LONDON – 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).
Pedro K. (Belo Horizonte, Brazil)
Hey Kevin, how are you doing?
With Art Jones coming back next week, I've been wondering how are we going to fit him in the roster. Do you think we'll cut one of the defensive linemen or could we waive someone else and keep 7 DL? Also, if we do cut one of the linemen, who would you guess that'll be? Personally I think Zach Kerr has the most similar skillset compared to Jones, so he could be gone, but given T.Y. McGill status last week maybe he's on the bubble as well, what do you think? Thank you for the time, and GO COLTS!
Bowen: Pedro, this is a great, great question. It's something that I've found myself thinking about over the past week or so. I don't think there's a deeper position group on the roster right now than the defensive line bunch. The hard part is these guys don't really fill much usage on special teams, so the backup defensive linemen are often inactive come game day or are considered roster casualties when numbers crunch do arise. If the injuries cooperate, I do think the Colts can carry Jones on the roster (his suspension ends this weekend) and not have to cut ties with another defensive lineman. However, if things began to get complicated, like it was at the start of the regular season, then one of those guys could go. You are right in that McGill was inactive last week with Henry Anderson, Kendall Langford, Zach Kerr, David Parry and Hassan Ridgeway playing against the Chargers.
John L. (New Bedford, MA)
Why aren't the colts using Jordan Todman more on third down plays.He has better than average speed is a shifty runner and has much more experience than Josh Ferguson.I feel like he's not being used enough or at all in these type of situations.
Bowen: The Colts have carved out specific roles for their backup ball carriers: Robert Turbin, Jordan Todman and Josh Ferguson. Turbin is the main backup and can be a short yardage option. Todman is one of the team's most important special teamers. Ferguson's role is a two-minute back and a guy that can impact things out of the backfield. The undrafted rookie is contributing nicely with 10 catches in 11 targets this season for 84 yards.
Andrew B. (Charlotte)
First, I'd like to say that a few years ago I moved into Panther's territory but have still managed to catch every single Colts game since. I'm that guy in the office with all the Colts stuff pinned to his cube to let all my coworkers know the deal.
Anyway, my question is this: Frank Gore is STILL a beast at running back, and he proved it last week. Why aren't we utilizing him more than we are? He is a guy that really gets the offense going.
Thanks, and GO COLTS!
Bowen: Frank Gore has 48 rushing attempts in three games this season. That's the 10th most in the NFL and he's on pace for 256 attempts on the season, which is about at his normal workload for a year. Remember, this is a 33-year-old running back. The Colts don't want to run him into the ground and don't need to with guys like Robert Turbin and Josh Ferguson providing contributions at running back. I think a 16-18 carry game from Gore is right where he needs to be.
Israel R. (Laredo, TX)
How much Cap room will the Colts have next off-season?
Bowen: I haven't looked too far ahead to the 2017 offseason. So without crunching the numbers, I turn to Over the Cap, which has the Colts with $49,785,123 in cap space. On paper, that's a lot. But take a look at the starters hitting the open market in 2017: Erik Walden, Robert Mathis, Jack Doyle, Antonio Cromartie, Mike Adams and Sio Moore. You also have key backups in Darius Butler and Robert Turbin. It's going to be very interesting to see how the Colts handle the offseason with future long-term deals likely somewhat soon for Jack Mewhort and Donte Moncrief.
Jason I. (San Luis Obispo, CA)
I have noticed this the past season or two and saw it again on Sunday against the Chargers. Anytime the Colts are running the ball well, they seem to stop doing that as much as the game progresses. I noticed against the Chargers that Gore was having a lot of success with running the ball in the first half, but then the Colts seemed to do less running and more pass attempts. My question is why do they do that? If you're having success with running the ball, keep at it...keep using it. If you rely too much on passing, run higher risk of interception or something.
Gore was so close to getting a 100 yards on Sunday against the Chargers...we need more running in my opinion.
Bowen: Honestly, I thought Sunday was a good mix of establishing the run and letting the pass evolve from that. Gore was extremely productive in the first half. Then in the second, following some likely halftime adjustments from San Diego, Gore was held to just 12 rushing yards on eight carries. With the running game slowed, Luck had 188 passing yards in the final two quarters (he had 143 in the first half). This is how an ideal game flow operates with the run game setting up the pass (or vice versa).
Ron H. (Dover, DE)
I appreciate what you do with he mailbag and this isn't my first question for the mailbag. This week with the colts placing Trent Cole on IR do you think it is a chance that the colts can bring back Earl Okine at least in the form of a practice squad addition. I believe for this to be his first year rushing from an upright position he showed a lot of promise. Bigger and stronger than your average edge rusher with a history playing along a 3-4 front he could've played an elephant role in our system either lining up on the line or as a rusher when needed. His performance in the preseason made it a shocker when he was cut with Chuck praising how he set the edge consistently,hurried the qb, and actually got a sack. Thank you! P.S. Waiting for the Day when our pass rush because so dominant that I can start calling our defense The Blue Flood from how our defense would overwhelm o-lines and qbs like a flood does lol
Bowen: A few days have passed and the Colts haven't made a move in acquiring Earl Okine. You wonder if the Colts have seen enough from Okine. Sure, he was just a year into the move to outside linebacker, but the Colts did see him for an entire offseason/preseason. The Colts have had chances to bring other outside linebackers in so far, and Okine hasn't been in the mix. Right now, it looks like the Colts have moved on from Okine. By the way, I do like the ring that "Blue Flood" has for the name of a defense.
Michael F. (Porter Ranch, CA)
Kevin.... with the limited info I can find so far, it's not clear to me if the Colts game vs. J'Ville this week will be on TV where I live in Los Angeles.
I'm willing to wake up for a 6:30a kick-off, I just want to be sure the game will be on.
Does your information tell you if the game will be televised where I live?
Bowen: Sunday's game in London will air LIVE nationally back in the United States. You are on top of it, Michael. It will air at 6:30 a.m. your time. That means a 9:30 a.m. kick for those in Indiana and the Eastern Time Zone. The game will air on CBS with Greg Gumbel and Trent Green on the call.
Simon B. (Greenville, NC)
Thank you for taking my questions.1) How come the Colts have not pursued Dwight Freeney as a pass rushing 3rd down specialist ? 2)Why does Chudzinski run sweeps with Gore; everyone knows that he is a north-south up the middle runner ? 3)Colts receivers are speedy, so why not stack them all to one side and force Defenses to try and cover them all ? Thanks guys for your great work.
Bowen: 1. Well, he's with the Falcons currently. We get this question a few times every few weeks. The Colts have always said they have to, have to, get younger on defense. I think this is the biggest reason that Freeney wasn't an option here, with three other 30-something outside linebackers already on the roster. Plus, the Colts old defensive system wanted their edge guys to have more of a presence in the run game. 2. I can't even count on my hand more than a couple of sweeps for Frank Gore this season. He's, like you said, primarily a north-south runner, inside the tackles. Chud knows that, but he's also keeping a defense honest with the occasional perimeter run. 3. This is an interesting concept that we don't see the Colts use a lot. Grouping/stacking several receivers together can often lead to free releases and make things difficult for defenses to match up with off the line of scrimmage. If things start to bog down in the passing game, I wonder if we will see more "stacks" from the Colts pre-snap.
George B. (Bluffton, IN)
With the Colts consistently starting the season 0-2, should they reconsider the policy of resting the starters in the last pre-season game? Perhaps going two weeks without any game action is not a great idea.
Bowen: George, I understand what you're getting at, but you won't find one NFL team that plays more than a few starters in that preseason finale. That's how teams treat Week Four in the preseason. When you look at the Colts in 2016, they definitely needed a break for their starters with all the injuries on both sides of the ball. I would think maybe altering how the team handles the preseason or even Training Camp is a better path to go down. I can't see teams all of a sudden wanting to play their starters in the preseason finale.
Tim W. (South Carolina)
What's up with all the Joe Reitz hate from the blue faithful? Seems like every comment I read or question you get people are hating on him. I think he is a good RT. I can't imagine playing T against some of these guys, let alone WITH A BACK INJURY. I don't think people understand how painful that must be to have D lineman pushing your chest/shoulders back while your legs are planted and you have a back injury.
Just trying to throw some love Joe's way, what are your thoughts on him?
Bowen: When Joe Reitz is healthy, I can't envision an offensive line group without him at right tackle. Reitz has played very solid football for this team, when playing on the edge, opposite Anthony Castonzo. Denzelle Good and Joe Haeg have bright futures, but neither of those guys has started on a team making a run to the AFC Championship, like Reitz did back in 2014.
Michael D. (Emerson, NJ)
After watching the first few games I'm noticing the same problem over and over again on our offense. To me I'm seeing Andrew take way too many steps on his drop backs I think he should take a couple less steps and try to look for the quicker pass. Watching him get sacked it looks to me he walks right in the path of the pass rushers. With our size and speed at wr do t you think we should do more slants?
Bowen: The Colts have used different underneath type routes early in the season. Whether it's quick hitters, crosses, drags, or in routes, the Colts have employed those. Slants can be a bit more difficult for smaller receivers having to get that free release off the line of scrimmage for the timing to work. Rob Chudzinski wants to hit on the deep chunks, which they have this season, along with trying to get Andrew Luck into a rhythm with the shorter routes. I'm just not sure if the current personnel, particularly without Donte Moncrief, allows for a plethora of slants.
Matt R. (Indianapolis)
Long time reader. Thanks especially for your articles in the off season to help with football withdrawal! Anyway, I have a question about the in-game stadium sounds/clips used to help energize the fans. My family has held season tickets since the 2004 season, and personally, I don't think anything will ever compare to the noise generated in the RCA Dome. However, there was a sound clip last year used against the Patriots on almost every 3rd down that truly invigorated the fans. It was engines revving and the term "Horsepower" was displayed all over Lucas Oil. That was the closest (in my opinion) we've ever come to sounding like the RCA Dome. My question is, why don't we use that clip much anymore? (Although I did see it used once against San Diego.) Typically on third downs the stadium plays a siren noise while displaying a flashing blue light. The fans (at least those in section 419) couldn't be less motivated by that. In fact, we routinely complain about how little it does for us. I've been to many away games and many other teams have relevant clips to their stadiums/team. For instance, New England uses a fog horn and Tampa Bay shoots off cannons. What's more relevant than HORSEpower in Lucas Oil stadium for the COLTS? Is there a rule preventing overusing that particular sound clip? I truly believe raucous fans can assist a defense, and boy could our defense use some assistance at home this year! Thanks, and go Colts!
Bowen: Matt, I will pass this along to the powers that be. Personally, I'm a fan of the siren. Granted, I'm also in an enclosed press box north of the 600-level on game days. I don't think there's any rule for teams "overusing" specific sounds on third downs. On another note, defensive coordinator Ted Monachino was very, very complimentary of the crowd during last week's win over the Chargers.
Luke R. (Rochester, NY)
As we approach the end of the first quarter of the season, I have questions
- Looking ahead to the offseason, the Colts need a complete defensive makeover. Other than Vontae Davis, and possibly Henry Anderson, the Colts severely lack defensive talent. With the Colts offense only needing depth, what starters do you see potentially getting cut?
- Who do you prefer at RT for the future: Le'Raven Clark or Joe Haeg, and why?
- Could the Colts be seeing a 100-yard rusher this season, or no?
Bowen: 1. I wouldn't say the Colts need a complete defensive overhaul at all. They have some nice pieces, several young ones, in the defensive line group and back in the secondary. The linebacker core has to find some younger talent. 2. This is a good question. Ideally, it would be Clark because he's a tackle, likely just at tackle. It's Haeg that has shown the early position flex, with the ability to be a starting guard or tackle. Right now, the answer at right tackle is Haeg. But for the Colts to really max out the future of their offensive line, it needs to be Clark. 3. Yes, I see Frank Gore ending the 59-game drought of a 100-yard rusher. He was trending that way last week before the run game slowed in the second half and the Colts moved down the field more through the air against San Diego. This drought will end in 2016.
Jacob H. (Fullerton, CA)
Kevin, lately you've been saying drafting a cornerback is a need for the colts in this coming draft, i completely agree with you. How early would you take one in this draft? My list for major needs in the draft is OLB, ILB, CB, and RB. Would you choose a corner before a pass rusher? P.S. (I know you hate draft questions this early in the season, forgive me!)
Bowen: Haha, I wouldn't say I "hate" them. I just think there's so much that can change between now and the draft. But, in regards to your question, I would put pass rusher ahead of cornerback, no questions asked. I would think long and hard about addressing both of those positions relatively early in the draft. The age of your current outside linebackers (three guys all more than 30 years old, all in the final years of their contracts) is why I put that higher on my list.
Zach M. (Rochester, NY)
Hello Kevin I'll keep this short and sweet for you because I know you are very busy enjoying London are the Colts going to go into this game with just 52 on the roster than sign someone out of free agency or waivers after or promote mount Bates or Redmond from the P.S. ? Also just saw D Joun Smith joined the lions P.S. any chances of brining him or Tevin Mitchell back liked both of their potential
Thanks as always #fortheshoe
Bowen: At the time of this publication, the Colts have yet to fill their 53-man roster spot that is still open. It sounds like this decision will come down to the final call on the health of Denzelle Good/Joe Reitz. With those two guys in question, bringing up another offensive lineman off the practice squad makes the most sense. If not, then you can go with the outside linebacker thinking. I believe every practice squad player traveled to London so you have options. For Mitchel or Smith, those guys have to be 'X' amount of weeks removed from their injury settlement with the Colts before coming back. I don't see that being possible for quite some time.
Sandra S. (Mechanicsville, PA)
Kevin, I love reading your mailbags every Wednesday and Friday. I have several questions this time.
Are game day uniforms ever reused or are they new each week? I read where some items were sent ahead by boat. Can you give me some idea of what exactly was shipped? Is the flight over non-stop? I will be praying for safe travels for all who are going. Thanks for your gift to Colts fans.
Bowen: Sandra, jerseys are reused until the wear and tear forces it out of use. These jerseys are obviously cleaned up and specifically tailored for players. If you are talking about London, the Colts sent over housekeeping-type stuff, specific food and drink items for players and other essentials that will be needed for two days of field work (certain equipment and training room gear) before going to Wembley Stadium on Sunday. Basically, this lightened the load for what the team took over on Thursday. The flight over was non-stop, from Indianapolis to London. It lasted right around eight hours. The team will then return very late Sunday night/early Monday morning.