INDIANAPOLIS – Each week, readers of Colts.com can submit their questions to have a chance of them being answered in our Wednesday mailbag.
Here is this week's collection:John Cosides (Bellrose, NY)
are we now the new browns?
Bowen: With the addition of Josh Cribbs, the Colts have several players with ties to the Cleveland Browns. Cribbs played with D'Qwell Jackson (2006-2012) and Mike Adams (2005-2011) in Cleveland. Obviously, you have Trent Richardson who came over from Cleveland via trade last September. As Cribbs pointed out, Colts coaches Rob Chudzinski (assistant to the head coach), Alfredo Roberts (tight ends coach) and Brant Boyer (assistant special teams coach) all spent time coaching the new Colts returner in Cleveland. The Colts travel to Cleveland on December 7 for a matchup between two teams in the thick of playoff race.
Al Ott (Crossville, TN)
I realize I'm putting you on the spot but maybe you could offer a suggestion. What ideas or suggestions would you have on how to improve the running game. Should we try trick plays, do the backs have to improve on hitting the hole, less dancing and running side to side, does the blocking need to improve, should we try more screen passes to the backs? We can't continue to play one dimensional offense, it will catch up and bite us. What seems to be missing?
Bowen: Al, you hit it right on the head that this offense cannot survive by playing just one dimensional, if they want to reach their ultimate goal. Chuck Pagano said after the game that the Colts have to get better in the trenches going forward. The running game has shown flashes this year (Philadelphia and Cincinnati) but obviously struggled on Sunday night. It will be interesting to watch how the Colts incorporate Boom Herron into the running game with Ahmad Bradshaw's 2014 season over.
Michael Powell (Dayton, OH)
Is there any chance of Zurlon Tipton being called up from the practice squad to prepare for the rest of the season?
Bowen: Right now, the Colts have two healthy running backs on their active roster in Trent Richardson and Boom Herron. At 231 pounds, Tipton got a ton of work during the preseason (31 carries for 93 yards and five catches for 54 yards). As an undrafted free agent, Tipton initially made the Colts 53-man roster following final cuts. He's been on the practice squad since Week Two of the regular season and as of Wednesday morning remains there with the Colts having two running backs on their active roster.
John Cosides (Bellrose, NY)
ok kevin I told you outcome.so now be honest and tell the fans when this team will be ready for the big games. thank you john c
Bowen: At 6-4, the four losses have come against teams with the best records of the 10 Colts opponents. Outside of the Pittsburgh game, the Colts have had their chances in the fourth quarter of their other three losses but couldn't make the winning plays down one possession. This is something we saw frequently last year in wins over San Francisco, Seattle, Denver and Kansas City. Fortunately, the NFL isn't college football's version of a playoff system where "quality" wins are weighed heavily. Reggie Wayne was asked this same question on his weekly radio show and offered a "Who cares?" response. An 11-5 record is better than a 10-6 mark no matter the schedule or division you play in. The Colts will have some more chances against playoff type teams the rest of the season. Obviously for this team to make a run in January, those winning plays absent in the four losses will have to be a staple, whether that means preserving leads (Philadelphia) or getting off to better starts (Denver).
Rob E (Ocala, FL)
Just got done watching the colts get man handled by the pats... What a terrible game for a colts fan!
Why did Laron Landry not come in the second quarter/second half? We were getting ran over all game , you would think the best run stopping safety would get put in the game?
Bowen: Landry played eight defensive plays on Sunday night. His first action defensively came on the Colts third series. Landry then filled in for an injured Mike Adams for a couple of plays midway through the second quarter. Earlier in the week, defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said Landry was involved in a couple of defensive packages as they bring him back into the fold. Look for Landry's role to expand in the coming weeks per Chuck Pagano on his weekly radio show earlier this week.
Jonathon Virgen (National City, CA)
Why do the Colts struggle so much against the run? Is it a problem that can be fixed with the group of people they have?
Bowen: This was the popular question in this week's mailbag. The Colts came into Sunday night ninth in the NFL in rushing yards per game allowed but gave up 244 against the Patriots. Chuck Pagano made it clear that tackling was a major issue on Sunday night with the Colts missing chances early in plays to stop Jonas Gray. While tackling is a technique issue, the Colts should be getting a significant personnel addition back in the lineup soon. Arthur Jones has played in just three games this season but he practiced late last week and Pagano is hopeful the big man will be ready this weekend. Last year in Baltimore, the Ravens rush defense was more than a yard better against the run when Jones was on the field. Following Sunday's loss, Pagano said on several occasions the need for better play in the trenches is a must moving forward.
Isak H. (Mexico City)
As you probably know, FCS's #1 is Coastal Carolina. I was reading that one of their main keys for success, RB DeAngelo Henderson is a die hard colts fan. Does this seem interesting to the front office? You know, players who were colts before being colts probably have high devotion.
Bowen: I'm sure it's not a bad thing when the Colts scouting department begins to evaluate prospects knowing that fandom is there. However, allegiances are put aside for really any potential NFL prospect. Players grow up all over the country cheering for certain teams and that has to be all but gone once you are drafted/signed. I know Robert Mathis grew up as a Falcons fan but once the Colts chose him in the fifth round of the 2003 NFL Draft, it was all Horseshoes for the Peach State native.