Colts Mailbag

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Colts Mailbag Weekend Edition: Who Will Be The Punt Returner On Monday?

Intro: In Saturday’s mailbag, readers inquire the progress of Sio Moore and Nate Irving, backup running back Tyler Varga and Frank Gore’s workload.


INDIANAPOLIS – Each week, readers of 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:Gary H (Melbourne, FL)

It appears that any time Andrew is hurried he throws the football high to his receivers. This has been going on for 3 plus years. What can he do or the receivers do to adjust to this and make more catches and avoid interceptions. The receivers look surprised that the balls are high and don't react to them. Also several times I have noticed that receivers don't complete their routes and also don't contest catches that end up being interceptions. Thanks, Gary

Bowen: It all comes down to timing in the synergy between quarterback and receiver. And of course it's the defense's job to try and disrupt that timing. I'm not sure if I agree with you that this has been a problem for three years though. Has Luck had some high throws that have led to incompletions/interceptions? Sure. But he also led the NFL last year in efficiency against the blitz (18 touchdowns compared to just three interceptions when teams blitzed Luck in 2014).

Benedict N (Texas)

Hi Kevin, what is the defensive coordinator and coach Pagano going to do to stop the run? if we can't stop the run it's impossible for us to win a championship. very disappointing loss to Buffalo, hopefully the players will be more prepared and excited to play the Jets. Go Colts.

Bowen: The Bills ran for 147 yards on 36 carries (4.1 yards per carry) in Week One. If you would have told Chuck Pagano before the game that LeSean McCoy would average just 2.4 yards per carry (17 carries for 41 yards), he would have signed up for that right then and there. The problem in the run game came when Karlos Williams bounced that 26-yard touchdown to the outside and then a few Tyrod Taylor scrambles. Outside of that, I thought the Colts played very well against the Bills run game, especially in "traditional" situations. That will have to be the case again on Monday night after the Jets had 36 carries in Week One, the second most of any team.

Michael M (Amarillo, TX)

So seein Phil Dorsett drop 2 punts in the opener was rough to say the least. Is he still gonna be the guy? Or are the Colts gonna use someone else for that role? Maybe Griff?

Thanks Kevin!

Bowen: Earlier this week, Chuck Pagano said the Colts will continue to work with Dorsett in the punt return game. It still wouldn't surprise me at all though if Griff Whalen was back there to start the game. During Friday's open media portion of practice, it was Whalen who was back there. At this point, there's certainly some uncertainty as to who the Colts return men will be on Monday night.

Maximillian B. (Denton, TX)

If TY Hilton is established as unable to play for the Monday Night game against the Jets, could the Colts call up Duron Carter from the practice squad now that there is room on the 53 man roster and how much more emphasis is gonna be put on Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett on the outside in the passing game?

Bowen: It doesn't look like the Colts will be bringing Duron Carter up from the practice squad this week. If Hilton can't go on Monday, the Colts still have four wide receivers on their active roster (Andre Johnson, Donte Moncrief, Phillip Dorsett and Griff Whalen). The Colts can definitely get by with four wide receivers active on game day, considering how they can utilize their tight ends. And if Hilton can't play, there will definitely be an emphasis to get the likes of Moncrief/Dorsett more involved.

Brandon James (Lake Charles)

The acquisition of sio Moore and nate Irving were good pick up's. Nate Irving is a great run stopper. Sio Moore is good pass rusher. Will the team give them a chance play them soon.

Bowen: Good question, Brandon. The Colts have gone from little inside linebacker depth to plenty with a healthy Irving, the trade for Moore and now Josh McNary on the active roster. Last week, we saw Moore play strictly special teams and Irving get little defensive run. There's been no mention of changing up the inside linebacker rotation but it wouldn't shock me if that happened. I think the biggest things regarding those potential moves is if Irving is fully healthy and if Moore has a grasp of the playbook, or at least a couple of defensive packages.

John K (Syracuse, NY)


Im very disappointed in the way we played last week. We gave up on the run to early, our routes didn't look crisp, and our defense got outplayed by Tyrod Tayler. Really Tyrod Tayler? Andrew looked flustered early, his passes were high and didn't seem to have the right touch. My question is why didn't we use the hard count to get the defense to jump a few times? Their defense were super hyped and I think this would have slowed them down a bit, Your thoughts?

Bowen: John, using a hard count in that environment (and really any road venue) is extremely difficult. Ralph Wilson Stadium was rocking last Sunday and communication on the offensive side of the ball was challenging due to all that crowd noise. Trying to employ a hard count in that atmosphere just wouldn't have worked. Now, at Lucas Oil Stadium that's a totally different story and we've seen Andrew Luck work his magic in drawing teams offsides with his cadence.

Brian M (Ft. Myers, FL)

I was pleasantly surprised with the play of both lines (a weak link b the negative fans) against the Bills. It seems like the so called skill positions were what let us down. Do you feel Gore will get more touches this week against the Jets

Bowen: To put it short, yes. The Colts obviously want to involve Gore more from a touch standpoint. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the eight carries Gore received in Buffalo ended up being a season-low for the starting running back. It is going to be tough sledding against the Jets when you consider the defensive personnel they have up the middle. Getting Gore incorporated into the passing game will be a key, too. Andrew Luck pointed out earlier this week that he missed Gore on a couple of potential chunk plays in the passing department.

Sean M (Madison, CT)

Why not use the Rookie Varga more out in the flats and in the pass game??? his abilities in open space and ability to produce positive yardage out of the backfield are his best attribute!!! 40yd dash speed is irrelevant when Varga has the ball, his strength and quickness are amazing. Coach Pagano needs to let him have the opportunity to get warmed up. Once he does.. LOOK OUT!

Bowen: Sean, judging by your hometown, I'm sure you watched Varga star at Yale. Going into this week, I'm interested to see how the Colts use the backup role behind Frank Gore. In Week One, it was actually Varga playing more snaps than fellow rookie Josh Robinson (23 to 21). I could definitely see a similar type of role for Varga going forward. Look, Gore is your starter and he's going to play the bulk of the snaps but Varga could very well be the backup with those reps coming to a guy who can certainly make plays out of the backfield.

Richard W (Tulsa)

Mr. Bowen, Does the team have any motivation posters in the locker room? I saw this one on for what this is worth. SYNERGY

"The strength of the Team is in each individual member. The strength of each member is in the team.

Go Colts 2015-16

Bowen: Richard, as I'm sure you could imagine there are a lot of "team" specific sayings around the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. That along with the values of trust, loyalty and respect are displayed for players to see whether they are in the weight room, meeting room or locker room.

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