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Colts Mailbag Weekend Edition: Will Erik Walden Start Opposite Robert Mathis This Season?

Intro: In Saturday’s mailbag, readers inquire about playing time in the Hall of Fame game, Andrew Luck’s contract situation and if the Colts have the talent to make a run at the Super Bowl in 2016.


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).

Evan B. (Ohio)

Hi Kevin, I really appreciate what you do with the mailbag, I have 2 questions today,

  1. Do you think Trent Cole or Erik Walden will be more likely to start at OLB alongside Robert Mathis this season?
  1. Will the starters get any playing time in the HOF game this year?

Thank you and as always, Go Colts!

Bowen: Evan, not a problem! 1. Erik Walden has been a starter since coming to Indianapolis in 2013. I don't expect that to change. I think an area where we could see an uptick in Trent Cole's playing time comes on third down. Cole didn't play a bunch on passing downs last season (compared to the other pass rushers). I view Walden's value on running downs as too immense to move him into a reserve role. 2. This is a great question, and one we've got a couple of times this offseason. Chuck Pagano should answer that question early on in Training Camp. Yes, the Colts have five preseason games to work out any kinks, but they are also installing new systems on each side of the ball. Having said that, based off past Hall of Fame games, I'd be shocked if the starters played much past a series or two. Many starters on other teams have sat out that game in prior years.

Gregory B. (Wilmington, DE)

Hey Kevin, this is my 2nd time writing too u, but this is not a question about no player. Now that we have our center LT and LG, but still waiting too see who's RT and RG; do you think we can be the 2006 team when we went all the way and won. We just have to mix and match. We have a good pass and run game. What is your thoughts on this. Thanks and let's go COLTS


Bowen: First, I do think Joe Reitz is the clear favorite to be the starter at right tackle. Right guard remains up for grabs. There's a lot of ground to cover before the Colts start talking about a Super Bowl run. This team has playoff talent, but so many things fell into place back in 2006 for that run to occur. Even Tony Dungy admits that wasn't one of the most talented teams he coached in Indianapolis. I believe the Colts have a great chance to win the AFC South this season and once you get in the dance…anything can happen. Especially with a relatively wide open AFC right now, I don't see a clear cut favorite in the conference. If the Colts' offensive line can solidify things, and if the secondary is able to control the air traffic on defense, there's certainly an opportunity to make a very deep postseason run.

Martin G. (Topoclany, Slovakia)

Hi Kevin,

Colts fan from Europe here. Thanks for your answers. I would like to ask you if you can explain to me the whole process of play calling and adjusting from No.12 at the line of scrimmage. Can Andrew change the plays or can he choose by himself what he wants? Thanks for your answer and good luck.

Bowen: Martin, Rob Chudzinski has never laid out directly how he handles play calling between himself and Andrew Luck. Given Luck's experience, he's able to make checks at the line of scrimmage when obvious things arise from what the defense is showing. It's why game planning throughout the week is so important. Therefore, you try and eliminate any surprises that might occur for Luck at the line of scrimmage.

Heather H. (Muncie, IN)

Since the colts have 5 preseason games this year, will the starters play just a few plays against green bay, then ramp up playing time each game? Also will the 5th game be like the 4th in the paat when no starters play. Thanks

Bowen: Heather, that would be my guess. The starters will very slowly ease into their playing time. The third and fourth games will be when they see their most playing time. The preseason finale (the fifth preseason game this year) will be time for the final guys on the roster to try and make a lasting impression, with cuts coming from 75 to 53.

Dustin B. (Kings Mountain, NC)

Hello Kevin,

This is a a two part question. Both parts are about Luck and his highly lucrative contract.

So many people say he doesn't deserve this contract. But saying he doesn't deserve it is irrelevant now because whether he deserved it or not he has it. So the question people should be asking is will he live up to it.

That's my first question do you think he will live up to his 6 year $140 million dollar deal.

The second question is with a deal that big, in your opinion what does it take to live up to it. Would he have to have at least 2 or 3 SB appearances in that 6 years or what kind of stuff would he have to do to live up to it in your opinion.

Bowen: These are really good questions. Jim Irsay has said before that multiple championships for this "era" is a goal. It's hard though to equate a dollar amount contract wise to those specific championships for one player. However, you have to think these are the "prime" years for Luck. Winning one should certainly be a realistic goal for Luck and the Colts over the next six years. They have made an AFC Championship before and by a pure postseason wins standpoint, are well ahead of the last era. That group didn't win a playoff game until Peyton Manning's sixth season (a Super Bowl followed in his ninth year). Living up to a contract is so hard to put into rock solid terms. Luck is just going into his fifth year and I would be very surprised if a Lombardi (or two) didn't come his way in the next half dozen years.

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