Colts Mailbag

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Colts Mailbag Weekend Edition: When Clayton Geathers Returns, Should He Play Linebacker?

Intro: In Saturday’s mailbag, readers inquire about the future of the offensive line, getting Phillip Dorsett more involved and the playoff chances for the Colts.

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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.Submit your question here.

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).

Mike S. (Augusta, GA)

Is the 3 TD rec by the colts the on Mon night vs the jets a team record And if not who has the single gm record for the colts

Bowen: Dwayne Allen tied a single-game team record for touchdown receptions. This feat has now been done 21 times in Colts history. T.Y. Hilton did it in 2013. It's pretty crazy that 21 times a Colt has caught three touchdowns in a game, but no one has caught four.

Matthew H. (Iowa)

Clayton geathers moving to linebacker has been a hot topic lately. I was just wondering what the odds are that actually happens? I kind of like the physical presence in the back end. 
How do you see the long term future of the offensive line playing out? By the time Le'raven Clark is ready to play we are going to have 6 solid offensive linemen, or 7 if Joe reitz stays with the team.

Bowen: We had a lot of Geathers/linebacker questions this week. We touch on those inquires in later mailbag questions. Let's focus on the offensive line future here. Le'Raven Clark is probably the biggest unknown in what his future role looks like for the Colts. Right now the future of this line looks like LT-Anthony Castonzo, LG-Jack Mewhort, C-Ryan Kelly, RG-Denzelle Good and RT-Joe Haeg. When you talk about interior reserves you have Jonotthan Harrison and Austin Blythe. Then Clark is an edge body. Does Clark bump one of those guys out of the starting lineup? Next offseason should offer a clearer picture into how the Colts see Clark. Joe Reitz still has another year on his contract, too. Reitz's versatility will come in handy again in 2017.

Riley S. (Fillmore, IN)

Hey Kevin. First time doing this,but my queation is... Why dont we go deep as much as we used to with Donte. Also I think we underestimate Phillip Dorsetts skill. We should also utilize him more in the passing game instead of just sweeps. Thx and lets hope we make the playoffs!#IndyvsTexans

Bowen: Since Donte Moncrief's return, we haven't really seen him used too much as a deep threat. I recall in the Green Bay game, Moncrief making a catch on the sideline for a significant gain in the fourth quarter. When the Colts go deep, T.Y. Hilton and Jacoby Brissett are used more frequently. With Moncrief, I think it's all about him getting back into the flow. The Colts know they can use him deep, but also realize how important he is on underneath stuff and using that big body to move the chains. We had a couple of Phillip Dorsett questions this week. Yes, we see the Colts using Dorsett in other ways for touches (had the jet sweep against the Jets). One week after having 6 targets against the Steelers, Dorsett had just one against the Jets. Like I've said before, I'm surprised that Dorsett hasn't found more consistency in the passing game. I do think the emergence of Jack Doyle has something to do with it. The Colts have found a very good amount of production with both tight ends via the passing game, and that's something I thought would not happen as much in 2016. I figured Dorsett would bump down the "second tight end" receiving targets. But that hasn't been the case. I still believe for the Colts to make the playoffs and get on any sort of run, they are going to need Dorsett to have more impact in the passing game (outside of the pass interference penalties, which he has been drawing down the field).

James F. (Denver)As an Indy native and lifelong Colts fan, I have to say there is something satisfying about watching Denver lose (now that Peyton is gone). First, I am amazed at how many people only ask you about the draft and free agency, as if our season is over. Sure it is something to think about, but how many times does everyone really need to read about how logical it is to draft a CB, ILB, OLB, RB, or possibly S depending on Geathers. Despite that, I enjoy reading every week because I work nights and it gets slow about this time!

My first question is what would it take to trade for Henry, and can someone please try while Murray is having a great season and he could be viewed as slightly more dispensable than he ever will be again?

My last question is why are so many of my fellow Colts fans blind to our rookie OL's development? You can complain about their "talent" and talk about this years numbers and be sheep all you want, but how about you step back and watch their improvement over the last 12 weeks. Look at what they did against the Jets, one of the nastiest front 7 in the league! Also, because I am confident, watch what they are going to do for years to come. This OL is just getting started, ignoring the true needs DEFENSE and the age on our defense to waste more pics on OL would be detrimental to the next 2-5 years... most of the rest of Luck's career!

None of us want to watch Indy ignore defense his whole career like we did to Peyton! Barring the one year our D was solid.. Thanks Bob Sanders for all you did to yourself for us fans! Oh and Colts.. give Kevin a raise, he keeps your fans actively engaged.. and hopefully over time will educate them to stop saying stupid things :)

Bowen: James, thanks for reading! The Titans aren't trading Derrick Henry. In this league, you need multiple runners especially when your team is as run dominant as the Titans. DeMarco Murray is running terrific this season. But he also turns 29 in February. That dreadful age 30 number for running backs isn't far behind. The Titans drafted Henry in the second round for a reason. He's a big part of their offense and future. With the offensive line, we have similar thinking in that patience must be practiced with the new-look of that group involving so many young guys. With three rookie starters on defense possibly coming this weekend, the Colts must find a few more instant plug-in guys for that side of the ball next April.

Adam R. (St. Paris, OH)

Hello Kevin, My fiance and I are headed west to watch this weekends game and are looking to get there early enough to hopefully get a autograph or two! What steps should we take to increase the probability of making this happen? Thank you for all you do for us fans in Colts nation! Let'Er Rip!

Bowen: For autographs, make sure you get into the stadium right when the gates open. They let fans hang around the edge of the lower bowl while some players come out early to warm up. If you go over by the Colts tunnel, you have a chance for some autographs during this time. It's hard on game day, but this is your best bet---come in early, go down by the Colts tunnel in the southwest corner of the stadium.

Chris N. (Orange County, CA)

Hi Mr. Bowen,

Being from SoCal, I love my USC Trojans. Everytime I watch Adoree' Jackson play I hope someday he will wear a horseshoe on his helmet. In many eyes, he is better than Jabrill Peppers, as he plays in all three phases at a ridiculously high level.

So if you have watched any USC games this year,

My question: Would Jackson be what the Colts are looking for in a CB? He is a smaller, fiesty reciever who is probably the most dangeous return man in the country to go along with that. Or are we looking for a more big body corner?

Note: Another guy that I think fits our role for everydown back, late rounder is Ronald Jones III. He is a guy that will slip down in the draft but we USC fans think can be the real deal.

Bowen: Well, I (sadly) watched the Notre Dame game and Adoree' Jackson is still giving me nightmares. In regards to cornerback, I do think the Colts are looking for more of a bigger body presence. I know there are some questions on just how pure of a corner Jackson can be at the next level (granted, his return ability is elite). The Colts like leaving their corners in man, so some physicality is desired at that position. I do like what I saw from Ronald Jones. Curious to see where he falls in this deep 2017 running back group.

Nathan D. (Flagstaff, AZ)

Are Edwin Jackson and Antonio Morrison the future at ILB?
If not I think the Colts should target, Raekwon McMillan, an instinctual LB out of OSU in the second or third round. Also either (or both) of the LBs out of Wisconsin, TJ Watt and Biegel.

Bowen: This is a question that I didn't think we would get a true answer on this in 2016. But with D'Qwell Jackson's suspension, here comes a four-week audition to see what the Colts have in the youngsters. If the Colts find out that Edwin Jackson and Antonio Morrison can play at a high level alongside each other, then that pushes inside linebacker down the needs list for the 2017 offseason. Could this be a blessing in disguise, if the Colts discover they have a pretty good young linebacker duo for the future middle of their defense? I've always believed inside linebacker is a big need for the Colts in 2017, but these next four weeks could shift that thinking for sure. What an opportunity for this duo.

John R. (Smithfield, OH)Do you think Grigson will continue to draft players that are projects. T J Green has had playing time, although ineffective for the most part, for a 2nd round draft choice. Le'Raven Clark has rarely seen the field and I can see him being a wasted draft choice like Khaled Holmes. We need to draft players that can provide immediate help to the team. I can see developing a player as an undrafted free agent, but we don't have the depth to be investing high draft choices on project players.

Bowen: I think with the draft picks, you get all types of "projects" versus immediate impact guys. Ryan Kelly is at one end. Le'Raven Clark is at the other end. The Colts needed Kelly to play from Day One and he was ready to. The Colts did not need Clark to play right away and he's not. You look at Clark and he's more of a project, whereas Joe Haeg in the fifth round has been an instant play guy, at several spots. With T.J. Green, is he ready to be a 16-game starter at safety? Probably not. Green has played spot duty for this team and the Colts did not need him to come in and be a starter, with Mike Adams and Clayton Geathers already there. Every draft class is going to have some variety in Day One contributors. Looking ahead to next year, the Colts do need to find defensive guys that can play right away, particularly off the edge and in the linebacker group.

Timothy G. (Indiana)

Hey Kevin, I was wondering what is the least the Colts have to do to make the playoff? I know the best way to reach the postseason is to win the division and the way the AFC is shaping up, what with the crazy AFC west, I am certain there is no chance for us to clinch a wildcard. SO obviously we MUST beat Houston on Sunday, which will push us ever closer to the division crown. But after that, what are the possible scenarios that will put us in the playoffs?

Bowen: Timothy, I would need a mailbag from about 6 football fields long to explain all the scenarios. I'll point you in the direction of the ESPN Playoff Machine if you would like to punch in possible scenarios. Basically, the Colts need to win Sunday and then go at least 2-1 down the stretch. But if Houston wins out, under that scenario, then you get into some quirky tiebreaking scenarios. The Colts really need to win the division outright to avoid the tiebreakers that are currently not in their favor.

Zach M. (Rochester, NY)

Hello Kevin hope all is well and usual thanks your insight.
My question is with D Jackson's suspension what is the short term future at ILB? Does this mean Morrison and Edwin Jackson combo or geathers coming down at the hybrid backer and keep DButs at saftey which personally like?

Also does this mean Trevor Bates is gonna be back on the p.s. or roster because I thought we gave up on him to quick and would like to see him back?

Bowen: We get into the Geathers' part of this question below. So, yes, the short-term plan is a combination of Edwin Jackson and Antonio Morrison at inside linebacker. Morrison is the more natural replacement for D'Qwell Jackson. Morrison excels against the run, playing the now vacant MIKE linebacker spot. Now, don't expect Morrison to all of a sudden play 90 percent of the team's defensive snaps. I would think the Colts' objective will be trying to play some more nickel and getting "their best 11" on the field. Of course, the offensive personnel dictates just how comfortable Ted Monachino will feel in running more defensive backs onto the field. On the flip side, the Texans would probably like to keep the Colts in a base defensive look. It's a chess match. If the Colts can win their early downs on defense, they will force Houston to play left handed. As far as Trevor Bates, he's on the New England practice squad. Bates joined the Patriots on Nov. 7.

Justin R. (Haymarket, VA)

Hey Kevin, seeing as Jackson just got suspended for four games do you think it's time to try Geathers at linebacker assuming he clears protocol this week. In the perfect scenario it would be Butler at safety, Robinson in the slot and Melvin starting opposite Davis. Just wanted your thought on this and if it is likely to happen this week.

Bowen: Clayton Geathers has been ruled OUT for this week. Chuck Pagano has listed Geathers at "week-to-week" which means his status is up in the air for next week, too. I think if Geathers was healthy, Ted Monachino would think long and hard about using the versatile defender down at linebacker more often. The Colts don't play many true passing teams down the stretch, but I still think Geathers could survive with more linebacker reps. It's just unfortunate that, for the time being, this personnel grouping isn't even an option.

Doug H. (West Milford, NJ)

Hi Kevin, thank you for the mailbag. My question is about the future of the secondary. What do you think of a combo of Green and Butler at the safety spots Davis at corner draft a corner in round one for the other corner and slide Robinson to slot where he's dominate. I know there alot of what-ifs but just wanted to see what you thought. Thanks again

Bowen: Where are you putting Clayton Geathers in this scenario? Are you moving him to linebacker? Geathers is a sure-fire starter for this defense. You have to find a spot for him. I do think there's some merit to your hypothetical, if the Colts think Geathers can be a full-time linebacker. You would have plenty of speed in your defense with this group starting. (Of course, taking a corner that high means you miss a chance to find a young pass rusher, or an inside linebacker).

John F. (Horseshoe Bay, TX)

Kevin, with the 4 remaining games against mediocre rushing defensive teams (Minnesota is the highest ranked at 17) and all giving up more than 4 yds/att. And over 100 yds/game, do you think the Colts will go with Gore to get a 1000 yards this year? He only needs to avg 63 TD's per game to get there. I know the game dictates the calls, but I hope they get the future HOFer to 1000 yards.

Bowen: Don't think for a second, the Colts are going to go out of their way to get Frank Gore carries down the stretch, in order for him to reach the 1,000-yard mark. The Colts are still going to use Gore a lot, but not at the jeopardy of deviating from what they think is the best plan to win the game. You make a great point about what the final four games have in terms of trends. These teams aren't explosive offenses and they have struggled against the run. With Gore gaining 79 yards last Monday against one of the league's best defenses, the run game for the Colts is clearly a productive option. I do see Gore averaging the necessary yards to reach 1,000 this season. Monday night's output was HUGE in him having a realistic shot at the 1,000-mark.

Steve P. (Strugis, SD)

can the Colts make the playoffs

Bowen: Why, yes they can. The Colts are currently tied for the AFC South lead with the Texans and Titans. Sunday's matchup between the Colts and Texans will have a lot of say in who ultimately wins this division. If the Colts want to win the division, they likely need a win tomorrow and then capture victories in two of their last three games. Head here for a more detailed look at the AFC South race.

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