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.
Here is the collection of Wednesday questions:Jake H. (Fullerton, CA)
First question, why cant the Colts play like that every Sunday? I understand we had serious injuries to our O-line and receiving corps and that altered the game plan, making us have quick passes and committing to a power run game, but why do we only do that when we're injured? Why can't we have that game plan when we're healthy too? It's frustrating as fan to see us dominate over a powerful Vikings defense but then fall short against a Texans defense, who in my opinion, isn't much better than the Vikings defense.
Second question, what did you think of how Clark played today?
Bowen: Haha, that first question just has no answer. The up and down nature of the Colts in 2016 is why this team is on the verge of playoff elimination. You see teams around the NFL every season that don't have the consistency over the course of 16 games to merit a playoff berth. How come the team seen in Green Bay and Minnesota didn't show up at the same level in London, or at home two weeks ago against Houston? It's impossible to decipher why this team didn't play up to that same level in those losses. At the end of the day, the inconsistent play up front, plus the lack of defensive playmaking (throw in the drops and missed tackling from earlier this season) as to the major reasons why their playoff odds are less than five percent with two weeks to go. With Clark, I thought he held his own in his first starting action. Outside of a couple of hurries given up, Clark gave the Colts a real chance to move the football all afternoon long. Going up against that defensive front, the starting debut for Clark exceeded expectations. It will be interesting to see where Clark starts 2017 on the depth chart.
Victor M. (Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Hi Kevin, I have 2 questions this week
First, reading the mailbag every week I see that everyone is still desperate about the OL saying that it is terrible, everyone saying that Castonzo should move to RT and stuff, like we would find an Antony Muñoz in the next draft, but the reality is, this line is playing really well in the recent weeks, giving up just 9 sacks in the last 6 games, and, the Chiefs had 5 or 6 sacks, but only 2 until our last drive, so it's basically 11 sacks in 7 games, and in the strip sack against Houston, it was Dwayne Allen blocking, so the linemen hasn't conceded a sack in the last 2 games. How much do you think the fans and the media are underestimating the Colt's OL?
Living in Brazil, is hard for me to watch the games, I normally follow them online and watch the highlights, so how good are Edwin Jackson and Antonio Morrison playing the last couple of games? I know the statistics, I want to know from a playmaking perspective, how difficult were the tackles they made, and things like that
Bowen: The stats certainly indicate the Colts have played better up front in the recent weeks. You make strong points to how the play of that group is trending upwards. That's why I have never stated that offensive line should be a big need going into next year. The Colts have the parts that are starting to play much more consistently than they did earlier this season. With the linebackers, I think we are seeing Edwin Jackson and Antonio Morrison make more plays in space. They both were very sound against the Vikings. Now, the test this weekend with Oakland is one of the most balanced offenses in the NFL, and a group that is much more productive than what Jackson/Morrison saw against the Texans and the Vikings. If this duo can continue to show signs, they are going to make a strong case to be the team's starters heading into the off-season. Who would have ever thought that back in September?
Zac N. (Indianapolis)
Hi Kevin. It was pretty shocking to me the outcome of the game last Sunday. All three phases played excellent! I have three quick questions. 1. Why did the Colts go for it on 4th and 7 when they were easily in Adam's range for a field goal? I believe they did the same thing during the Jets game and I don't understand why they did so. 2. If you only had one word to describe the Colts season what would it be and why? 3. Are these the last two games we will see Robert Mathis in a Colts uniform? Thanks and Merry Christmas!!
Bowen: 1. No point in rubbing the score in at that point. Just run the ball, try and get a first down and don't get anyone hurt. 2. Inconsistent. 3. That's a great question, one we had last week, too. How do the Colts want to move forward at outside linebacker with Erik Walden, Robert Mathis and Trent Cole hitting free agency. Mathis has given every indication that he wants to play again next season. I think the answer to this will depend on what the Colts think they can get in free agency and the draft off the edge. Mathis said on his weekly radio show this week that he would take a pay cut for this team to bring back other unrestricted free agents (i.e. Walden).
Doug H. (West Milford, NJ)
Hi Kevin thanks again for all your responses. Do you think it would be a bad move to use a 4th or 5th round pick on a Ryan Switzer type receiver if hes still available? I just dont see Dorsett being anything but a deep threat guy which is important to have but we are missing that wes welker type guy. Please forgive this comment but look at the Pats UGHHHH. Our #1 and 2 wide receivers are great, having that possession type slot got i think would be huge for the offense. Thanks again.
Bowen: I don't think a receiver will be in the cards for the 2017 draft. If this team can go into next year with T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Jacoby Brissett and Chester Rogers, that's a very solid top four. Then if the Colts can find some undrafted guys, like they did last year with Rogers, they can compete with Quan Bray and whoever else the Colts have coming back in 2017. I just don't view receiver as a need large enough to spend use draft pick.
Willie B. (Indianapolis)
Can you explain to me my Darius Butler and Henry Anderson were given penalties for their respective hits? I thought they were good and legal.
Bowen: The Darius Butler penalty is really a head scratcher for me. I honestly have no explanation for how that was flagged. To be fair, watching it live, it's a very hard call to make. Slow it down, and it's definitely not a penalty. Henry Anderson's is a little more difficult. You hit a quarterback low like Anderson did and you risk the official hovering right over the quarterback to throw that flag.
Clayton C. (Columbia City, IN)
Great win on Sunday. However, I noticed that they put Jack Mewhort on IR, but they never really said what the scans found. It looked like a pretty nasty knee/ankle injury. I just didn't know of he tore an ACL or just sprained it.
Bowen: No ACL tear for Jack Mewhort. It's a "chondral defect" for the third-year starting left guard. That's what Kendall Langford dealt with back in August. Unlike Langford, the good news with Mewhort is that he doesn't have a game to speed up his recovery for in the immediate future. Mewhort can rest all offseason long and hopefully participate at some point of the off-season program.
Alex H. (Indianapolis)
Hey Kevin. I love the mailbag, I read both every week. I have a three part question.
1.How many draft pcks do we have this year?
2.What rounds do we have picks in?
3.Do we have any comepenstory picks? Thanks for your help. GO Colts GO.
Bowen: 1. The Colts have six picks this year, with a good chance for at least one compensatory pick. 2. The 7th round (a trade for Billy Winn from last year) is the only pick the Colts don't have in 2017. 3. Compensatory picks have not yet been decided. I'd expect the Colts to be in line for at least one considering what they lost last offseason (Coby Fleener and Jerrell Freeman) and the little action they had during their own in free agency. Those compensatory picks, which can be traded this year, should be announced around late February/early March.
Justin R. (Haymarket, VA)
So this is coming during the colts game, currently 24-0, and Turbin scored his second TD, even if we do draft another rb do we resign Turbin because of how productive hes been getting into the end zone this season?
Bowen: This is a really good question. The Colts have several unrestricted free agents making strong cases to be re-signed in 2017 (i.e. Mike Adams, Jack Doyle, Darius Butler, Erik Walden, Robert Turbin). I see a lot of reasons to bring back Turbin. With Frank Gore under contract for 2017, why not continue with the 1-2 punch of Gore and Turbin for another season, while drafting a running back somewhat high to eventually take over? Turbin has been so darn productive this season in a variety of areas (inside the 10-yard line, out of the backfield on third down). Unless some team gives Turbin a lucrative starting type offer, I believe it would be smart to bring him back.
Chris M. (Sioux Falls, SD)
As I'm watching the Colts/Vikings game I like the way the middle linebackers are playing. Antonio Morrison and Edwin Jackson will be 2 very good MLB for the Colts. Add them with Henry Anderson and David parry as a young defensive front with geathers and green holding the middle together, I think we have a good start to the defense. But here comes the draft question. I keep hearing this year is a defensive line heavy draft. In your opinion do the Colts draft a shut down corner in the first round and second round trade back to pick up let's say a late 3rd and stock pile 2 rush olb. The Colts can have a good defense if they get younger. It hurts to say but Mathis is not what he used to be. I'd never want to let him go to another team but that's slowing a rookie getting the first team reps if he is slated to be a starter. Any info or opinions please tell us colts fans what we should look forward to in the future
Bowen: Cornerback and the edge of the defensive front are my main areas of addressing going into 2017. You could still use another inside linebacker, even though Edwin Jackson and Antonio Morrison are trying to give you more reason to push that down the off-season need list. It sounds like this draft does have some nice edge rushers and even Ryan Grigson has mentioned the depth of this draft matches up with the needs for the Colts. Corner still isn't getting talked about a lot for the Colts, but it should be. Those corners are getting up there in age and you can NEVER have enough young corners waiting.
David P. (Indianapolis)
Kevin, first and foremost, thanks again for not only answering our questions but taking the time to hear our frustrations.
As another frustrated fan with lofty expectations coming into this season I was wondering with all talk on defense about edge rushers and stopping the run is there any chance that the coaching staff will take into consideration of changing the system? In my opinion, a attacking 4-3 system would be better suited because it gives us 2 huge bodies in the middle of the line plus 2 edge rushers, a system that made Mathis and Freeney into the great sack artist they are,plus it could help us use multiple looks.
Also why don't our team run out of the spread formation more? Once again my opinion is that if we spread the defense out it would give us more flexibility to run or pass and prevent the defense from being able to stack the box especially with the speed we have at receiver. I believe that both Doyle and Allen are good enough receivers to be used in the slot like Manning had in Clark. During the Manning Era we used a lot of 4 wide packages to help keep the defense honest. What's your thoughts?
Bowen: 1. Under this regime, I don't see such a defensive overhaul scheme wise. Ted Monachino has stressed that his unit plays multiple fronts and not to get too deadset on the "3-4" look throughout an entire game. The current defensive line personnel isn't really built for a true 4-3 front either. 2. I think the Colts like using Frank Gore out of more natural running formations. He wasn't really brought up in a spread offense, so his strengths are better suited in other looks. It's clear Rob Chudzinski likes the versatility of tight ends and I've seen several formations that have those tight ends split out. Chud likes a personnel grouping that has Allen and Doyle, with the defense not knowing whether or not those TEs will be in-line, at fullback or split out wide. It's pretty amazing that Doyle is just three catches away from topping Coby Fleener's high in catches for a season with the Colts (54 receptions).
Thomas G. (Tucson, AZ)
Hey Mr Bowen how are you doing this weekend? I'm excited to see how the game turns out tomorrow. But if things don't go our way to Get to the playoffs. Should we bench Andrew luck and let him heal. No need to risk out franchise QB especially with a beat up offensive line. I still have faith in our team and I'm very sure we can pull these wins out and end up making a playoff run. But worse case if we don't and 2 games are left or so and out chances drop below 5% I don't think we should risk Andrews health. And it'll be good for some rookies to progress and see how the future will look with our young players. But like I said I still think we can win against Vikings, and raiders. When we go up against a good defensive team Andrew seems too pull it out. Any thoughts? Have a good weekend Kevin. Go colts!!
Bowen: This question was obviously sent in just before the Minnesota game. Unless Andrew Luck is seriously hurt and could further risk injury in a game, he's not sitting. Luck doesn't want to sit. And Jim Irsay isn't paying him $140 million to sit. Plus this team isn't mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, so he's certainly not going to "rest" with playoff chances still alive (no matter how small). Again, unless Luck would be risking further injuring himself, the Colts aren't going to sit their starting quarterback.
Simon B. (Greenville, SC)
Good day good people, and thank you for the great work that you do; 1)There appears to be a great deal of public attention directed toward Philip Dorsette and his troubles at WR; are the Colts addressing his issues with route running and receiving in sessions at closed practices ? 2) Have the Colts attempted to move him away from WR to Special Teams (punt returner)? My personal opinion is that Dorsette needs to vacate the WR slot to Chester Rogers (he couldn't be any worse than Dorsette).What are your thoughts regarding that ? 3)David Parry does well at Nose Tackle but he is frequently over matched by larger linemen.He also appears to lack the speed and quickness of an Aaron McDonald to compensate for that size differential; do you know if Grigson is planning an upgrade at that position ? Thanks a bunch !
Bowen: 1. I would assume the Colts are concentrating heavily on the development of Phillip Dorsett. The wide receiver position coach, Lee Hull, has specifically mentioned route running as something the Colts have wanted Dorsett to improve on. 2. Chester Rogers has done a nice job as the team's punt returner (outside of his issues fielding balls inside the 10-yard line). On Sunday we actually saw Rogers have more targets and catches (5 targets and 3 catches) than Dorsett (1 target and 1 catch). Rogers is intriguing to me to see how the future goes for him and Dorsett, behind T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief. 3. With Ted Monachino coming over in the off-season, the Colts still did not make any changes to the nose tackle position. From a personnel standpoint, you thought the Colts might want a bigger body at the nose, but the Colts stuck with Parry for a second straight season. Finding another nose tackle, to rotate with Parry (who has started every game of his NFL career), could be on the horizon this off-season.
James F. (Denver)
When is the projected results of the training program our new training staff has implemented? I imagine I speak for more than just myself when I express irritation at injuries stacking higher and faster than our competition year over year. When I was stationed at Fort Carson we worked with a guy Mark Taysom that did some work with the Broncos. His resiliency program produced better results than any training staff I have witnessed that has worked with the Colts. If we cannot get it together, maybe we should reach out to someone new, or bring someone in to help. It is getting irritating looking at our laundry list entitled inactives. I am not sure he is even interested in going back to the line of work
Bowen: The Colts implemented a new strength and conditioning program this season. It's hard to put an exact date when results should be critiqued for a new strength staff. To be honest, the long-term injuries for the Colts haven't been too many for this team. Only three players went on injured reserve for the first three months of the season.
David B. (Virginia)
It seems painfully obvious Fournette is a running back of "super" star quality and the Colts offense could be an elite offense with a great running game. Why not grab him in the draft and every other position after that?
Bowen: First, I think Leonard Fournette is going to be a top-10 pick. It's looking like the Colts aren't going to be selecting that high. I just view the defensive priorities much higher than taking a running back in Round One. Frank Gore is under contract. Bring back Robert Turbin. Take a running back in the middle rounds. You can groom that rookie back alongside two productive veterans. That's my thinking.
Mike B. (Fort Wayne, IN)
Why can't the Colts find any linemen (offense & defense) who can stay off the injured list? They seem to have numerous guys who spend more time inactive than on the field every year. Are they all overweight & poorly conditioned? Maybe it's time to cut some of them loose.
Bowen: Before Week 15, Kendall Langford was the only offensive/defensive lineman to go on injured reserve this season. That's pretty good health for a team to just have one trench guy on the IR list in early December.
Michael G. (Charlotte)
I haven't wrote in for awhile. As with most fans I am tired of seeing the defensive inconsistency. Mainly the pass rush. Just want to know what you think about going after Melvin Ingram in FA from San Diego seeing we will have the cap space and he fits our 3-4 scheme. I think he is really good proven young player (27 I think). Then in the Draft possibly Reuben Foster at MLB in round 1. From There go RB or DB for a splashy player in rd 2 and 3. Just think this makes the most since and gets us younger and better.
Bowen: Michael, I could definitely get down with what you're cooking up here. You take care of several immediate needs with the necessary and major resources. One thing to keep in mind, even if the Colts do go get a starting caliber pass rusher in free agency, which I could see, that doesn't rule one out in the draft, too. I have no problem with spending a high pick on a young pass rusher. Your edge-rushing group could be looking drastically different next season, so pairing a free agent with a draftee is something that could easily happen.