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Colts Mailbag: Who Will Get Carries Behind Frank Gore In 2015?

Intro: This week, mailbag readers inquire about the depth at running back, the rehabs of Vick Ballard/Robert Mathis and the hype of a Patriots/Colts meeting in 2015.


INDIANAPOLIS – Each week, readers of can submit their questions to have a chance of them being answered in our Wednesday mailbag.

Here is this week's collection:Lamarr Wimbish (Richmond, VA)

How is vick ballard looking in his recovery, and will he be competing with boom and josh for carries that frank wont get

Bowen: Ballard still hasn't return to the field. The fourth-year running back has said he thinks he could participate in the Colts current offseason program, however, Training Camp looks to be more of a target for a player coming off back-to-back season-ending injuries. Once Ballard is healthy, I do expect him to be in the thick of the competition with Boom Herron and Josh Robinson for reps behind Frank Groe.

Ted Hopkins (Alamogordo, NM)

What are the logistics like for the draftee's & UDFA's in Indy for the rookie camp & OTA's. Where do the guys stay, where do they eat, and who pays? Enjoy reading your column each Wednesday. Thanks.

Bowen: A very good question, Ted. Rookies, especially the undrafted ones, typically are at an extended stay hotel through the offseason program. As far as eating, meals are provided for the rookies (and players) throughout the week while they are in the building for OTAs/mini-camp. I'm not sure if you saw on Friday but the rookies visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and will continue to take trips around the city to get acclimated to their new home.

Nathan Burbank (Gas City, IN)

I have been herring about everyone except Robert Mathis, how far along is the in his recovery, and what should we expect from him this season?

Bowen: The last update on Mathis came from him in late March. Mathis joined SIRIUS Radio and said he hopes to be on the field in some capacity for Training Camp. His timetable remains an unknown though and you just won't get a concrete answer on his recovery until we see him on the field (if he does indeed get on the field) in Anderson.

William Finney (San Diego)

Would it be possible or practical to move Bjoern Werner to an inside back? If not, what makes this a bad idea? We seem loaded at OLB and Bjoern's specialty seems to be stopping the run.

Bowen: William, I don't see this happening. Werner made the initial move from a down lineman to more of a stand-up role to start his NFL career. If you move him to inside linebacker, a place he's probably never taken a snap at, he would be behind three experienced linebackers at a foreign position. You are correct in that Werner has shown that stopping the run is something he can do off the edge. I will be interested to see how those outside linebacker reps develop this year. The Colts have plenty of quality depth there with Trent Cole, Robert Mathis, Jonathan Newsome, Erik Walden and Werner.

Trey Austin (Birmingham, AL)

Big time fan since this is the team who started my cousin Corneilus Bennett his pro career, my question is though with all the new additions and promising talent why is the defensive side of the ball not getting much press?

Bowen: Trey, I think it comes due to the type of offensive moves the Colts made this offseason. Frank Gore and Andre Johnson were icons with their previous franchises and certainly household names around the NFL. Then the Colts added another skill player in the first round of the NFL Draft. That's just the nature of the offseason, where the Colts moves on offense were just a bit more "headline-ish" than the ones on defense. Now, that's not to discredit anything done on the defensive side of the ball. I think you could make a strong argument that Kendall Langford and/or Trent Cole might be the most important of the moves the Colts made this offseason.

Jeff Stewart (Savannah, GA)

So I was hearing alot of good things about Carter and how some people even think that he is better then any of the receivers that we could have gotten out of this years draft so my question is now with the addition of Dorset how do you see carter fitting in because it seems like he's being overshadowed by Dorset. Do you really see him having much of am impact?

Bowen: No position group on the Colts roster is more talented than the wide receivers group. With the likes of T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson, Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett, reps are going to be scarce for whoever the Colts run out there at the fourth and five receiver spots. The thing to remember about Carter is he still is very raw in terms of actual game experience. The last two years in the CFL was really the first time he had played football since coming out of high school back in 2009. Could Carter be an option on the Colts practice squad? Carter, Vincent Brown and Griff Whalen should all be in the mix for the last couple of wide receiver spots on the 53-man roster.

Jeff Patten (Bristol, Connecticut)

Hi Kevin. 2 players I am a fan of:

  1. Dewey Mcdonald. He had good numbers on his pro day. He is big . Tackles well. Why do we not hear about him starting as a box safty?
  1. Griff Whalen. Low cost 5th wr. Great attitude. Plays special teams. Do you think he will stay on the team?

Bowen: Jeff, earlier this year, we had an article talking about McDonald and how he impressed the staff last season. He is definitely a player that is going to be evaluated this offseason in more a defensive setting, after playing almost strictly on special teams last year. As far as Whalen, that competition for the final few wide receiver spots is going to be very intense. Do the Colts keep six wideouts? Is Whalen still an option as a returner, or as Phillip Dorsett taken those roles? There's no question Whalen is a reliable, productive receiver, but he is part of the most talented position group of any on the Colts roster.

Melanie Jettinghoff (Delphos, Ohio)

When will the Colts have their training Camp In Anderson Indiana like they do every summer? Do you have dates and times yet?

Bowen: The Colts are expected to begin their Training Camp on August 1 in Anderson, 15 days before their preseason opener (August 16, at Philadelphia). In years past, the Colts have typically announced their official dates for Training Camp around mid-to-late-June. The August 1 starting point should give you a pretty good idea of when the Colts will be in Anderson.

Isak H. (Mexico City)

Is there any chance Brandon Vitabile is the colts' center in 2015? I remember he was a top-5 college C and he might not have played in USC or Florida as Holmes and Harrison, but that actually proves he is talented. I see much of the hype of UDFAs has been around the Ivy Leaguers due to the very confusing reasons why they went undrafted when they were definitely draf material, but I think Vitabile could become a success story.

Bowen: Asking any undrafted free agent to come in and not only make the team, but start, is an extremely tall order. Now, we saw center Jonotthan Harrison do it last season however, the preseason injury to Khaled Holmes allowed Harrison to slide into the starting lineup. Now as far as Vitabile, he's the lone true center the Colts have brought in this offseason. If Canadian Football League guard Ben Heenan stays at guard, Vitabile should get the third-team reps behind Holmes and Harrison. Vitabile is a Northwestern product and could be a practice squad option without many rookie interior linemen currently on the roster.

Dave H (Sebring, FL)

how come we are so slow at putting up info on all guys we sign or bring in to the team. no pictures, and no info! maybe in the future we can stay up on this area. so fans can put faces and numbers to identify players in the future

Bowen: Dave, I'm not sure what you referring to. When the Colts had their eight-man draft class earlier this month, had 18 articles, 9 photo galleries and 49 videos of their draft class. If you are referring to photo galleries, there will be ones up on this week with accommodating captions to the players in the photos.

Austin Morris (Palm Coast, FL)

when brady's suspension is over and the next game he plays is against the colts, do you feel he will have something to prove?

Bowen: To put it simply, yes. I think Brady's career has shown the type of competitor and player he is as a four-time Super Bowl winner. If that suspension does hold up, and Brady's return is indeed against Indianapolis, the game will be hyped up to a level rivaling any other NFL regular season game in history. When you are an elite level athlete, finding motivation is typically not a problem and that certainly won't be an issue for any player, on either sideline, come Sunday, October 18.

Michael Quigley (Indianapolis)

I don't remember what happened to those draft picks that other teams have had to forfeit in the past.. So what happens to those picks the Pats will lose? Will there only be 31 picks in 2016's first round of the draft? Any chance the Colts would get rewarded with those?

Bowen: Haha, as much as I'm sure Colts fans would love to pick up a couple of extra draft picks, that won't be happening. The two picks the Patriots have to give up due to deflate gate (2016 first-round pick and a 2017 fourth-round pick) will simply disappear. No team will benefit from that outside of just one less pick in those rounds.

Paul Madorno (Pittston, PA)

Hey Kevin, do you think the o-line will be improved enough this season to give Luck enough time to play with his new toys?

Bowen: The ultimate question regarding the Colts offense in 2015. While the sack numbers for Luck have diminished over the past few years, Pep Hamilton would be the first to tell you that the hits number is still too high. The line played its best last year during the postseason run. In three playoff games last season, Luck was sacked just once in 120 pass attempts. Continuity was consistent through January, something that didn't hold true for hardly any stretch of 2014. If the Colts can run out the same five for longer stretches in 2015, that would go a long way in limiting the hits on Luck. It starts with the health of Gosder Cherilius at right tackle and the pending competitions at center and right guard.

Blake McGill (Mt. Washington, KY)

what is the likely hood of josh Robinson sharing the carries with frank gore and the other backs in the regular season because as a football fan I love the running game and I love to watch the power backs and with his running style I think it would be great for out offense because not to say out line is bad at run blocking but we are more centered around the pass block and having a back like Robinson who can break some tackles would be ideal for a running back in our offense

Bowen: Blake, you aren't the only one who is intrigued by the potential of Robinson. Having said that, let's temper those expectations just a bit. I fully expect Frank Gore to get the bulk of the carries. Boom Herron showed last year that he's more than capable of an extended role in the backfield. After those two, I think Robinson is definitely in the mix. A couple of things to keep in mind about Robinson, and frankly any rookie running back. How the rookie pass blocks is going to be a major factor in the amount of playing time he gets in year one. Building off that, could Robinson play on passing downs and be effective out of the backfield? If Robinson is indeed the Colts "third" running back heading into 2015, Herron had 78 carries in that position last season.

Scott Schaffer (Warsaw, IN)

Kevin, during the 2015 draft, why didn't the Colts pick players from Ohio State? After all, they won the national championship.

Bowen: We saw five Buckeyes taken in the 2015 NFL Draft. That number should grow by at least a couple in 2016 with Ohio State returning plenty of talent from their National Championship team. As far as the Colts, they simply aren't going to select a specific player based strictly off his team's college results. Sure, that's a nice bullet point on the prospect's resume but not the end all. The Colts have some Ohio State flavor on their roster (Jack Mewhort and Boom Herron) and they will obviously be focused on scouting that school in 2016.

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