already ancient defense that we have is counterproductive; however, would it really be that bad of an idea to at least offer him a one year deal? Sure everyone is hyped on Earl Okine. And Antonio Morrison and Trevor Bates could have some potential... but it's a bit naive to assume those young guys are gonna make much of an impact next season. Bringing in Freeney would bring not only another veteran who can get some pressure, but it also gives these young guys another future hall of famer to learn from along with Mathis and Cole. Sounds like a low risk high reward to me.

Bowen: Even though it's Dwight Freeney, you still have to view him like you would any other veteran free agent signing this time of year. The Colts don't have a pool of funds to be spending right now. They know the importance of trying to develop some young pass rushing talent. That has to happen and bringing a situational pass rusher on like Freeney could hinder such reps.

Andrew H. (Fargo, ND)

Hi Kevin!

I have a couple questions

  1. Everyone here in Fargo is a BIG NDSU Bison fan. And since I'm also a Colts fan it's really cool for me. I was wondering how Joe is doing and what the future might hold.
  1. How is Luck's injury coming along? Cause he had the ribs, shoulder, and kidney last year.

Thanks for taking time to read!

Bowen: I'm very interested to see what the future holds for Joe Haeg. His progression from a walk-on to a 60-game starter, plus his frame, has me curious to see if he can be a starting offensive tackle in the NFL. Again, the Colts won't need Haeg to log starting reps from Day One, but a year in an NFL weight room would serve him well. As far as Luck, he's participating in the Colts' offseason program. The media will get their first on-the-field look at Luck (and the rest of the Colts) next week when they begin OTAs.

Matt S. (California)

Hey Kevin,

So according to quite a few preseason power rankings the draft didn't quite help the colts a whole lot (on paper). I realize the game isn't played that way, but the lack of respect in to power rankings is disheartening. What are your thoughts on the colts upcoming season in a greatly improved afc south, and did the colts pull enough out of their hat to make a playoff push? Thanks!

Bowen: Matt, the few draft grades I saw were pretty complimentary of the Colts eight-man haul in 2016. The Colts addressed their biggest need with significant numbers. A healthy Andrew Luck totally flips the script on how outsiders view this Colts' team. The AFC South has certainly gotten better, but I still believe the Colts are positioned to win this division. The Colts have the proven quarterback with playoff experience, winning three postseason games. The other three teams do not. That could be the difference come late in the season, if the starting signal callers can all stay healthy.

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