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).Martin G. (Toplcany, Slovakia)
thank you for your answer. I think that right now the most important game is Week 6 against Texans.
With JJ Watt out with injury do you think that No.13 and No.12 will have BIG game (maybe like Julio Jones and Matt Ryan against Panthers)?
After we realesed Sio Moore does it mean that Antonio Morrison could be starter next to No.52?
Thank you for your great work and I wish you good day. Go COLTS!
Bowen: Even with J.J. Watt, that hasn't stopped T.Y. Hilton from having big, big games against the Texans. The Colts have shown that if the line gives Andrew Luck the time against Houston, big plays can be frequent for "The Ghost." As far as Sio Moore's replacement, look for Antonio Morrison and Josh McNary to be close to splitting reps at that spot. I think Morrison is a guy on run downs and then McNary can fill in when offenses try to spread the defense out. With regards to Moore being waived, his snap counts were decreasing and his play on the field obviously didn't meet the standards of the coaching staff. We did see a few missed tackles from Moore, leading to more reps for Morrison and McNary in recent weeks.
Zach M. (Rochester, NY)
First question is how was London hope you enjoyed your time.
My team question is what was the reasoning of cutting cromartie I know he played terrible vs the jags but I don't even know why he was liked up on Allen Robinson instead of Vontae Davis and Cro did win us the chargers game by blocking that extra point also why did we cut Sio Moore he's the leading tackler he's also missed a lot of tackles but we let Jerrell Freeman go for him and Irving and now a month in neither are on the roster and were down to Josh McNary and Antonio Morrison at MLB just makes no sense to me
Thanks for the insight Kevin
Bowen: I answer the Moore question below, so let's stick to London up here. Personally, I really enjoyed my time in London. The city was tremendous. The energy from the fans and the friendliness from the locals also enhanced the experience. Wembley Stadium was an unbelievable venue and it was cool to see more than 80,000 fans present (and nearly all of them in the seats well before kickoff). I still am not sold on a team being in London entirely though. I just don't see how feasible that would be for not only the London franchise itself but also teams having to travel there for 8 road games in a regular season. We could go on and on with this debate, so I won't bore you with that.
John S. (Bellevue, NE)
Will the colts use more no huddle offense ?
Bowen: The million-dollar question for this week, and one we had sent in A LOT in the Saturday mailbag. I do think we will see a quicker pace from the offense. Will it be a true "no-huddle?" I can't say that for sure. It's hard to say fourth-quarter, no-huddle success will directly correlate to the same results to start a game. But with a healthier offensive line, the team back playing at home and the need for a little spark, I expect a little more tempo from the offense on Sunday.
Ted H. (Alamogordo, NM)
Kevin, three items I would like you to comment on.
1) Why is everyone blaming the three rookies for poor offensive line play last week? Mewhort & Kelly did pretty well. Castonzo was a turnstile, and Gore missed blocks on linebackers twice, and Luck got hammered.
2) Why are we wasting time with Ferguson? He has a number of yards, but only because he has been targeted so often. What are his yards after the catch? Seems like it only takes one hand on him and he is on the ground. I would much rather see Todman in there.
3) Luck is getting arm rest each week. I think he got dinged up in the Detriot game on a scramble. It looked to me that he didn't get down soon enough and the defensive guy hooked his right arm. It isn't enough to keep him out of games, but I think it will effect him for most of the season.
Thanks for your twice weekly column, from a frustrated Colt's fan.
Bowen: 1. Yes, Anthony Castonzo needs to play better than he did last week against Jacksonville (see more in a question below). The blame is not all on the rookies at all, but a large percentage of the hits did come from the new starters on the right side of the line. You can see that on tape 2. The Colts love the skillset that Ferguson brings. I can't recall too many times that Ferguson has had a bunch of room post-catch to create that YAC. I do think Todman has some similar ability, but I still think this team is going to stick with Ferguson and try to create some opportunities for him in the open field. 3. Jim Irsay mentioned that Luck got "dinged" in the Denver game. We saw on the interception by Aqib Talib that in an effort to make the tackle, Luck was succumbed to some friendly fire from Joe Reitz, as both players were trying to dive at the Pro Bowl cornerback.
Michael F. (Porter Ranch, CA)
While looking for something on the website, I noticed something in the transactions section. On the day we let go of two players we listed Cromartie as "released", and Moore as "waived". I suspect there's a reason for this. Can you explain to your readers what is the distinction between released and waived? Many thanks, appreciate your work!
Bowen: Sio Moore was "waived" because he is not yet considered a veteran in the league. Once he plays four seasons, then Moore is a veteran and will not be "waived", therefore he's a free agent right away. Basically it gives some seniority to the veterans in the league, like 10-year vet Antonio Cromartie. Cro became a free agent right away, where as Moore had to first clear waivers (which he did before the Chiefs signed him). When a player is waived, the other 31 teams have a day to put a claim on that guy. Hope that makes sense.
Matt W. (Gaithersburg, MD)
Hey Mr. Bowen quick question. What do u think needs to change on offense and defense for the Colts to turn things around? From what I've seen this season that offensive line needs to do better blockin and I believe we need bigger and stronger offensive linemen in my opinion and on defense I believe we have a good secondary but nobody upfront is really getting to the QB except walden. Even Mathis has been shut down all season with no sacks. The secondary can't keep covering all game like that if nobody is putting real pressure on the QB and i dont understand how the colts play so sloppy at 1st but when it comes to a shoot out or catch up game they play hard and fast. Why dont they start out like that? What's ur take on this Mr.Bowen and thank u for you're time
Bowen: Let's start with the offense. The protection has to improve. Good news is on the horizon for the Colts with that line expecting to have their full cupboard of bodies available on Sunday. Now, the question is just who do the Colts think their best five is up front and can they build that continuity? Also, on offense, the drops have to cease and the Colts need for a couple of other skill guys to emerge in Donte Moncrief's absence. Defensively, I point to an improvement in tackling and the elimination of penalties. That side of the ball is very healthy. You mention the pass rushing and that should be thrown in there, too. The Colts need to have other guys collapse that pocket, besides just Erik Walden.
Jeff H. (Remington, IN)
When watching games on TV, I notice not only the Colts coaches, but all NFL coaches cover their mouth's with a play sheet when sending in a play or relaying instructions. Why do they do this? Do opposing teams employ people to read mouths? If they don't, then why do coaches purposefully cover their mouths?
Bowen: Haha, I'm not sure if teams "employ people to read mouths" but I guarantee you someone is always watching the TV copy of a game. It's similar to meetings at the pitcher's mound and why players use their gloves to cover their mouths. I guess you never know what people can read off your lips, hence the reason to have the call sheet up to your mouth.
Charles R. (Greensboro, NC)
Why is T.Y. McGill not playing over the last 2 weeks. I thought he was going to be big part of our defense this year as he seemed to make significant plays when on the field. Is he in Pagano's doghouse for some reason. Our run defense has not looked good at all and the jury is still out on Arthur Jones' ability to stay healthy.
Bowen: We've seen T.Y. McGill a healthy inactive the past two weeks. That's where the Colts are with their defensive line depth. Once Henry Anderson returned, someone had to go to the inactive list. I think the DL position is arguably the deepest group on the team. It's tough to have McGill inactive, but that's what happens when you have a deep defensive line bunch. Those guys don't play special teams, so the reserves are often inactive come game day. I'm very curious to see what the Colts do with Arthur Jones. Do you have enough room on the 53-man roster for all seven defensive linemen? If you were to have McGill active, then who do you put on the inactive list? Zach Kerr? Hassan Ridgeway? David Parry? I don't think any of those names makes sense. It's definitely a good problem to have.
Stan C. (Minneapolis, MN)
Hey, Kevin. Thanks as always for your hard work. With the release of Sio Moore (following the release of Nate Irving during roster cuts) and the upcoming game against the Chicago Bears, I thought it appropriate to discuss former Colts linebacker Jerrell Freeman.
As a recap, Freeman signed a 3-year, $12 million contract and is now the third leading tackler in the league. That isn't a terribly large price tag for a player the Colts knew to be a big-time player. Can you refresh our memories, because I legitimately don't remember: did he leave because Ryan Grigson didn't want to pay him that much money or because Freeman wanted to leave Indianapolis, even at that price point?
Bowen: Reports indicate that the offer from the Bears had some more built-in incentives for Jerrell Freeman. The Colts were facing a couple of questions with Freeman. The first was could they afford to give a multi-year deal to a player who was 30 years old? Remember, all offseason long we heard how the Colts had to get younger on defense. Throwing out a semi-big deal to a 30-year-old defender wouldn't really achieve that. Second, we know the Colts couldn't have really any spending spree this past offseason. They had to go out and find a cornerback opposite Vontae Davis. They paid Patrick Robinson and couldn't bring in any other starting caliber players through free agency. I think those were the biggest reasons why the Colts couldn't/didn't retain Freeman.
Sandra S. (Mechanicsville, PA)
Kevin, I'm not sure if this is something you have access to find, but I'd like to know when was the last time the Colts scored a touchdown on their first possession of the game. Each game I think this is going to be the one. Thanks for all the availability you provide.
Bowen: The last time the Colts scored an opening drive touchdown was…against the New England Patriots. On 10/18/15, Andrew Luck found Donte Moncrief on a fade pattern, fourth-and-goal touchdown to start a game. It's a drought of course the Colts would love to end being back in front of the home faithful.
Jacob H. (Fullerton, CA)
Kevin, 2 part question this time. First, whats with all the check downs? It seemed like every other pass was going to Gore or Ferguson, i thought i saw this crazy stat that Luck threw to his RB's like 16 times vs the Jags. Is that just how the play is called or is that just our receivers not getting open? Whichever it is, is the play calling being re-evaluated and are the receivers and tight ends getting coached better? Secondly, I could make an argument that Castonzo is inconsistent in his play. Some days hes stout and everything we need, but other days hes shaky with his blocks and letting defenders repeatedly get around him and get to Luck. We never know which Anthony will show up on Sunday and that type of play and inconsistency is not something the Colts can afford right now. Is there even a slight possibility the Colts would get rid of him and replace him with someone else? Maybe shop him around, try to get an extra pick or two?
Bowen: 1. Chuck Pagano has said on several occasions that Jacksonville's defensive game plan was not to get beat deep and keep everything in front of them. You are correct in that it was very difficult for the Colts to get anything going vertically. Outside of screen plays, the Colts didn't have a completion longer than seven yards until the final three minutes of the third quarter. The Colts, especially Jacoby Brissett, have to help the offense in hitting on those chunks to open things up closer to the line of scrimmage. 2. Anthony Castonzo is this team's left tackle. He's not going anyway. Rob Chudzinski called Castonzo a "cornerstone" earlier this week. But, the Colts do need more consistent play from their left tackle. Frankly, the Colts need several of their frontline guys to play at a higher level. Castonzo is among that bunch.
Stephen N. (Montana)
Why on third or fourth and 1 do we always line up in shotgun instead of under center with a back in the backfield so the defense doesn't know whether we're running or passing this has been a problem for the last two years
Bowen: I can think of at least a couple of occasions this season where the Colts have lined up in an old fashioned I-formation, using Robert Turbin at the fullback position to get convert. We saw Turbin used in the preseason and the team has delved into that a few times in the regular season, too. I've seen the Colts do a little bit of both---shotgun and under center---this season.