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).
Terry H. (Indianapolis)
Long time reader, first time questioner. With the left side of OL intact from last year, Kelly the new man at center, Reitz returning to RT, and possibly Hugh Thorton returning to start at RG, can we really expect the OL to be considerably better even with Joe Philbin as our new OL coach?
Bowen: If that's how the lineup breaks down come Week One, the Colts will only have one new body among the starting unit. However, I think there's a trickle-down effect Ryan Kelly will have among the entire group. Shoring up the interior can solve so many problems and that's what the Colts hope Kelly can do for a long, long time. When the Colts had their breakdowns in 2015, the interior was more often the root of it. Yes, Kelly is just one body, but his impact will be felt across the line in 2016. Bringing in Joe Philbin shouldn't be overlooked either. When he was a position coach in Green Bay, the Packers protected the quarterback very, very well.
Gage M. (Danville, IL)
First I would like to say I enjoy you guys getting involved with the fans. I was wanting to know more a about josh furgenson.. I'm grateful we have a quality back in gore. He is an outstand back for how old he is. Age is just a number to him. So, what I am trying to ask is if there is any higelights I might of missed on this app. Also I want to know what dorsett did to get so toned and beefed up this season. I'm also glad to get both Pagano and Grigson back. They say it stats in the trenches but I don't know if they know that they're the trenches. I know a great year is coming and I can't wait to watch them play! Go Blue!!
Bowen: Gage, I'm not sure if you have seen it or not, but this was the story we had on Josh Ferguson from earlier this offseason. People who read this mailbag will know that I'm very eager to see Ferguson in full pad/game settings next month. Here are some collegiate highlights of the speedy scat back. Last week, we heard Jim Irsay even mention Ferguson's name in talking about the future of the Colts. That's high praise for an undrafted free agent. In terms of Dorsett, he just felt that after a season of professional football he needed to tone his upper body a bit. Dorsett looks broader and has noticed such gains in the weight room.
Olin L. (Las Vegas)
If Frank Gore were to retire next year, could the Colts draft LSU's Leonard Fournette to replace him? With a possibly solid O-line plus his skills, do you think its possible?
Bowen: I think many fans would love to see Leonard Fournette in a Colts' uniform. It makes sense on a variety of levels. The Colts have a need for a young running back and there's little to doubt about Fournette's ability to transition to the next level. The bigger question for me comes in where does Fournette rank among 2017 prospects? Without delving too deep into the '17 Draft some nine months away, I would think Fournette is going to be in high demand early in the first round. The Colts should not be drafting in that range. That's why I can't see a marriage between the Colts and Fournette.
Matt G. (Carmel, IN)
I read your answer touching a bit on captains in the Wednesday mailbag. Could you go in to more detail as to what exactly the captains are doing during a game? I always imagined they would be the ones vocalizing reads and calling audibles(obviously Luck does that), but outside of that are there any other core responsibilities?
Bowen: My understanding is that captains have a role in communicating with referees during games. Referees use captains as sort of the liaison to something they might be trying to communicate to an entire unit. Penalties are the most frequent discussion we see between officials and captains. During pre-game, captains obviously make the call on the coin toss, too.
Matthew R. (El Paso, TX)
This isn't really a Colts question as you had already answered all my concerns in previous questions. This question is for the NFL as a whole. The change for the PAT being moved to the 15 yard line has teams saying they will go for points more often, but what I would like to see is the 2 point conversion also being moved back as this would make the choice of going for 2 a little more interesting. Has there been any questions or thoughts on this around the league?
Bowen: I haven't heard much discussion of the two-point conversion being moved back. To be honest, we didn't see much of an uptick in two-point conversion attempts last season. Pittsburgh was the only team to average more than one two-point attempt every other game. I thought we would see more variety from teams, but the high percentage of kickers making 33-year-old field goals (the length of an extra point nowadays) ultimately outweighed the risk in going for two.
Luke R. (Rochester, NY)
I have a few questions for you today.
- What person from the secondary do you expect to break out within the next two seasons?
- What are some predictions for the Colts offense in 2016?
- In your eyes, what will the offensive lineman starters be by the beginning of the regular season? (Basically RG & RT)
Bowen: 1. Clayton Geathers has to be the popular pick here. His role is expanding and he showed flashes last year of quality starter ability. With Mike Adams in the final stages of his career, the Colts need for Geathers to become a definite starter back there. Colts' fans are going to enjoy watching Geathers (and his new No. 26) fly around. 2. Injuries aside, this offense should be a top-10 unit this season. Once the right guard spot is settled, the Colts will have their offense in place for new coordinator Rob Chudzinski. A healthy Andrew Luck has the necessary weapons to have this unit near the top of the NFL. 3. If the season started today, I would go with: LT-Anthony Castonzo, LG-Jack Mewhort, C-Ryan Kelly, RG-Hugh Thornton and RT-Joe Reitz. Now, that right guard battle is truly an open competition. I give a slimmed down Thornton a slight nod, but other guys will have a say in how that battle shakes out.
Gordon L. (Las Vegas)
Hi Kevin, As a Colts fan I was excited when we addressed the O-Line in Rd 1 & then continually mystified as we rounded out the draft with 4 lineman. Now it seems only 1 will start this season, and for the foreseeable future. What are your expectations for the other 3 lineman over the next 2 years? And who has the best shot at winning the RG/RT job? Thanks
Bowen: Right now, I would be surprised if more than one rookie started on the offensive line. However, I do believe guys like Le'Raven Clark and Joe Haeg (and possibly Austin Blythe) will occupy key depth spots, roles that are so critical on the offensive line over the course of a 16-game season. I fully expect Clark and Haeg to be challenging for starting spots in the next year or so. Besides Anthony Castonzo and Jack Mewhort, the Colts do not have any offensive line returners signed to long-term deals. Clark and Haeg are going to have their chances in Indy. It just might not be in 2016. For the right tackle spot, I think Joe Reitz is certainly the favorite to hold down that position again this season. Right guard is wide open. In my opinion, Hugh Thornton and Denzelle Good are the favorites, with Jonotthan Harrison and Haeg also in the mix.
Carter N. (Indiana)
With the Lions recently releasing Stephen Tulloch do you think the Colts should try to pick him up? We no longer have to worry about the amount of Luck's contract and we are missing a decent middle linebacker next to Dwqwell Jackson. Even if it's for a one out two year deal I think it would be a good signing.
Bowen: Just because the Colts don't have to worry about the actual signing of Luck's new contract, doesn't mean the salary cap implications suddenly disappear. The Colts still must pay close attention to any free agent signing they make and it's why Ryan Grigson cautioned against the Colts adding a veteran this time of year. Tulloch is 31 years old. The Colts like the youthful competition they will have at Training Camp between Nate Irving (27 years old) and Sio Moore (26 years old). It's been a goal for the Colts to get younger on defense and that will come from either Irving or Moore in the starting lineup.