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Colts Mailbag

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Colts Mailbag Weekend Edition: Will Jabaal Sherad and John Simon Start Together?

Intro: In Saturday’s mailbag, readers inquire about a timetable for Andrew Luck, how rookie Quincy Wilson is coming along and the upcoming contract situation for Jack Mewhort.


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).

Brian R. (Norwich, NY)

Thanks so much for keeping us all interested in a long off season! I think the Colts have a done a great job addressing key needs in the off season. One area I have not heard mentioned but concerns me is Jeff Locke. Pat flipped the field for us so much, and touch backs were a given. I am concerned that won't be the case given Locke's history. Can you let us know your thoughts and if you have got any looks at his performance thus far? Thanks as always

Bowen: I'd be lying to you if I said I've analyzed Jeff Locke a lot in the five open practices we've seen. I've noticed him knock kickoffs through the end zone, while also playing more of the field position game. Check out this interview of Locke for more insight into how he's transitioning with the Colts.

Anthony O. (Springfield, MO)

Hey Kevin,

As always love the mailbag and how much work you put in to answering everyone's questions. I have a couple questions for you this time around.

1.) The addition of Tyvis Powell. Do you view this as a signing for the Safety group or maybe CB, since as you said the Seahawks thought he had some potential CB talent in him? Noticed he's a former Buckeye too not sure if thats just coincidence or not lol

2.) This one is for the use of Mack. Do you see him possibly playing in a 2 back package with maybe Turbin or Gore leading a block for him to break loose and do what he does best with those "homerun" type plays? I think they could get a good tandem with Mack similar to what Atlanta has.

Thanks for the mailbag Kevin look forward to it every Wednesday and Saturday.

Bowen: 1. I think this answer will have to come during Training Camp. I didn't get a great look at Powell during minicamp to see where he was working at early on. I see benefits to him working at both spots. You could make cases for both. My gut says safety though. 2. Didn't we see some Robert Turbin lining up at fullback last season? Yes, I could see Mack at the top of an I-formation, with Turbin in front of him. I can't see Gore in a fullback role though. I'm really curious to see how the Colts use Marlon Mack in 2017.

Bettie L. (Terre Haute, IN)

By all of the changes made to our team by the draft and trades, do you believe this greatly increases our chance to make it pass the our conf plays offs as I do ?

Bowen: I do. I think all the changes we've seen in 2017 should have the Colts positioned as the AFC South favorite, in my eyes.

Matt B. (Windsor, United Kingdom)

Hi Kevin,
My question is around the Colts current QB situation. I've seen a few articles recently about the uncertainty of Lucks return date and the ability of the back-ups. So getting to the point, why wouldn't the colts go for someone like Colin Kaepernick? 

To me it seems like a good pick (So that probably means diddly squat). He's been on the market for the entire offseason so I can't imagine there would be a massive price tag and he's clearly got talent. Surly he's a better backup to Luck?

The Colts want competition throughout the roster so why not at QB?

Bowen: First, I fully expect Andrew Luck to be ready for Week One. If it was in serious jeopardy, I think Chris Ballard would have brought in another veteran QB to compete with Scott Tolzien. I think Tolzien showed last year that he can play winning football in short notice. If things were really serious with Luck, then I could see going out and making another move. But I don't believe that to be the case.

Seth S. (Portland, IN)

Hey Kevin,

So my question has to do with the other football in this world, or soccer as we like to call it. With the USMNT finishing up this last round of World Cup qualifying on Sunday and seeing that the Indy Eleven soccer team as applied to join the MLS a while back. I wanted to know how much you followed any soccer team, whether it be the USMNT or a club team? If you follow the USMNT what do you think about how well they played against Mexico Sunday? 

Thanks and Go Colts. Can't wait for the season to get going.

Bowen: What a question, Seth. Is this Andrew Luck's alias? I do love watching the US Men's National team and follow them very closely. I was really pleased to see them go into such a hostile environment and get a draw. Bruce Arena has certainly gotten this ship back on course. I'm really excited to see how the youngsters continue to mesh the rest of 2017, in hopefully qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. I must say, Christian Pulisic is looking like the real deal.

Max B. (Perry, IN)

Hey Kevin we apricate all you do for colts nation. you have probably been overloaded with over/under question and I am going to give you a rookie version 
Malik Hooker 5 interceptions
Tarell Basham 7 sacks
Quincy wilson starts 12 games
and Marlon mack has 100 rushing yards all season. Thanks for your time.

Bowen: Haha, thanks Max. 1. Push. 2. Under. 3. Over, but not as confident on this as I was earlier this offseason. 4. Over, that's an average of 6 yards per game.

Gregory F. (Dighton, KS)

Mo Alie Cox (TE) signed undrafted free agent contract before the draft in April. What does free agent means for this undrafted tight end. If he does not make the roster, I like to see him in Denver! Thanks

Bowen: If Mo Alie-Cox doesn't make the roster, then he is a free agent, free to sign with any team. The Colts could bring him onto their practice squad once he clears waivers.

Justin C. (Virginia)

Hope everything is going well, man. I have 2 questions regarding defensive players. 

  1. I feel like people forget about Akeem Ayers and his abilities, in coverage especially. Should we be so quick to say Sheard and Simon are the starters? Also, I haven't seen Ayers in any practice photos or heard talk of him, is he around the facility or chilling until mandatory camp this week?
  1. Have you, the media or any coaching staff had any hype for Wilson & Hairston or seen either of them make any good plays in practice? You can get a good idea of how a corner can cover without pads on, I know there's no jamming or anything yet, so there's no contact. I was mainly wondering how the rookie corners were coming along but I am also interested to know how far Chris Milton is coming along. I liked him last year and wanted the Colts to draft him in the late rounds when I played around with mocks. 


Bowen: 1. In my mind, Jabaal Sheard and John Simon are definitely the outside linebacker starters next season. Akeem Ayers is rehabbing right now. He's been present for the offseason program. 2. We have seen some plays made by Quincy Wilson and Nate Hairston. I would say Chris Milton has had a very strong offseason and has impressed new GM Chris Ballard. It's going to be really interesting to see who breaks out from the group of Rashaan Melvin, Tevin Mitchel and the three other corners mentioned above.

Grant L. (Jasper, IN)

Hey Kevin. I know this is really early for this but I was wondering if you could potentially see the Colts trading next years first rounder, a few mid rounds and/or a player (assuming that we have a good season and would need to trade up) to select Saquan Barkley from Penn State. From what I've seen he is an amazing player. With Gore close to retirement and a proven replacement not in the organization, I would really like to see this happen. Thanks as always.

Bowen: I do not see that happening. The Colts still need the bulk of their picks to further re-build the defensive side of the football. I do think running back is a need in next year's draft class (which looks to be another strong running back class), but I would not give up a ton of picks because of the other needs elsewhere.

Seth D. (Ames, IA)

What will Andrew Luck's time table look like for the rest of the offseason? With the the season starting soon, most Colt's fans are worried about his future status.

Bowen: The million-dollar question. The short answer: we don't know. Here’s the latest on Luck, with throwing next up on his rehab schedule. Unfortunately, we do not know when that will exactly take place.

Jack M. (Huntington, IN)

  1. Should we be worried about the injuries to Luck, Hilton, Langford, Geathers, Hooker, etc.?

2.Will David Parry still be on the roster week one?

  1. Will Thomas Hennesey be a great long snapper?

Bowen: Talk about some questions. 1. Clayton Geathers is the biggest worry to be, because it's his neck. All of the others I expect to be good to go for 2017. 2. Tough one. My hunch says no, but if he beats out Al Woods, then I think he makes it. 3. He never had an errant snap in more than 500 attempts at Duke. But the nerves will likely be a little higher at the NFL level, snapping to the greatest kicker of all-time.

Ethan H. (Fort Myers, FL)

Hello and thank you for taking the time in looking at this question, what do you predict will be the colts best defensive position or unit?

Bowen: Hmm, I'm going to go with safety, although there are some injury questions currently there. As long as Clayton Geathers and Malik Hooker are healthy for Week One, I do think this group could be the best on the defense in 2017.

Austin D. (Centerville, IA)

Hey Kevin, if I had to guess this would be my 53 man roster. Tell me what you think. And also, how do you see the punting/kicking competition playing out between Locke and Sanchez?

QB: Luck, Tolzein
RB: Gore, Turbin, Mack, Ferguson
WR: Hilton, Moncreif, Aiken, Dorsett, Rogers
TE: Doyle, Swoope, Williams
OL: Castonzo, Mewhort, Kelly, Good, Haeg,
Clark, Schwenke, Banner

DE: Langford, Anderson, Hunt, Ridgeway
DT: Hankins, Stewart, Parry, Woods
OLB: Sheard, Simon, Basham, Mingo, Ayers
ILB: Morrison, Spence, Bostic, Jackson, Walker
CB: Davis, Wilson, Melvin, Hairston, Mitchell
S: Hooker, Geathers, Green, Butler, Farley

K: Vinetari
P: Locke or Sanchez
LS: Hennessy 

PS: S. Morris, T. Smith, Allie-Cox, Bug Howard, D. Morris, L. Hightower, T. Powell, L. Rhodes, P. Walker, possibly McGill

Bowen: I've got Jeff Locke as the punter. I'd be surprised if Rigoberto Sanchez beat him out. Some thoughts: Throw in one more offensive lineman (possibly Jeremy Vujnovich). You probably have one too many defensive linemen. Don't forget about Chris Milton at cornerback. Besides that, you have a pretty good prediction for mid-June.

Victor M. (Sao Paulo, Brazil)

Hi Kevin (I never know what to say after that) 
First I have a big compliment to make. Every time I am watching highlights, I dislike the announcers (not sure if that's the word you use in the US), they're always boring, but there's one guy I like very much, Bob Lamey, he's great, could you tell him that? 
Now, I have another over/under (trend of the summer), but a little different one. I have 3 scenarios, and you say if the probability of each one happening is over or under 50% on your mind :

Colts carry 5 safeties on the 53 man roster, knowing that Mathias Fairly seems to be a name to watch in the preseason 

5 ILB are in the 53 man roster because there's nobody playing all the time and you have a bunch of different skills in there

Jack Mewhort signs an extension before the season. He's our best OL and maybe if the team is the Playoffs and the sack numbers are down, he makes the probowl and the paycheck gets A LOT bigger 

And last, a normal question, I was thinking, what if the offense wasn't playing up tempo last season to keep our really old and bad defense of the field as much as possible, to hide them? Maybe with a younger team on the other side of the ball, things can get faster on the offense

Bowen: Victor, I will relay that message to Bob. He is a legend. 1. Over. I could certainly see this happening. 2. Push. I think five is a good number at inside linebacker. 3. Under. I think this new personnel department wants one more year to evaluate Mewhort before offering him a long-term deal. With the tempo, I understand what you are saying. I could see some small situations where that is the case. However, I don't think that was a major reason for not using more up-tempo.

Austin D. (Centerville, IA)

Hey Kevin, I've been reading the mailbag for awhile now but this is my first time writing. I want to say that you do a GREAT job and if there was no mailbag then the off-season would probably seem like even longer. I have a few questions. 

  1. Do you see T.Y having a good chance to be the league's leading receiver again next year?
  1. How many snaps do you think Basham will get this season? 
  1. I know Malik Hooker has been compared to Ed Reed and Earl Thomas, but who do you see him as?
  1. Lastly, do you see Luck having at least 4500 yards this year?

Bowen: Appreciate the kind words, Austin. 1. That's a tall order. You don't often see guys repeat as receiving champions. I think a healthy Donte Moncrief will eat into the yards for Hilton so I'm going to put the odds at slim for Hilton repeating. 2. I could see him around 30 percent of the defensive snaps. That should put him in plenty of pass rushing situations. The staff likes what they've seen from Basham in shorts so far. 3. It's impossible for me to offer a comparison until I see him on an NFL field. I do see Ed Reed traits from a coverage standpoint. That's extremely high praise, but that ability is there on film. 4. If healthy, yes, I see Luck eclipsing that mark.

Andrew A. (Indianapolis)

Hi Mr Bowen,
First I'd like to thank you for all you do for us colts fans. Second of all, i've been thinking about the possibility of next years draft. I believe we have a stud in Anthony Walker at ILB and I believe Edwin Jackson or Antonio Morrison will finally get the grasp of playing that position in the NFL. With that being said, I believe we have a playoff roster and I think we will pick in the 23-32 range. Pending a trade up I don't see any stud pass rushers like Arden Key being available at that pick. So, I started thinking about what we could really use to round out our roster. I'm a firm believer the Dorset pick in 2015 could have came at pick 60, and I would have loved the pick. He was never a fist round receiver and that's not his fault. But with Ballard potentially getting rid of that Grigson mistake and Aiken getting up there in age after this year, I started watching tape on some college receivers. Tanner Gentry might be the best and most polished receiver I've ever seen coming out of college. He's a savvy route runner playing in a pro style offense. He also has 4.4 speed and can win jump balls with hands of Odell Beckham. I was wandering if you would watch some tape on him and give me your opinion on him being a potential first round option for us. Go Colts!

Bowen: A wide receiver in the first round next year? I'm okay with passing on that position. Taking a linebacker in Round One? Sign me up. Depending on what happens at wide receiver this year for the Colts, that positon could be a need in 2018. But I don't view it as a first-round need. Still have to take care of the defense.

Justin R. (Orlando, FL)

Hey Kevin I'm back in the writing portion after a while, I saw a question about grabbing some corners after the cuts and was wondering if teams have to cut down to 53 on one day or will there be some cuts before it's mandatory to be at 53?

Bowen: Justin, I'm not sure if you saw this or not: the NFL voted to eliminate the cut down from 90 to 75 players that typically followed the third preseason game. The final cut to 53 will come two days after the preseason finale, which falls on Aug. 31 this year. It will be interesting to see how teams handle one giant cut of 37 guys this year. I'd assume teams will stick with as close to a 90-man roster as possible through their fourth preseason game. But who knows what will exactly happen. Once that fourth preseason game ends, I'd expect the cuts to start coming quick over that ensuing 48-hour period.

Michelle M. (Fort Wayne, IN)

Hi Kevin.. I have an odd question for you LOL concerning our conditioning coach. Do we have a new one or do we have the same one that we've had for the last couple of years? I only ask because every day we are one step closer towards opening day. And every year it seems like we go into the regular season with the most injuries that occurred during training camp. Do things like this get noticed? I just hope this year is different. Thank you

Bowen: The Colts brought in a new strength coach in January 2016. Those things definitely get noticed. Chuck Pagano has mentioned that before and it's a big reason why they've changed their strength and nutritional program last year.

Josh W. (Marion, IN)

Thanks for answering my previous questions. I really enjoy reading your mailbag. I just seen that the Colts have placed Christine Michael on season ending IR. What kind of injury did he sustain? There was no mention of what had happened to him. Other than the newly signed Pope, do you think they will plan to bring anyone else in before camp? Or maybe wait until someone gets cut?

Bowen: Michael went down on Wednesday's minicamp practice. He was very slow to get up before gingerly walking off the field with the assistance from an athletic trainer. Unfortunately, the injury was obviously severe enough for the Colts to put him on injured reserve. I could see the Colts making a move or here over the summer break, but I don't believe it will be anything too significant.

Ian W. (Fort Wayne, IN)

Hey Kevin again thanks,
What's your top 2 new playmaker's on defence and offence this season compared to last season? 
(Obviously not Andrew or Vontae)

Bowen: On offense, T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief. On defense, let's go with Jabaal Sheard and Malik Hooker. Little harder to pick the defenders with so much unknown on that side of the ball.

Nic R. (Venice Beach, FL)

With only one cut this year at the end of preseason are there any on the bubble players on other teams that you think we should have our eye on for the next couple months 
Kinda wish we would have drafted Desmond king out of Iowa as a nickle cb that guy just makes big plays always in the right spot any chance he gets cut by the chargers ? 
Also living in LA I'll be at the rams game week 1. gotta any hookups on some tickets lol

Bowen: I fully expect the Colts to be scouring the waiver wire for a defensive back come late April. With reps undecided and the depth at corner especially in question, the Colts should look into that position group for any potential fits.

Alan L. (Baja, Mexico)

Hi Kevin, big fan of the mailbag, great work!

As a long time Colts fan (maybe the only one this side of the world) i've seen articles that report that the O-line is about to set the starting line up and that they are getting better and will be able to protect our QBs this season (hopefully).

My question is Will we try to protect our QBs better by running more efectivelly the ball, or are we getting better in pass protection?

Love your insight in this.

Bowen: Good question, Alan. I think it's honestly a little bit of both. Until the full pads come on later this summer, that will offer a better answer to this question. While the offensive line did get better in pass protection late last year, I thought the running lanes complemented things as well. I do think the Colts can be a better running unit in 2017 and that would greatly aid the offense and pass protection.

Steven B. (Columbus, OH)

Hi Kevin.
I read that Mr. Irsay said the offensive line is fixed and he knows this because he asked former offensive line coach Mudd. Is Mr. Mudd still affiliated with the Colts, maybe as a consultant? I always believed he was one of the best if not the best line coaches in the business.

Bowen: Howard Mudd is not a consultant with the Colts. He was last in the NFL back in 2011-12 with the Eagles. Yes, Mudd is certainly one of the best assistant coaches in league history.

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