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Colts Mailbag Weekend Edition: What Are The Biggest Keys For the Colts In 2015?

Intro: In Saturday’s mailbag, readers inquire about the rehab of Nate Irving, Pat McAfee kicking field goals and the rookie contracts for D’Joun Smith and Henry Anderson.





INDIANAPOLIS – Each week, readers of 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:

Chandler Keown (Flora, IN)

We've heard a lot of talk about the new additions for the Colts. But, I've heard very little about Nate Irving. What is his expected role supposed to be and could he become a playmaker for the Colts? Before his injury with the Broncos, I thought he was considered one of the best run stopping LB's in the league.

Bowen: Chandler, perfect timing on the Irving news. Earlier this week, I wrote the following piece on Irving and when he expects to return to the playing field. His role is a curious one. Chuck Pagano said back in March that Irving would compete for a starting inside linebacker job once his ACL rehab finished. If healthy (and that's a major question after a mid-season ACL injury last year), Irving should fit into some role within the Colts defense this season.

Ross B Turning (Fort Wayne)

Now that the draft has passed, could we see the colts' big board?

Bowen: Ross, I'd love to see the draft board, just like yourself. However, I don't see that happening. Releasing the draft board would still impact deals down the road. These current rookies are eventually going to get released/put on the trade block and the Colts will be interested in some of them. Maybe the NFL can implement a rule forcing teams to release their draft boards after the draft? The chances of that happening are slim to none but would give the fans some entertainment in the offseason.

Isak H. (Mexico City)

Does Ryan Grigson not like Griff Whalen? I mean, he has always had good hands, confidence and is a very reliable player. You can even see how Luck and Whalen communicate when they are playing. Ryan Grigson seems to be making many efforts to replace him, Moncrief, Brown and now Dorsett, why not keep Griff if he is reliable, versatile and good for depth?

Bowen: If Ryan Grigson didn't "like" Griff Whalen I don't think the former undrafted free agent would be going on his fourth season in Indianapolis. The Colts clearly value what Whalen not only brings this offense, but has also provided the special teams in the past few seasons. The wide receiver position just happens to be the deepest position on the team and that impacts Whalen. The names you mentioned above have all done more than enough to warrant some first-team reps as well (Dorsett in the college ranks, of course). I still think Whalen will be in the mix once again to make the 53-man roster, although that battle is going to be intense throughout the preseason.

Sunil Anaokar (Houston, TX)

What is the status of signing of D'Joun Smith and Henry Anderson? Will they be in the fold before the training camp?

Bowen: As we near the end of June, only three draft picks in the entire NFL remain unsigned. They are D'Joun Smith, Henry Anderson and Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota. With Training Camp more than a month away, I see no reason to fret over the contracts for Smith and Anderson. There's nothing in the next month they could participate in where a contract has to be signed for. Now, if the calendar was July 27 (and not June 27), I would be a bit more worried. I fully expect them to be signed and ready to go when Training Camp gets underway on August 2 in Anderson.

Thomas Cartranski (Santa Clause, IN)

What do you see as the biggest key to the Colts success in 2015?

Bowen: A very broad question here, so I will narrow it down to an area on each side of the ball as my primary focus in 2015. Offensively, the main key for me falls in the giveaway category. The only thing I see stopping this offense in 2015 are costly turnovers. If the unit can stay out of its own way, I just don't see teams consistently stopping them. Defensively, a healthy front throughout the season should lead to winning the early downs. The Colts have plenty of options off the edge in 2015 but those pass rush opportunities only come after forcing advantageous third-down chances for the defense. Healthy campaigns for Arthur Jones, Kendall Langford and Henry Anderson are absolutely critical to achieving that.

Will Hartley (Lancaster, PA)

Hey Kevin,

Do you ever think we will get to see Pat Mac use the broomstick for punts and FG's? Maybe once Adam V. Retires?


Will H.

Bowen: It's been a while since we've had our "McAfee field goal kicking" question. This question won't become seriously relevant until Adam Vinatieri does indeed hang it up. This is a contract year for Vinatieri, but he obviously showed last season that retirement will be dictated on his own terms thanks to an All-Pro season. I do not doubt for a second that McAfee can be an NFL field goal kicker. He's shown that off time and time again in practice. My biggest question comes with what team would want to risk a move with just one kicker on the 53-man roster. I recall in the 2014 AFC Divisional Round game in New England, the Patriots punter (Ryan Allen) was hurt in the first half. What would happen if that was McAfee trying to do all three kicking duties in a game? As far as 2015, I'm intrigued to see if McAfee attempts a 60-yard field goal at the end of a half/game.

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