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).Rob K. (Manahawkin, NJ)
I have been wondering how the defensive line will shape up for quite some time I have my dream defensive line in mind with Langford and Anderson at end and Jones as the nose. With the depth I believe we have it could go any way and alot hinges on health. The issue with depth is everyone can't make it. Who do you see making the final cut?
As always GO COLTS!
Bowen: If Jones and Anderson are healthy (and they start the season on the 53-man roster) this might be the deepest position group on the roster. David Parry and Kendall Langford have to be locks after starting every game last season. Hassan Ridgeway is also a more than likely candidate as a fourth-round pick. I thought Zach Kerr and T.Y. McGill showed enough last season. Right there, I have seven guys. That's a pretty good amount, IMO.
Matt G. (Carmel, IN)
I try to read as much and as often as I can on colts.com(especially the mailbag). I think all Colts fans are probably most excited about the offensive line this year. With there being obvious improvement there, and Luck feeling healthy and ready to work on protecting himself more, we can assume there will be more production through the air this year. I can't wait to see T.Y. Hilton, Jacoby Brissett and Donte Moncrief get out there!
My first question is about Dorsett. I read there was a minor hamstring injury at practice. Is this anything to worry about as the OTA's continue and the season begins?
My second question is about our undrafted receivers. Are you seeing any impressive production from any of these guys? Any standouts that may be seen in the preseason?
Bowen: There is no update on Phillip Dorsett. Media availability is just one day a week this time of year so the next Dorsett update will come on Tuesday. With the current injuries at receiver, the undrafted guys are getting some nice reps. I do think there's potentially room for one of them on the 53-man roster. Again, we've only seen one practice so making concrete observations is a bit premature. I will say the speed of Chester Rogers was evident on Tuesday. He made some nice plays.
Josh S. (Colts Country)
Just like most Colts fans I am eager for the season to start. My question is do the Colts have enough depth at TE? Allen has been injury prone and Doyle is versatile but now is required to play a much larger role.
Bowen: How quickly the depth perception can change at a position. After years with plenty of talent at tight end, the Colts now only have two proven guys there. This is a great question though, because we don't know completely what the Colts have after Dwayne Allen and Jack Doyle. Mo Alie-Cox and undrafted tight end Darion Griswold had some nice catches during Tuesday's OTA session, but they have barely seen an NFL field. Another aspect to weigh with regards to tight end depth is how much Rob Chudzinski will use the position this year. Is he going to want to use as many multiple tight end sets as Pep Hamilton did? That's something we don't know and could be a reason why the Colts feel like they don't need as many veterans within the tight end group.
Wyatt M. (League City, TX)
It seems that with the addition of Ryan Kelly and with all the emphasis that the team has put on improving the O-line (hiring Philbin etc.), that the running game will probably be improved. With Frank Gore still upset about not getting 1000 yards last season, do you think he will get it this year? Also, do you think the coaching staff will give him enough carries to get 1000 yards or will Robert Turbin take away too many reps?
Bowen: A lot of good questions in this week's mailbag. Colts.com had this piece on Gore earlier in the week about his motivation in Year No. 12. Anytime you are making individual predictions for a player, you need to start with health. Frank Gore needs to stay healthly and he needs the quarterback and offensive line to be in tact, too. Now, why I think Gore will eclipse the 1,000-yard plateau is because of how teams are going to try and defend the Colts. With the speed at receiver (T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett), plus a healthy Andrew Luck, the deep ball is going to be back in play for the Colts. That sort of pressure is going to flash a caution light for safeties creeping into the front seven. With safeties playing deeper, I think that should open up the running game. I believe Robert Turbin will have a role behind Gore, but not enough to keep the former Miami running back from reaching 1,000 yards.
Luke R. (Rochester, NY)
2016 was a big year for all of the AFC South, not just Indy. One of the most important areas addressed in the offseason, the secondary, has the potential to be much improved. With that said, who do you see to have a better season in 2016: Vontae Davis, or newly acquired Patrick Robinson?
Bowen: This is a question that hasn't received too much attention this offseason. It's a rather big topic though. When the Colts defense has played well in past years, they've received stellar cornerback play. They now have a guy opposite Vontae Davis who is coming off a very strong season. Trying to predict which corner will have a "better" year is difficult. You just don't know how the Colts are going to handle their cornerbacks this year with Robinson having the ability to line up in the slot. Vice versa, opposing teams might have their top receiver isolated on one side of the formation, or they could be moving that guy all around. I do think Robinson should fortify the "No. 2" cornerback spot and improved play from that position is going to greatly enhance what this defense can do in the front seven.
Tony G. (Greenwood, IN)
Hello Kevin! First off I think I speak for all of colts nation when I say thanks for doing the mailbag. I look forward to it every week. I would like to get your opinion on a conversation I recently had with a friend and fellow colts fan. We were discussing Rob Mathis future with the colts. He seems to think that Robert will be cut after this year seeing as this is a contract year for him. I personally think this would be a really bad move for the colts. Not only is Robert one of the best of all time. But he also brings a wealth of knowledge and leadership to an increasingly young linebacker Corp. I not only say this because he is my favorite colt, but also because there is precedent to back this up. James Harrison for the Steelers is I believe 37ish and still is a situational pass rusher. Dwight Freeney also comes to mind and look at the year he had with Arizona. Now I know if the likes of Reggie Wayne and Peyton Manning can get cut Robert can as well. I realize he probably won't get a long term deal but I also read an interview where he stated he would sign a 1 year deal to stay with the team and help mentor the flock of new recruits coming in. Last year he co led the team in sacks with only ten starts. If he has the year I think he wil, I t will only go to show that he has plenty left in the tank. You thoughts? Again thanks for the mailbag Kevin and GO COLTS!!
Bowen: Tony, thanks for the kind words. Like I've said before in past mailbags, I really enjoy answering fan questions. Robert Mathis wants to play another year. He's said that on several occasions. The 35-year-old Mathis is entering the final year of his current contract. Ironically, Mathis, Trent Cole and Erik Walden are all in the final years of their respective contracts. If Mathis shows what he did late last year, and the financials match up, it makes plenty of sense for the Colts to bring him back. Yes, the Colts are looking to get younger off the edge but there's no questioning who the best individual edge rusher is on this team. It's still Mathis and he showed last season no signs of slowing down, coming off the Achilles' injury. This staff knows what Mathis means to the Colts and how players truly respect the work ethic and style of play No. 98 has now brought for more than a dozen seasons. Mathis will turn 36 years old next February. With Freeney, the dollars situation has to be taken into account. The Colts are tightly strapped right now money wise and I think that's the biggest factor when playing the, "Why don't we sign this guy?" game.
Jimmy A. (Melbourne, FL)
Hey Kevin, long time colts fan and big fan of your weekly mailbag. My question for you is what are the chances the colts make an offer for Darren sproles since he is unhappy with his current situation in Philly? I know the colts have limited salary cap room, but maybe we could work-out some sort of trade to get him in an indy uniform! He could come in and have a huge impact on this offense as we've been looking for that change of pace back to pair with gore. It might be a long shot but I think the colts would have a juggernaut offense with a guy like sproles on board. Thanks for your time!
Bowen: Colts fans are quite familiar with the name Darren Sproles. His name doesn't really bring up the happiest times for Colts fans though. The problem with a trade for Sproles is the cap hit that would come. You are correct in that the Colts do have limited cap room. A trade for Sproles would bring around a $4.5 million cap hit. Do the Colts already have a Sproles-type option on their roster? ICYMI, I wrote last week about undrafted running back Josh Ferguson, who could fill a roll like Sproles has done for other teams.
Nathan W. (Ventura, CA)
I haven't really heard anything recently about Amarlo Herrera. Is there any chance he makes the roster?
Bowen: Funny you mention the name Amarlo Herrera, last year's sixth-round pick out of Georgia. At the open media OTA session this past week, Herrera almost had the play of the day. He beautifully read a passing route coming into his zone before breaking on the ball for what looked to be a pick with plenty of green turf ahead of him. However, the ball caromed off Herrera's hands and his defenders let him know about it when he came off the field. Now, for Herrera's chances of making the team he's in a crowded position group. You have D'Qwell Jackson, Nate Irving, Sio Moore, Antonio Morrison and Josh McNary all with compelling cases. Like guys in Herrera's position, some impact on special teams is a must to warrant a spot behind the veterans in front of him.
Joe H. (Indiana)
How many months does it take to get your questions answered when you are a Colts fan and you live in Indiana just curious
Bowen: Well, Joe this is a pretty quick turnaround. No discrimination in the Colts Mailbag. I try to get questions turned around quickly for fans.
Larry L. (Indianapolis)
We will be going to London for the game. I wanted to know if there will be any fan events scheduled. Thanks.
Bowen: Lately, NFL teams have been arriving to London on Friday morning of game week. I haven't seen anything set in stone for when the Colts will arrive and what events might come about between then and the game. From the sound of things, there will be several events late in the week for Colts fans to attend. Along with Colts.com, I would keep an eye on the NFL's UK websitefor information about the week leading up to Oct. 2. Anything I see/hear about I will obviously tweet out and post on Colts.com.
Jeff J. (Iowa)
Hey Kevin, I have a quick question about who you think has the best chance to make the roster as the 4th and 5th receiver? As an Iowa fan I would love to see Tevaun Smith make the 53 man roster, what do you think the chances are of him making the final cut?
Bowen: Right now, (and I reiterate that it is the month of May), Josh Boyce appears to have an early leg up on the large group of guys competing to round out the group. Boyce was a former fourth-round pick of the Patriots who has battled injuries to play in just 10 career games. He's healthy now and received plenty of first-team reps earlier this week with Donte Moncrief sitting out. In terms of Smith, he's going to be involved in the mix for that fifth and final spot (if the Colts do indeed keep five receivers on the 53-man roster). There are five undrafted receivers on the roster right which is a really high number. However, that fifth spot typically comes down to special teams and we will have to wait until the preseason to see if guys can emerge in that phase of the game. This is where Quan Bray, last year's kick/punt returner, has already proven himself to be worthy of a roster spot.
Gary T. (Louisville, KY)
I absolutely loved the "Scouts Roundtable" piece on Ryan Kelly. Although we already know a lot about Kelly, the insights from the scouting group were fantastic and gave us a great glimpse of their process and what they see.
Are there any plans to do more of these? It would be great to hear their thoughts and observations on our other draft picks and even some of the Undrafted Free Agent rookies.
For those of us who do a lot of pre-draft and post-draft digging on prospects and draftees, we rely a lot on the various draft profiles that are out there - but those tend to be generic. With team needs and scheme fits being so important, it would be awesome to hear what OUR scouts think of each player from a strengths and development perspective and, ultimately, what they saw that said that these guys are a good fit for the 'Shoe.
Bowen: Gary, you've come to the right place. The production staff will be sending out the rest of the "Scouts Roundtable" videos in the coming days. T.J. Green's was posted on Thursday and the rest should follow shortly. I certainly learned a lot from listening to the roundtable.
Ryan W. (Danville, IL)
Kevin, thanks for making the offseason more enjoyable with these mailbag articles! My question is one of quarterback depth. Do you think the Colts plan on carrying 3 on the 53 man roster this season given last year's debacle? I know Tolzein is a perfectly capable backup having watched him play a few years ago for Green Bay. Does Stephen Morris have a shot of making the roster? Is he having good workouts in OTAs so far? Also, I know Whitehurst was put on the DL at the end of last year, when did they actually cut or waive him? I didn't see anything about it.
Bowen: When having a healthy quarterback position, the Colts have rarely, rarely, kept three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. Now, they've also never really encountered the current quarterback situation like they have now. They have Luck. They have a proven backup in Tolzien. But then there's a third quarterback in the equation in Stephen Morris. With Tolzien (28 years old) still relatively young, I'm not sure if there's room for a young quarterback on the active roster. If the injuries start to mount and there's not enough room for a third quarterback, Morris could be a practice squad option. Charlie Whitehurst was a free agent at the end of last season. He's currently not on any team's roster.
Dante R. (Philadelphia)
Thank you for reading and answering my question Kev. I've been a fan since I even knew how to hold a football. Anyway,
Lets get to business. The talk around right now is about the O-line but I am honestly not as worried about the O-line with a well-known Joe Philbin helping us out along with these great draft picks we drafted. My true worry is our pass rush and our secondary. How do you think we are going to develop with a new defensive coordinator? Also, how do you think we are going to do with new match ups against the teams in our division making huge moves in the draft and offseason? It is going to be a tough competition for the AFC South.
Thanks Again Kevin! As always GO COLTS!!
Bowen: When it comes to the pass rush, the Colts are going to lean on a healthy Robert Mathis, improved cornerback play and the Xs and Os of new coordinator Ted Monachino. I think the second one of those three is a bit underrated. If Patrick Robinson (see more above) can solidify the spot opposite Vontae Davis, that's going to aid how the Colts can get after the quarterback. We have heard the "AFC South match up" question in virtually every mailbag. Look, this Colts team was 8-8 starting five different quarterbacks last year. They still almost won the division. Has the division gotten better on paper? Of course. But it still has to translate over to the field, where the Colts have proved themselves atop this division for the past four seasons. I fully expect the division to be more competitive, from top to bottom, with the Colts still competing for the AFC South crown. Remember, this league is driven by quarterback play and the Colts have the only one in the division with any postseason experience, and also three playoffs wins.
Gregory B. (Wilmington, DE)
Hey Kevin. Thanks for reading our mail and giving us some good insight. I do have a couple of questions 4 u. Do you think that T.J Green is going 2 make the squad? Mike Adams is up after this year and we can really use him in the mix with Clayton Geathers. I think they will be a perfect match up together. Do u think that they will put him at the CB (sometimes WR) position sometimes 2 help out Vontae Davis and Patrick Robinson? My last question is, out of the 8 draft picks; do u think we will get all 8 and a couple of UDFA? Thanks for ur time and patience.
Gregory Jenkins Bey
Bowen: No need to worry about T.J. Green making the team. He will be on the 53-man roster come September. Green probably won't start as a rookie but maybe he will be involved in sub packages as an extra defensive back. You mentioned Adams and with him turning 35 years old, the Colts know Green could be the guy next to Clayton Geathers rather soon. I could certainly see all eight picks making the 53-man roster, although it might be difficult to keep all four offensive linemen on the roster. The Colts are very high on their undrafted guys so expect that trend to continue of at least one guy on the Week One roster.
Anthony O. (Springfield, MO)
Hey Kevin, as always thanks for your hard work in going through all the questions you get and answering everything that you can. My question, like a lot of recent mailbag questions, is about the offensive line. I was wondering if the Colts plan on having set groups, such as a rotational type of offensive line. What I mean by that is certain players on the line for run plays to create the holes while they have a different group lineup for pass plays or play actions, etc. That way there can be some good resting spots to keep the O-Line healthy and also rested throughout games. I also think if this approach was taken that it could be used to trick defenses too if they caught on. For example, you have a lineup set for a more run heavy type of play, but instead, with the versatility of the lineman we have, it could actually be set for a play action pass. What are your thoughts on this type of scenario playing out?
Bowen: Anthony, I understand what you're getting at but this isn't going to happen. You only dress seven offensive linemen on game day so constantly subbing guys in and out wouldn't make a lot of sense. You would also lose any attempt to establish tempo. I think how teams try to use some sort of strategy that you are alluding to is with a sixth offensive lineman. A tackle eligible indicates run and you see more and more teams throwing out of such jumbo package looks.
Tony C. (Charleston, SC)
Hey Kevin, My question is about Andrew Luck's contract. I know a lot of people think he is worth $25 million a year. But if Luck wants a competitive team around him for the next 10 years, shouldn't he take less than what the market says he's worth so the Colts can afford to put more pieces around him? If he took $22 million a year and it was structured properly, we would still have cap space this year to sign another free agent and our rookies. Plus it would only increase his/the Colts chances of winning for the life of his contract. Thanks
Bowen: Arguing about how much a player (or any human) should make isn't really fair. The Colts are going to present Luck with a contract they think he deserves. It's going to be substantial and of a market value that Luck has earned. At the same time, Luck knows how this business works. He knows how the structure of his second contract is going to impact the team going forward. I have no doubt his deal will have the structure that still allows the Colts to make necessary moves, while focusing on developing their young talent.
Matt W. (West Lafayette, IN)
Would you consider the Colts to be in a rebuilding year? Sure we have made the playoffs in recent years, but we haven't made it to the big game. Unless our defense is able to stop some of these elite offenses such as the Patriots, there is no way we can expect to win the Super Bowl. Would you say after the 8-8 campaign we are back in rebuidling mode or are we still contenders
Bowen: If 2012 wasn't a rebuilding campaign after losing a slew of pillar players and coming off 2-14, then this upcoming season isn't one either. Last year, the Colts were 8-8 without their starting quarterback for nine games. Improved defense and a healthy offense should be enough for the Colts to get back into the playoffs.
Ted H. (Alamogordo, NM)
This is Thursday, May 19, and I just read that Thornton & Good are rehabbing. No mention of this before. What are their problems? Thanks
Bowen: Chuck Pagano wouldn't get into specifics with either injury. The month of May is all about precautionary steps with injuries. Both guys were present and observing practice on Tuesday (unlike Henry Anderson and Arthur Jones with longer-term injuries). This is just the "maintenance" time of year. Remember, Thornton did end the year on injured reserve. I wouldn't worry about either injury being too significant.