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).
Raphael M. (Brazil)
Good afternoon from Brazil. I'm a big colts fan and love to follow the news of the offseason! By this time is hard to get any idea of how different our team will be from what we saw last year. Since we didn´t have a lot of activity in the free agent market, the draft should be the first point of attack and to bring the first changes. But what we saw was that the colts invested the biggest efforts to rebuild the offensive line. My question is actually if any of the undrafted free agents have a real opportunity to make the roster for the season. Do you have any information, or are we just goingo to know better by the time the training camp start?
Bowen: The Colts have a rich history in undrafted free agents making the opening day roster. For 17 straight years, the Colts have had at least one UDFA on their roster come Week One. That's the longest such streak in the NFL. Some guys I will be watching come Training Camp: RB-Josh Ferguson, OLB-Curt Maggitt, OLB-Ron Thompson Jr. I also think someone will emerge from the wide receiver, tight end and secondary undrafted classes. There are some spots to be filled at those positions.
Evan B. (Ohio)
Hello Kevin, I have 2 questions for you today,
- What ever happened to Vick Ballard? He had a solid rookie season, but after that he couldn't stay away from the injury bug. Was he cut?
- Do you think that come week 1 LeRaven Clark will have a chance to start at RT?
Thanks in advance, I love reading the mailbag every week and appreciate everything you do, Go Colts!
Bowen: 1. Vick Ballard was released by the Colts last September. He joined the Saints earlier this offseason but then was released in May. I wish Ballard could just have a completely healthy offseason to prove himself but unfortunately injuries have dominated the last three years. 2. I believe Joe Reitz is the favorite to start at right tackle. Every time that question comes up to Chuck Pagano/Ryan Grigson, the name of Reitz is the first one mentioned. Remember, Reitz was more than adequate there as a starter last season. With Clark, he's making a big jump from the college game. Clark rarely put his hand in the ground as a blocker at Texas Tech and the Colts knew there would be an adjustment period. Clark is going to get a chance to prove himself with the full pads on at Training Camp, but for now I see him as more of a rookie reserve.
Matt W. (Plant City, FL)
Quick question Mr. Bowen and probably not the best question but why is there so many preseason games? Doesn't that up the chances even more for injuries b4 the season even starts? We all know u can't predict what's gonna happen when u step out on the field especially when it comes to injuries. I mean I think 3 pre season games is enough to get a feel for the players. SO y so many? If anything add games on to the season lol what's your take on this?
Bowen: There has to be a happy medium between having enough preseason reps to evaluate a 90-man roster, making sure your starters are ready for a regular season game and then also not having too many games to risk injury. The NFL feels the progression of four weeks is the right balance. Although I think the preseason could be shrunk down, I understand what the NFL is thinking. Most teams go from starters playing a series or two in Week One of the preseason, to a quarter in Week Two of the preseason, then about two quarters and a half in Week Three of the preseason. Week Four of the preseason is reserved for the backend of the roster guys competing to make the team. I could see three preseason games, but then you get into the debate over how you would handle home vs. road with an odd number of contests.
Austin P. (Warwick, RI)
Hey Kevin huge fan of the mail bag and the colts even tho I live in New England.
I want to thank you for making this part of the season as painless as can be with limted things to go on before the pads come on.
Seeing that by this time most all questions really have been answered up until camp starts I would like to know your personal favorite few storylines that us the fans may be over looking or something brewing within the team thank you for all you do !
GO COLTS #FeedMoncrief
Bowen: Austin, happy to do it. You guys do a great job of covering virtually everything that matches up with my curiosity. I'm intrigued by the secondary this year. Is Patrick Robinson the No. 2 cornerback this team has longed for to pair opposite Vontae Davis? If the depth at corner is tested, what do the Colts have there? I'm interested in just what the pass rush will look like with a (healthy) 35-year-old Robert Mathis playing potentially his first full season since he led the NFL in sacks back in 2013. On offense, it's the depth and roles at the skill positions. (We've already talked enough about the offensive line).
Tyler R. (Fort Wayne, IN)
My question to you this week is about David Perry. With all his praises he got last year as a rookie (well deserved) and Art Jones coming off injury. In your opinion would it be best to do Art like they did Robert Mathis last year? Basically "pitch count" him till he is fully ready? I like what perry did and i believe that he shouldnt be shut out early because of Art having the big contract. Don't get me wrong. I know if Art can stay healthy he can be a beast and i know he restuctured his deal but i love the heart perry showed as a rookie to get the inside held down.
P.S. not sure if it is perry or parry. Its been a long week already. Lol Im sure you know who im talking about. Thanks.
Bowen: It is David Parry. I think you are along the same thinking as this coaching staff. They aren't going to rush Arthur Jones back into playing 80 percent of the defensive snaps from Day One. That's just not necessary with the depth you've created up front. Parry started 16 games as a fifth-round rookie. That should not be taken for granted. Also, we still don't know if nose tackle would be Arthur Jones' position in Ted Monachino's defense. Don't worry about Parry's playing time. He showed last season that he can be a starter in this league. He will still rotate with the rest of the group, at a position where substitutes are frequent.
Walter B. (Ohio)
Hey Kevin, thank for everything you do for us Colts fans keeping us updated on our questions.
With the improvements made to the offensive line and getting Andrew back, we should have a much better season on offense. With that being said, I believe the Colts should throw up some big numbers. I could see a 4,000 yard Passer, 2 1,000 yard recievers, and 1 1,000 yard rusher on the team. I know it is hard to project numbers, but what do you think?
Bowen: If health isn't an issue, I think these numbers are attainable for sure. Andrew Luck threw for 4,761 yards in 2014. The Colts also had a 1,300-yard receiver and two 700-yard pass catchers that year. Now, in 2016, Frank Gore is the definite top back. I think if those skill guys can stay healthy, the offensive line finds a consistent core, then those numbers could definitely be reached. The balance of it might be the most difficult part (can a second receiver get to 1,000 yards would be my biggest question).
Luke R. (Rochester, NY)
One of the untouched positions this offseason, the wide receivers on the Colts were ignored to try and build up the OL, along with the defense. I, however, am seeing the receivers as weaker than previous years. Not only did Fleener leave Indy, but there is little depth in the position, not to mention that when T.Y. Hilton is struggling in certain games, no one else is there to make to big plays or make big catches outside of Moncrief. The fix I feel the Colts need, are a tall, reliable WR similar to A.J. Green, or someone similar to Jordy Nelson, who can catch the ball when you need it. Is there any person on the Colts depth chart, that has potential to fit this role? (Possibly Undrafted FA?)
Bowen: Finding an A.J. Green or Jordy Nelson type player in your undrafted free agents just isn't going to happen. Personally, I think the Colts have upgraded the receiver position in 2016. You are pretty much subbing out Andre Johnson for Jacoby Brissett. I think the pressure Dorsett can apply to an opposing defense is a much-needed addition to complement T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief. A trio of Hilton, Moncrief and Dorsett, plus a healthy Andrew Luck, should cause some sleepless nights for other team's defensive coordinators. The Colts do like their undrafted free agent class, but a fourth wide receiver isn't going to need to play major snaps (unless an injury occurs).
Anthony O. (Springfield, MO)
So this is kind of a random question Kevin, but where is the love for Vontae Davis? I may be biased being a Colts fan but he rarely gets the recognition he deserves it seems. I like the addition of Robinson but I feel like even if they rated high in shutting down the #1 and #2 receivers of the opposing team respectively, that analysts would still not recognize it. So why are so many people not including the likes of Davis in top CB listings?
Bowen: Listings of top cornerbacks never really have resonated with me. Do you go with cornerbacks who have a bunch of interceptions? If you do that, what about guys who aren't thrown at as much? I do think Vontae Davis is one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL. He's not a big talker and doesn't record a bundle of interceptions. Yet, he's still received Pro Bowl talk the past couple of years in Indy. I wouldn't get too caught up in such rankings. Without Davis, this Colts defense would be seriously scrambling to make up for his loss. If Davis can have the consistent season he had in 2014, and play well against the likes of Antonio Brown, Demaryius Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins, Allen Robinson, etc. then he will push up on those rankings.