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:Rodney A. (Winston-Salem, NC)
As I always do , I break down and replay the game every week. The one thing that is certain on all football teams is that the Quarterback is the driver. Its his job to move the chains and as I've said many times before over the last two seasons is that Luck is falling short in that department. We have far to many three and outs or stalled drives where its a 3rd and 2 or 3rd and 3. He needs to make a decision to run or locate the open receiver in 2 seconds. Instead of forcing the ball into double or triple coverage after holding it for 3 or 4 seconds . You know I became a Colt fan because he chose to go back to school rather to become a Panther. He has the most upside of any player I can think in the league. He can be the best and maybe the best ever. But he has alot of work to do in two areas. 1. defeating the bliz---making them pay. 2. making faster decisions ---run the ball move the chains. The use of his legs more can and will go along way in fixing those issues. My question to you is, am I being accurate or is there more to it than I can see. Thanks , I really enjoy your column.
Bowen: Rodney, I think you are definitely onto something in trying to sift through why Andrew Luck has struggled here in 2015. Luck always talks about the need to attack blitzes with either the offense making a play, or the defense. There's been too many occurrences here in 2015 where the defense has made the big play when blitzing Luck. You mention running the football and that definitely needs to be, and will continue to be, a focus going forward. The Colts need to alleviate some of the pressure currently on Luck. A productive running game will certainly help that cause. Just two weeks ago, we saw Luck at the level he's used to. That first half against the Patriots, Luck was 17-of-22 for 140 yards and two touchdowns. He wasn't sacked or hit in those two quarters of work either. That is the efficiency we are used to seeing from Luck.
Anthony T. (Philadelphia)
Why are the Colts not utilizing a "big man" like Duron Carter. With the height comparable to Megatron's, why not use him on one on one situations?(I doubt defenses would double cover a rookie.) I've seen him in the CFL with the speed to get behind coverage and the height to get to where the defender couldn't for the ball. As fans, obviously we'd like to see him play, but we'd very much like to know why he's only on the practice squad. Can you give us details?
Bowen: I think Carter showed in the preseason that he's very much still in the developmental stages. There is a major learning curve between playing wide receiver in the CFL and then transitioning to do the same in the NFL. Carter just isn't going to play right now over T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief or Andre Johnson. When the Colts brought Quan Bray up from the practice squad this week, they did so with the intention of a special teams role needing to be filled. The Colts still feel very highly about Carter. He's a rookie, by NFL standards, so a year on the practice squad, learning behind other proven wideouts, is only going to benefit his development.
Tom H. (Barbados)
So Week 8 is the week that the Panthers streak is curtailed. None better than our dubious Colts to put an end to it. I really do believe that this is Gore's 100yrd rushing week. We need to let Gore do his thing. He's on the brink of unleashing a plethora of rushing yards and averted tackles.
With the Panthers having 9 INTS on the year defensively, do you think Pagano and Pep put the game in Gore's hands?
Bowen: The talk this week is the Colts are going to give Gore a heavy dose, regardless of the score. Pep Hamilton spoke on Thursday how the Colts need to take the pressure off of Andrew Luck. That would mean Gore is going to get the rock quite a few times on Monday night. Gore is averaging 4.6 yards per carry. He's going to see a Panthers defense that is just 18th against the run, despite being a top-10 unit in so many other categories. Gore is going to carry an extended load on Monday night, looking to finally get some run in the fourth quarter, too. In the past two weeks, Gore has just one combined carry in the final quarter.
Chad R. (Westfield, IN)
Why is it we go away from the run in the 2nd half this season when Frank Gore is a running machine? Secondly, why are our TEs being so underutilized given our O-Line challenges? Getting the ball out fast seems to be the right option to loosen up the D and we have great TE options to throw too.
Bowen: Since the Gore question was addressed above, let's concentrate on the tight ends. Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen have caught just 13 passes in the past three games. The tight ends have been asked to block a bit more in 2015, but that doesn't mean they won't be more involved in the coming weeks. With Phillip Dorsett out for at least a month, that opens up some extra offensive reps. We could easily see Allen and Fleener absorb some of those plays, with more two tight end looks, as well. Pep Hamilton spoke on Thursday that it's a definite priority to get the tight ends more involved in the passing game.
Emory R. (Freeport, NY)
BY all accounts the Colts should be a better team this year, but they are not! Andrew Luck does not have a security blanket (i.e., Reggie Wayne). Why don't the Colts re-sign Reggie? I think management really under estimated his importance to this team and particularly Andrew Luck. Andrew has not established the chemistry with Andre Johnson yet and TY and not Marvin Harrison and Reggie yet. What are your thoughts on this matter.
Thanks a Colts fan for life!!!
Bowen: We have received a couple of these "sign Wayne" type of questions lately. I can't see this in the cards at all for the Colts. Look, Reggie Wayne is a future Hall of Famer. Unfortunately, injuries caught up to Wayne in 2014 and he just wasn't the same player at the age of 36. I just don't believe Wayne is an upgrade for what the Colts already have (and are paying) in T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Andre Johnson, etc. Wayne is a Colts all-time great and one of the best to ever play the game, however, I can't see him having an impact right now.
Waylon H. (Kposkia, ID)
I believe that Monday night's game will show the true character of this team and that players play hard for our Coach. Will Bray be the spark?
Bowen: I don't think Quan Bray is going to be the difference maker in the Colts getting back to .500 this week. Frankly, we don't really know what the role for Bray will be this weekend, but I can't imagine it being too immense. At practice, we've seen Bray, T.Y. Hilton and Griff Whalen all field punts. If Bray does have a significant role on Monday night, I imagine it would be as a return man. I still think Whalen will take the 20-25 percent of offensive reps that Phillip Dorsett was logging.
Diane H. (Pottsville, PA)
Do you think theColts will make it in the Playoffs this year?
Bowen: No holding back with this question as the Colts near the halfway point of the 2015 season. At 3-4, the Colts have a one-game lead in the AFC South over both Houston and Jacksonville. The Colts are 3-0 through the first half of their divisional slate this season. They will not play another AFC South game until December 13. For all the Colts struggles and inconsistencies this season, they still are in the driver's seat to win their third straight AFC South title. The schedule for the Colts is stern these next few weeks and they have to find some wins for them to maintain control of the AFC South. I do see the Colts winning the AFC South and that would give them a home playoff game come January.
Stan C. (Minneapolis, MN)
Thanks as always for your hard work and consideration, Kevin. It's been a trying season for us fans. Not because of the record, but because of the general mood and look of this team. I think that, relative to beginning of season expectations, the Colts and Ravens have been the biggest underperformers of the year. Baltimore has significant injuries and very close games to lean on, however, while the Colts can mostly just point to poor roster composition and an inability to get the team ready on Sundays.
Jim Irsay is a very proud man, and not one to tolerate being humiliated. And right now, this team is humiliating him. I don't think it is out of the question for a large-scale house cleaning at the end of the season, a la San Fransisco last year. Pep Hamilton and Chuck Pagano seem certain to go, barring a miraculously deep playoff run past the Patriots, Broncos, and/or Bengals to the Super Bowl. Ryan Grigson's job status seems more of a question mark, with one year left on his contract and more of a direct connection to Irsay (although he is wildly inconsistent as a collector of talen).
My question is about general manager hiring. Most people are familiar with the regular names for prominent HC and coordinator positions, but not nearly as much with GM prospects. How do teams find potential GM candidate? Are they typically promoted in-house or hired away from other teams? Do they typically come from a player scouting background, as Grigson did?
Bowen: Stan, I think this is something not a ton of people know about. It can really vary depending on what an owner is looking for in dividing up the roles between a general manager and a head coach. Typically, it's all about how NFL personnel people (lower than GMs) are viewed around the NFL. Have teams excelled in recent drafts, meaning their scouts have obviously found talent? That would be appealing in trying to find future GMs/personnel people. I would say most GMs are typically not promoted in-house. That happens at times but for the most part a person from the outside is brought in if a new scouting philosophy is desired. I do believe most GMs normally come from a scouting background like Ryan Grigson.