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).
Jack M. (Huntington, IN)
Hi Kevin, I hope your having a wonderful day! All of us mailbag readers really appreciate all the work you do! So my first question is how many submitted questions do you get a week? And do you not use some user submitted questions? And my colts related one is if the colts will have a 20 year anniversary of the 2006 colts team in 2027 (I know that's a long time but I think they will.) And thank you again!
Bowen: Thanks, Jack. Same to you. 1. Probably around 20-30 (during the busier times of the year). A lot of repeats, so I try to combine the ones on similar topics. Unless the question makes no sense, I throw it into the mailbag. In regards to the 20-year anniversary, wouldn't it happen in 2026? They had the 10-year anniversary last season (2016) for that team. I would fully expect the Colts to have a 20-year anniversary for them.
Mark R. (West Lafayette, IN)
Ballard has preached growing your own, but he will have among the most cap space in the league to work with next offseason. I know we won't see the quantity of signings we saw this offseason, but I'm wondering if we might go after a couple Hankins-level guys to supplement the young roster (as well as allowing us to be more flexible in the draft). Personally I'd prefer to go after some big-ish names in favor of worrying too much about replaceable guys like Moncrief, for example.
Just spitballing here as I don't know who is realistically available, but someone like Xavier Rhodes would allow us to move on from an aging Davis with little to no dropoff. Devonta Freeman could replace Gore and then some. A Kam Chancellor Malik Hooker backfield would be absurd (of course only if the Geathers situation is sufficiently grim). Jimmy Garoppolo would allow us to finally move on from Luck.
1) What would be your approach?
2) What do you think Ballard's approach will be?
Bowen: Great question. First, I don't label Moncrief as a "replaceable" guy at all. At the age of 24, Moncrief brings too much to the table to see daylight on the open market. The Colts should be inclined to re-sign him. Also, I can't tell if you're serious or not about Jimmy Garoppolo. I believe that was a joke. 1. My approach would probably be similar to what you are hoping for. A couple of bigger name free agents would make sense to me. Again, the bulk of the building has to come through the draft. But after re-signing the necessary 2018 free agents, the Colts should have enough room to be contenders for some Johnathan Hankins-level FAs. 2. I actually think Chris Ballard could have a similar outlook to free agency. I can't see the same number of FAs brought in, like we saw in 2017. However, a couple of bigger ones would help the Colts further that defensive rebuild.
Greg C. (Wilmington, DE)
Kevin, Enjoy your insight and objectivity in covering the team. I have several questions regarding special teams:
1. With the depth added this year, do you see the special teams improving?
2. Traditionally, what is the makeup of ST (i.e. LBs, DBs,) and what about the makeup of the lines? Are there Oline players blocking or is it all smaller, faster guys?
3. Do you see gunner as a good fit for TJ Greeh?
Bowen: A bevy of special teams question in this entry to the mailbag. 1. It should. Of course, you also are replacing one of the best punters in football. But the Colts do have a lot depth at their defensive positions, meaning some of these guys will play big roles on special teams first. 2. Yes, linebackers and defensive backs are typically the positions most used on special teams. You will occasionally have some defensive linemen (and maybe one offensive lineman) as blockers on the first line in front of the kick returner. But linebackers and defensive backs make up the vast, vast majority of special teams bodies. 3. I definitely do. I do think we saw Green work at gunner a bit this spring. He's the type of athlete that special teams coaches would love to have on their units. I could see more ST work for Green in 2017.
Wyatt K. (Mooresville, IN)
With a healthy Moncrief and assuming teams will try to double coverage Hilton since he was just leader of receiving yards last year do think he will fall down In the Category?
Bowen: Probably. You give very good reasons as to why that will happen. The attention is definitely going to be extra in the direction of No. 13, especially until the Colts can prove they have other pass catching options that can do the necessary damage. A healthy Donte Moncrief certainly plays into this. Moncrief should definitely see his numbers rise (therefore slightly bringing down Hilton's) and should have some favorable matchups early in the year, too.
Daniel W. (Indianapolis)
In your opinion, do you see kickoffs being eliminated altogether (even though this may be years down the road)? I know there is a huge emphasis on player safety, and this is rightfully so. But I still think kickoffs are critical to the strategy of games.
Bowen: It sure seems like the league is trending to possibly eliminating kickoffs. I'm opposed to it. I get the safety concerns. And if the numbers indicate that play is too dangerous, then I understand getting rid of it. Selfishly, I love the ceremonial start of a game via a kickoff, just like the opening tip of a basketball game or a faceoff at a hockey game. I hope they keep the kickoff around. But player safety is going to reign very, very high when it comes to this decision.
Evan T. (New Brunswick, Canada)
Hey Kevin, hope your having a great summer!but I'm starting to get the fall football fever and have a few thoughts and questions, my thoughts are about the balance between running and throwing the ball, I know it's said that sticking to the run opens up the passing game so my question is if our O-line is solid and giving a healthy Andrew time to throw wouldn't it be better with all our talent at WR to pepper the field with passes until our opponents drop back in coverage and then run ball with gore or Mack doing the opposite of the norm?
Thanks as always for taking my question.
Bowen: That's one way to look at things. I have a feeling though when opposing defenses look at the Colts, they see the strength in the passing game. So they are going to game plan to have their safeties deeper, wanting to stop a more consistent air attack first, compared to committing extra bodies to the run. Until the Colts can show a healthy dose of running the football, I'd guess the defenses they see will continue to focus first on stopping Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton and company. Once you show the ability to run, that's when things can open up down the field.
Ryan B. (Cheshire, UK)
Hi Kevin, hope you're summer is going well!! Got a couple questions today!
Firstly, similar to college/high school football, is it often that players switch sides of the ball for different offenses or would it just be for trick plays (eg. Deion Sanders switching to WR on plays). If the Colts implemented something like this, who would make the switch from defense to offense?
Secondly, how long should it be until rookie Marlon Mack gets a few snaps? I've seen highlights and he looks like a demon at RB!
Finally, after Tony Dungy's surprising comments about how he ranked Brady in the top five QB's of th modern era (or lack thereof), how would you rank the top five QBs of the modern era?
Thanks for answering our questions and GO COLTS!!!
Bowen: 1. Could Malik Hooker get a look at wide receiver? He would probably be the best fit for me, given his tremendous athleticism. I also think Donte Moncrief could be an intriguing safety. I know Chester Rogers has been showing off his cornerback skills lately on social media. 2. If Marlon Mack shows that the blocking responsibilities aren't too immense for him, he's not going to be on the sideline for very long. It's not easy involving three running backs into a weekly game plan, but Mack gives you something that's been lacking for many years in Indianapolis---elite speed at the running back position. 3. My top 10 (without too much research into specific detail): 1. Brady, 2. Montana, 3. Manning, 4. Elway 5, Bradshaw.
Cody S. (Indianapolis)
The panthers just released Michael oher. So, do you think the colts should sign him or at least try him out? He wouldn't have to start, he could just bring depth and mentor the young lineman, but he does have injury issues and probably wants bigger money than the colts will pay.
Bowen: For the right price, I would entertain such a move. The right price must fit, like you said. Going into Training Camp, the Colts do not have much proven tackle depth. Oher isn't the same player he used to be, but he does have plenty of experience in starting at tackle. I don't think the Colts will do it though.
Ethan H. (Fort Myers, FL)
Are there any college football players that you think could be drafted by the colts next offseason?
Bowen: Your guess is as good as mine. I will not dive too deep into 2018 draft chatter until next spring. We have no idea how the draft is going to look and the specific needs for the Colts six months from now. Let's go with positions I will be keeping an eye on: linebacker (both outside and inside), cornerback, running back, defensive line.
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