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:Brandon Mathe (Racine, WI)
I really like what we did this offseason. But I'm also very excited for the draft. I really like Eddie Goldman out of Florida State. Obviously Landon Collins most likely won't be there and with the Dwight Lowery signing it makes that somewhat okay so many be we grad Damarious Randall? I seen that we really like him. And I do too. But what I really wrote here was that I just read the article about the O-Line and the Burning Questions. So about the Center battle between Holmes and Harrison but I feel like Ben Heenan should get a look there. I know he only has experience at Tackle and Guard but I think he should get be in the conversation at Center. Has good size for the position. There'd obviously be a learning curve but I like him a lot.
Bowen: Brandon, you covered a lot there but let's focus on the center inquiry. I do think Heenan will at least get a few reps at center this offseason. Guard is the most likely spot for Heenan and that will be his initial look. However, I could definitely see him getting some center run throughout the team's offseason program. Heenan is sort of the Wild Card of the group. People in Canada think the former No. 1 pick in the CFL could start at the NFL level. If that's the case, the Colts would have some quality interior depth to play with in filling out a 53-man roster.
Braeden Harney (Paris, Kentucky)
Good day to you Mr. Bowen! I have a question about jersey numbers. Vincent Brown, Deveron Carr, Nate Irving, and Dwight Lowery. When will these players be assigned numbers? If they have the Colts.com roster doesn't have it listed. I am just OCD about players being assigned numbers!
Bowen: It looks like three of the players you have asked about have had their numbers assigned—Vincent Brown (14), Nate Irving (55) and Dwight Lowery (33). I will remind people that the roster during the offseason could change in regards to numbers. Players that end up making the 53-man roster sometimes change their numbers based on what is then available. Here is a link to the Colts roster and the current numbers.
John Cosides (Bellrose, NY)
kevin, at rb I see you said gore/ herron/rookie does that mean in your opnion ballard is out even if healthy? Johnc
Bowen: John, good question. I'm definitely not counting out Ballard, if healthy. I meant it more from a reps standpoint. If everyone is healthy in the scenario you laid out above, Ballard should compete for reps behind Frank Gore. Most teams use two-to-three backs in a weekly game plan. Unfortunately, the "if healthy" part is a major question for Ballard. He was such a nice surprise as a rookie but the back-to-back, non-contact, season-ending injuries are the reasons for the questions. I think if Ballard can show that he's fully recovered from his 2014 injury, the Colts will have some quality competition for carries behind Gore.
Rick Flook (Kokomo, IN)
This is the first time I have read your mailbag. I didn't know you had one. You may have answered this already, but has Reggie Wayne found a new home yet, or has he decided to retire?
Bowen: Rick, glad you found the mailbag. It's posted here every Wednesday. Reggie Wayne remains a free agent but has plans to play again in 2015. Wayne was back in Indianapolis a few weeks back judging the college slam dunk contest at Hinkle Fieldhouse and then he attended a Pacers game. Wayne told local media that he is rehabbing and has had teams reach out to him about playing a 15th NFL season. Again, Wayne didn't typically fully participate in the Colts offseason program so it shouldn't be a surprise that he's weighing his options with teams about to head back for work.
Alex Cotterman (New Palestine, IN)
Why have the Colts stopped using a true fullback? I know they used Jack Doyle as a fullback/Tight-End/H-Back last year but he never really ran the ball. Will we see more use of the fullback in 2015 like the Raiders and Ravens do with their fullbacks?
Bowen: We get a fullback-type question it seems once or twice a month in the mailbags. I think there are a few specific factors that contribute to the Colts not using a true fullback. One is how much Pep Hamilton values versatility in his offense. He doesn't want to be hamstrung based off the personnel he puts on the field. If Jack Doyle or a Dwayne Allen is on the field, Hamilton wants the defense second guessing whether or not the Colts might run or pass it based off that personnel. Being unpredictable is of importance for Hamilton's scheme. The other thing to take into consideration is taking up a roster spot with a true fullback. When the Colts had Stanley Havili, he could fill a role catching the ball out of the backfield and was more than an adequate special teams player. I don't see the Colts using a true fullback in 2015.
Travis Hines (Milledgeville, IL)
Are the colts planning on a draft party at the grille? And if so what players will be there this year?
Bowen: The Colts are in the process of finalizing their draft party plans for this year. I'm not sure if there will be a specific event at the Colts Grille but an announcement on any event(s) should be coming soon. I know in years past the Colts did have an event down at Colts Grille with live radio on site.
Jobee Sneefit (San Antonio, Texas)
What is the likelihood that the Colts run more read option stuff this year? I think Andrew Luck is a good enough athlete to run the ball more and add another dimension to the running game.
Bowen: Designed runs with Andrew Luck are just something that Pep Hamilton has not really employed in his offense. There are obvious reasons why Hamilton would be hesitant to do this, health being atop the list, in bold letters. Now, if the circumstances and situation call for it, a read option would be a terrific play call. Opposing defenses are lulled to sleep in paying attention to any designed runs for Luck. The Colts just don't call these types of plays. Yet, we've seen a couple (probably only about a couple in the Hamilton era) that have been timely and effective. I expect that to be the case again in 2015.
Taggyrt Mosese (Keensburg, Colorado)
Will Griff Whalen still be returning punts and kicks next season?
Bowen: Right now, you would have to think the return specialist for the Colts next season will be either Whalen or Josh Cribbs, who is under contract again next season. Cribbs showed some return ability last year but of course he has to get over the mental hurdle from his muffed punt in the AFC Championship game. I still think the Colts could add a guy with return ability in the draft and they might already have that on the roster with world-class sprinter Jeff Demps. One advantage that Whalen has over Cribbs and Demps is he could very well make the team again as the No. 5 wide receiver. If Whalen is indeed the No. 5 WR, that would allow for the Colts to use another roster spot in place of strictly a returner (i.e. Cribbs).