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).
Matt S. (Provo, Utah)
Hey Kevin, quick question for you. With the recent signing of Cromartie do you see a possibility of him starting once Vontae returns? Could you see a lineup of Davis and Cromartie (due to his size) on the outside with Patrick lining up as a nickel corner? And if so how good do you see that trio being?
Bowen: We received a bunch of 'Cromartie and his fit' questions in this weekend's mailbag. This one takes a longer range approach at just how the 2016 cornerbacks might shake out, when everyone is healthy. If Cromartie shows himself to be a starting caliber player, your scenario would make plenty of sense. Patrick Robinson has excelled as a nickel/slot cornerback, especially last season. We haven't seen Robinson take really any nickel-type reps since joining the Colts in the spring. But if you have outside guys with size, length and physicality (like healthy guys in Davis and Cromartie give you), then that would give the Colts an option to play them on the outside and let Robinson play nickel. Remember, a nickel cornerback is almost assuredly going to play upwards of 50-to-60 percent of snaps a game, so they are pretty much a 12th starter. The glass half full approach would look at this signing as having the potential to really upgrade the quality cornerback depth. For that to happen, three things will have to occur: Davis has to get healthy, Cromartie has to show himself to be a capable starter and Robinson will have to be able to transition back to nickel.
Dustin B. (Kings Mountain, NC)
Hi, Kevin. I love reading your answers every mailbag. My question today involves last year and this year. Last year we had the injuries on D and the injury to Luck. We still went 8-8 and so many people bash us for it. Well we took the Panthers to OT. We beat the defending superbowl champion Denver Broncos and still managed 8-8. My question is with injuries on D but Luck back and healthy, what do you think our overall record will be this year.
Bowen: It's been a while since we got a "record prediction" sort of question. Who would have ever thought in 2015 you would go 2-5 in games started by Andrew Luck and 6-3 in games not played by the franchise quarterback. Now, of course, the blame (one way or another) never falls on the shoulders of one player. If the defense can get its starting unit together by October, I think this is a team that can hover right around 11 wins and get back to the top of the AFC. Every team projected to be the top of this conference is currently dealing with some specific injuries/suspensions/quarterback concerns. I've said it before that I think the back half of this schedule is particularly difficult. A stretch of Steelers, @Jets, Texans (on a short week), @Vikings and @Raiders (on a short week) is a group of five playoff potential teams in the final stretch of the season. So with Luck back and playing at his normal level, plus the defense getting healthy soon, I see the Colts right around 11 wins this season.
Jub G. (Los Angeles)
No one is talking about trey Williams. Deep on the roster also plays some corner. He is fast. Has a knack for getting back to the line of scrimmage on stuffed plays. also just seems to put up yards because he'll consistently push the pile. looks like an Ahmad Bradshaw in the making. Why has he garnered so little interest?
Bowen: Trey Williams is a running back. He's only been a running back in the NFL, so that's the spot he's going to make the team at, if he does make the team. You see flashes from Williams and his incredible speed/shiftiness. With any smaller back, being able to block is a key and we saw Williams struggle in that during Training Camp. I wouldn't use Bradshaw as the comparison for Williams. I see more of a jitterbug/make you miss type of guy. The Colts like Williams, hence the reason he was on the active roster to close the 2015 regular season. But right now, he's on the outside looking in for the running back reps. We will see if Williams can impress enough in the final two weeks of the preseason to find his way onto the active roster.
Terry W. (Ocklawaha, FL)
I'm wondering how well Duane Allen is going to be able to handle being a prime target in the offense this year. Maybe he's a good blocker but the only time he was thrown the ball this week he bobbled it then fumbled it. Most of the time he's on the injured list. I thought Swoope looked very impressive. Maybe they should have given him the big contract. Doyle is pretty consistent also. I noticed they brought in another TE this week. Are they thinking the same thing possibly?
Bowen: Dwayne Allen is this team's top tight end and is going to see the most targets of the position group in 2016. Mo Alie-Cox has played one NFL game. Yes, Allen has struggled with injuries, but he's also been in the end zone more times than Swoope has snaps in the NFL (13 career touchdowns for Allen, 6 career snaps for Swoope). Let's not take a small sample size and react to giving Swoope a $30 million deal. Chuck Pagano has loved what Swoope has done this preseason. The former basketball player has made incredible strides to be the favorite to earn the No. 3 tight end role. If Allen can stay healthy, he's clearly your No. 1 guy, given his versatility. Then Jack Doyle will play the No. 2 role, while providing a little bit of something in several spots.
Matthew H. (Grabill, IN)
Hi Kevin! This is my first question and I just want to say that you do a great job and make it a point to read the Colts mailbag every week. Anyways, I noticed that in week two of the preseason, we wore white jerseys at home. As a lifelong fan, felt weird seeing us in whites in Indy. I was wondering if we are going to do that more often or if it was just a one week thing. Thanks again
Bowen: No problem, Matthew. The Colts have an annual tradition of wearing white jerseys in their first home preseason game. They will be back in the blues this weekend.
Anthony O. (Springfield, MO)
Hey Kevin, thanks for the answer on Ferguson this week I appreciate your insight. I'm sure you've had lots of questions on him now, but what do you think of Cromartie joining the Colts? I really feel like he can make an impact not only until Davis comes back, but even after if needed. I know he has had some issues but his reputation at corner speaks for itself I think. Also, a random question, but if say a fan wanted to be able to get an autograph by any certain player but doesn't live in Indianapolis or able to make any of the fan gatherings, is there a way they could do that? Thanks for all your hard work Kevin look forward to every mail bag.
Bowen: We got into Cromartie above so I'll stick with your second question. Head here for details on your inquiry.
James H. (London)
Hi Mr Bowen, long time no speak!
This may seem like a silly question given its still only pre-season and we've got a host of running backs in the depth chart, however, what's the likelihood off Stanford RB Christian McCaffery being in the later rounds of the draft for the Colts? Surely a link up with a former Cardinal in Andrew Luck would prove a good move, plus it gives the colts plus it gives the colts another option when comes to receiving RB's. What are your thoughts?
Bowen: We go across the pond for our weekly draft question. Frankly, if Christian McCaffrey falls to the latter rounds, we got some problems. If that explosion and change of direction continues this season, McCaffrey isn't going to be around on Saturday of the NFL Draft. I'd expect McCaffrey to go pretty early next April. The Colts are in the market for a young running back so maybe there is a match for another Stanford skill player in Indianapolis.