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).
Here is this weekend's collection:
Eric Van Gucht (Bloomington, IN)
Do you think it's dangerous that a lot of people are calling this a "win or bust" year, especially with all the contract talks coming up?
Bowen: This has been a frequent question of past mailbags. I don't believe this to be too "dangerous" in regards to how that type of "pressure" will impact the Colts locker room. This team has remained pretty even keel under Chuck Pagano, having lost back-to-back games just one time. The "all in" description can be interpreted in a few ways, in my opinion. Are the Colts "all in" for a Super Bowl run for this season? Yes. Definitely. They've added pieces to a team that made the AFC Championship in 2014. At the same time, do the offseason moves made in 2015 hinder future success? No. The structuring of the free agent contracts, combined with the young core already in place allows the Colts to be a presence atop the AFC for years to come. Think about the Colts young players in place and the positions they occur at. You have the quarterback (Andrew Luck). You have the bookend left tackle (Anthony Castonzo)). You have an elite wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. You have the lock down cornerback (Vontae Davis). You have a potential young pass rusher (Jonathan Newsome. I think most people view "all in" as a one-year "boom or bust" type of season. So to answer that question, no the Colts are not "all in" just for 2015. Even with the moves made this year and the contracts coming, the Colts are going to be a formidable team in the AFC for the next decade or so.
Michael Forrest (Porter Ranch, CA)
Inspired by your QB questions article of 7/21 I have this question... I have read that Luck was the #1 QB last year in play-action. (13 TD's and 1 Int) But I'm guessing that most (all?) were from the shotgun/pistol. I'm wondering if you think we'll see more of Luck under center this year with an improved OL and running game? If so, I think you'll see Luck is fantastic in play-action taking the snap from center.
Bowen: Michael, you have delved deep into the box score/film for this one. I think you are spot on that we will see more play-action from the Colts in 2015. The presence of Frank Gore in the backfield is enough to at least make safeties/linebackers think twice about totally retreating pre-snap, definitely more so than they have in years past. You have to assume defenses are going to play more nickel and dime looks against the Colts this season. If that's the case, the Colts run game should be more of an emphasis with favorable looks coming. I really think the play-action will be a major weapon for the Colts this year. The combination of an improved (more consistent) run game, with speed to burn on the outside, and Andrew Luck---that's the ideal recipe for a successful play-action game in 2015.
Tommy G (Utah)
This isn't relevant to todays Colts team, but Joseph Addai used to be one of my favorite players and then it seemed like he just disappeared and he isn't that old either. What was the story behind him leaving the NFL?
Bowen: Tommy, great question. I came across this story on Addai and what life is like for him right now post NFL. Addai, who has had five knee surgeries, really opens up on why he decided to retire at a relatively young age. This is the most telling quote from Addai in the piece: "I never looked at football like a job, and didn't need the money. A friend of mine was telling me about another ex-NFL guy that cried because he couldn't even pick up his own son. I want to be able to play with my son. Eventually you just have to stop. At the end of the day, I had my money and didn't need to abuse my body to stay in for the long haul."
Rex Parker (Fort Wayne)
Hope the time at Stanford was worthwhile for new team members especially. Any league rules on that kind of activity?
Bowen: What Rex is referring to is Andrew Luck and some of the Colts skill players getting together last week at Stanford. Rex, that is what this time of year is all about. Players cannot gather get together for on the field work at the team's facility. With players scattered around the country working out, these types of get togethers are frequent. It's nearly a month and a half from the end of mini-camp (the last time the team was together) to the start of Training Camp, so that down time leads to these workouts, separate from the team's facility. I know Matt Hasselbeck worked out on the West Coast with Griff Whalen, too. Zach Kerr and Arthur Jones are also working out together right now.
Chris Mork (Sioux Falls, SD)
How is Clayton geathers coming along?. I'm very interested in how he will work his way into the rotation. Do you think he will make a run at the safety spot next to Mike adams?. I think he's an all around better player that lawry. He seems like a mix between Bethea and sanders. I hope he makes his way on the field this year. I'm excited for the season to start. GO COLTS!!!
Bowen: Chris, you aren't alone in the intrigue to see rookie Clayton Geathers. Chuck Pagano has gone out of his way to praise Geathers and the uniqueness that he brings to the back end of the Colts secondary. Geathers is the "new age" of safeties we are seeing in the NFL. His combination of size and speed gives the Colts some options in how they use him in his first season. During the team's offseason program, Geathers was getting minutes in sub packages with the first unit. I'd be surprised if he challenges for a starting role in Week One, but the coaching staff has made it clear that Geathers could certainly see some minutes on defense this season.
Blake McGill (Mount Washington, KY)
are the colts really thinking about letting ty Hilton go after this season because it doesn't seem like they are in a big hurry to get him a new deal I feel that loosing him would be a bigger lose then most people would think he has established himself as a real deep threat. Yes we have doesett but he hasn't proved himself yet so what are your thoughts
Bowen: I don't think there's one team in the NFL who has completely ruled out re-signing a pending free agent some eight months before free agency actually begins. The Colts have been on record saying T.Y. Hilton is a priority going forward. Past Colts precedent has virtually every "major" player finishing his contract. Extensions don't happen too often. I agree that losing Hilton would be a significant loss. You are correct in that he's proven himself on this level, for three seasons now. You know the demand is going to be high for Hilton next spring and what happens in 2015 is largely going to make up the type of market desiring his services.
Lucy B (Greenwood, IN)
Wirh Reggie not on our team have you heard any of the other pkayers talk about making a grand entrance into training camp like Reggie was known for? My favorite Reggie entrance was the year he drove up in a dump truck but, I really did look forward to it no matter how he came in. #IBLEEDBLUE
Bowen: I figured this question would be on people's minds with move-in day a week from Saturday. I have not heard anything on someone "taking over" for the camp entrances made famous by Reggie Wayne and Edgerrin James. Frankly, I'm not sure if any of the current "star" players would want to do such entrances. I was a big fan of Wayne coming in on Ed Carpenter's IndyCar last year. He definitely drew some curious looks from people on State Road 9 in Anderson, before turning into campus.
Tyler Strong (Franklin, TN)
How early should I arrive to training camp to get a good seat and have a chance at getting autographs? Also, Are you allowed to bring in jerseys and/or footballs to get signed by the players?
Bowen: Tyler, Colts City opens up at 12:30 on the days the Colts have afternoon practice. I would definitely get a look at everything Colts City has to offer before making my way to the practice field around 1:00. Players start trickling out to the fields around 1:30, before the horn blows just before 2:00 for practice to commence. Yes, jerseys and footballs are allowed to be brought in to be signed.
Brian McMillan (Ft. Myers, FL)
I hope all is going well. Do you know if the Colts have looked into signing Evan Mathis ? With Mewhort possibly moving to RT it seems like Mathis would be a great proven fit at RG. Thoughts ?
Bowen: Brian, it doesn't sound like the Colts are interested in bringing Mathis in. The Eagles connection along with the offensive line questions in Indianapolis definitely were reasons to think that could happen. But, it looks as if the Colts lone free agent addition this offseason along the line will be Todd Herremans (the other Eagles guard). You mention the potential Mewhort switch to right tackle. If that does happen, that would open up a spot at left guard. It looks like Herremans is the favorite to start at right guard. At left guard, Lance Louis and Hugh Thornton appear to be the front-runners. Maybe a healthy Donald Thomas could join that duo, too, after he's been riddled with injuries the last two seasons.