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).
Moses M. (Utah)
Hi Kevin! My wife and I are huge fans of your Mailbag & the Colts! We travel to Indy just about every year for a game. This is my first time writing in.
My question is this. Watching Earl Okine in the last game against the Bengals made my mouth water! He was everywhere...sacking, tackling, etc. With such production and at a bewildering 6'6, 290 why on earth did we let him go??
Was Maggitt more consistent or contribute more on special teams to warrant making it over Okine?
Bowen: Maggitt making the roster came from a combination of things. He flashed in the preseason and that was the first time he had been on the field since last September. In his junior season at Tennessee, Maggitt had 11 sacks. There's clearly potential there that the Colts want to try and tap into that pass rushing ability. With Okine, the Colts have seen him for a couple of years and know what he can give. Look for Maggitt to play a little more in Week Two, with Trent Cole listed as doubtful.
Jacob H. (Fullerton, CA)
Hello again, Kevin
First of all let me say I think our Color Rush uniforms look awesome; the all blue is simple yet new and it will be fun too see the Colts play in them. Bummer it has to be next season, but oh well. My question/observation this time is do you see Andrew Luck passing for over 5,000 yards this season? The offense had a slow start, but once they got in rhythm they were on fire. Andrew was slingin' the ball up and down the field at ease for most of the second half; 385 yards, 4 TDs and no INTs. For his first time back since November, that was impressive. If the offense can just fix these slow starts and come out on fire for both halves of football, I think Luck could have a chance at over 5,000 yards.
I can hear the 'MVP' chants already.
Bowen: It was a great, great 2016 debut. Sure, the obvious "box score" stats were there. But how about Luck finding "drive extending" type plays and going 4-for-4 in the red zone? That was very impressive as Luck tries to fine-tune some things in Year Five. Now, 5,000 yards is a lot. A lot. That's a 307-yard average the rest of the season. Could Luck do it? Yes. Is it likely? No. Ideally, the Colts would not have to rely on the right arm of Luck for all of that production. I do see Luck hovering right around 4,500-4,700 passing yards this season.
Anthony O. (Springfield, MO)
So a rough loss in week one but I saw a lot of really good positives from the offense just seems we have more questions on defense with Robinson and others going down. Has there been any news on the severity of Robinsons concussion? Do they expect him to be in the game against Denver? Also is there any more news on the return of other defensive players coming back soon or this game? Thanks for all your hard work not worried about what this team can do this year just hoping those slow starts don't plague the team like recent years.
Bowen: Anthony, it would take me 1,000 words to describe the injury situation on defense. Head here for the most updated info on those. If the Colts are looking for good news on the defensive injury front, it looks like Henry Anderson and Vontae Davis are nearing their return. Anderson was a full participant at Friday's practice.
Jerry G. (Florence, AL)
Hey, Kevin. I was wanting to know when we plan to see V. Davis back on the field. Also, it seems to me we need to take the Kurt Warner Rams game plan and let the passing game open the running game at the start of games instead of trying to do the opposite. He is Andrew Luck! What do you think?
Bowen: This past week, we saw Vontae Davis head to the rehab field at practice. This was a positive step after Davis has been absent from practice since injuring his ankle midway through the preseason. Could Davis return for San Diego next Sunday? Or does he need one more week, thus pushing his return to Week Four in London, where the Colts play Jacksonville?
Wayne P. (Middletown, CT)
I read an article on Tuesday, after our Lions game, that Jack Mewhort tore his ACL in the game and is now out for the season. Can you verify this for us?
Bowen: Wayne, what you read is wrong. Jack Mewhort played every snap in the Lions game. In the preseason, it was initially reported that Mewhort might have suffered an ACL injury. However, the third-year lineman was back in the lineup two weeks later against the Lions.
Terry W. (Ocklawaha, FL)
I was wondering with all the secondary injuries why the Colts don't bring up Hightower. He seemed to play very well in preseason and is healthy and aggressive which is something the Colts need. I think it's better to have someone playing who's at 100% than someone who's playing at 75%, don't you?
Bowen I understand where this question is coming from, but the Colts clearly feel a guy like Clayton Geathers is ready for a nice workload on Sunday afternoon. It's a decision the Colts have to weigh, whether or not to bring up another defensive back from the practice squad. But Geathers has shown that when he's healthy, he brings a presence to the defense that is much welcomed.
Marty L. (Abingdon, VA)
I think the readers and writers are giving Pagano a pass on the final minute Sunday. If personnel was truly an issue, why not run down the play clock, then call time out, or make the Lions call it. Caldwell admitted that he was considering a time out, but the Colts did it for him. I actually thought the Lions had called time, and winced when the screen said time out Colts. My question is do the Colts have a coach or staff person assigned to prepare and execute end of half or end of game situations? Another publication ran a story on this issue, and it said there are specialists on time management.
Have you heard if the Colts considered "pooching" the last kickoff, instead of kicking it from the 50 almost into the first row? Lots of teams are having success with that approach from the 35. it should be even easier from the 50. A return takes time off the clock too. A touchback to the 25 is 25 "free" yards, in distance and time. THANKS!!
Bowen: Typically, teams employ a quality control coach or some assistant handle clock situations/potential challenges/various game specific situations. When it comes to the kickoff debate, Chuck Pagano explained why he elected to not pooch against Detroit earlier this week, after giving up a punt return for a touchdown at the end of the first half in last year's meeting with Denver: "We gave up a foolish play at the end of the half which should've never happened, that's on me (last year versus the Broncos). You guys know why we don't kick it to the guy (against Detroit)? We were asked that question before and that's exactly why. I watch it again and I keep re-living it in my mind. I'm trying to get it out of my mind."
Alex H. (Stockton, CA)
Could, would, should Colts somewhere between now and the upcoming offseason trade with Tennessee for DeMarco Murray? I love frank gore to death. I know he's going to get to that 1,000 yard mark, but after this season though, what will happen in the run game? Josh Ferguson isn't the answer. I think trading in Division always has the potential to be win win. In division so it would take away from the team we see twice every year. Also since we've had Luck he's never had a true back. Frank Gore is the closest. Then it was Ballard before he got hurt. But I believe Murray can be that same rushing leader he was in Dallas. I wanted him to come to indy before he signed with philly but I knew he was gonna be too pricey. now that drama has settled somewhat. he had a short stay in philly and now resides in Tennessee. if colts ate his contract from titans, it would be around 6m a year or so. I'm sure adjustments could be made. but would the colts attempt it? he's 28. that leaves 3 years tops to get everything out of Murray. the o-line is improving. that would leave the colts another 3 years in finding that running back through the draft. Ryan Kelly i thought was the best pick of the draft for any team. I see Derrick henry rising above to be very special in this week. so I see Murray's starting presence will hinder Henry's growth which I don't think they should considering he will break out at anytime. mariota is just a beast. bortles doesn't even need praise. and the new acquired osweiler for Houston. I believe in one offseason. our division went from weakest to strongest. time will tell. if they made this trade I believe the colts could finally focus their attention on pure defense in the upcoming drafts. maybe a guard here and there. would could should indy attempt such a feat? I'd love feedback and I know trade talk usually isn't ideal. but just a thought since afc south is on the rise. also sorry for such the long read. thanks, go colts!
Bowen: Boy, Alex I hate to say this after all your typing on this topic, but I see no chance of this happening. Trading within divisions almost never happen. Teams just don't want to see guys of their own twice a year. I actually think the Colts running back group is one of the deeper positions on the team. Robert Turbin showed some things in Week One. Also, Josh Ferguson did what the Colts think he can do---provide an ability to come out of the backfield. If you are looking for the long-term future at running back for the Colts, let's wait until the 2017 Draft to find that.
Paul M. (Pittston, PA)
Hey Kevin, can you please explain the tackling (lack of) last week. How can a player reach this level and not know how to make basic tackles. Is it the lack of hitting in practice?
Bowen: Well, it's not like these guys don't know how to tackle. They wouldn't be playing in the NFL if they couldn't tackle. The Colts obviously struggled in the tackling department in Week One and it was a big reason why they couldn't escape with a victory. Credit Detroit's playmakers for making plays in the open field. Earlier this week, new defensive coordinator Ted Monachino touched on the tackling issues: "Usually you get what you emphasize. We have tried and emphasized tackling since March. We've (now) got to figure out new ways with variety and with some change and some moving parts. We have to get better at it and that's our job as a staff and my job specifically to make sure that we all do that. Yeah, I'm not going to tackle anybody on game day but those guys that are out there are working their tails off. They didn't try to miss tackles, we happened to miss some tackles in the game and they exposed us. We are going to get better at it."
Matthew H. (Iowa)
The colts will likely be looking for a young running back in next years draft. I was wondering if a possible trade is in consideration for a current NFL running back? What would it cost the colts to trade for a high caliber running back? If feel like that would be a great advantage with an all-round running back because it might put a safety in the box and open things up for our speedy receivers.
Bowen: If we are talking about a trade for a running back this year, I can't see it. The Colts have a Frank Gore. He's a definite No. 1 back in this league. As I said above, the 2017 Draft would be a great time to explore bringing in another running back, one that could be the ball carrier of the future in Indianapolis. It's a very deep running back class in 2017 so that avenue has to be explored come next April.