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Colts Wednesday Mailbag: How Has The Defense Fared In 2015?

Intro: This Wednesday, mailbag readers inquire about development of the Colts offense, how the secondary has played in 2015 and why the Colts have worn blue jerseys in both of their road games this season.

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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:Jarrett D (Richmond, VA)

It normally goes Andrew Luck relies on the defense. Now its the other way around. How can the Colts get it to be where both the offense and defense play good and start playing like the past 3 seasons?

Bowen: We get into some defense-centric questions below so let's focus on the offense. For me, everything starts with protection in how the Colts offense operates. The running game has been more than productive with Frank Gore. The running back, in his 11th NFL season, is averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Really, a few holding penalties is the only thing keeping Gore from not having a 100-yard game yet in 2015. For Andrew Luck and the passing game, you have to hope the fourth quarter on Sunday is a sign for what this offense will normally look like in 2015. Luck was crisper in that fourth quarter with the protection giving him plenty of time to work. If the offensive line can carry that sort of effort into the coming weeks, I expect this offense to start reaching the potential talked about all offseason long.

Al O (Florida)

After being a Colts fan for 50 years I was able to travel from Florida and spend the entire day in Indianapolis and attend a Colts home game this past Monday. The atmosphere was great, the outcome not so great. My wife is not a big football fan but asked me this question after the game. "You have told me what a quality (good players and good coaches, well trained)team the Colts are, why did they have so many turnovers and so many penalties?" Kevin can you offer a response? Also do you forsee a remedy?

Bowen: Al, I'm sure Chuck Pagano is wondering the same thing on why the Colts have had issues with penalties in 2015. Just two years ago, the Colts led the NFL in fewest committed penalties. Around the NFL, there's been a definite uptick in penalties called this year. The accepted penalties through three weeks this season is the highest number ever in the history of the NFL. The Colts have contributed to that. Just from a sheer numbers standpoint, I see the penalty-count going down for the Colts. It's hampering how the offense has operated, particularly early in games. The Colts drill every day at practice with officials so they get multiple opinions on what is by the rule book and what is not.

Adam H (Ithaca, NY)

Hi Kevin,

I'm a huge fan of the mailbag and of the Colts. So my question is about the Colts defense. One thing that surprises me is that all the NFL insider people always say things like the colts defense is atrocious, and is so unreliable, and that Andrew Luck needs an actually good counterpart on defense so they can win the superbowl. I don't agree at all with any of them. If some of those reporters would look at the defense for real, some would see that they had identical stats to the NE Patriots defense last year, which they rated as tops in the league. The Colts had more sacks, around the same number of interceptions, and less yards per game, and I think the Colts are looking good this year on defense too. So I was wondering what your take on the defense was? Thank you very much Kevin and go Colts!

Bowen: The Colts new-look defense up front has certainly made an impression early on. Rookies Henry Anderson and David Parry have proven their worth as NFL starters. The Colts are getting production out of their starting defensive front, something that has been missing at times in the past couple of seasons. I am interested to see how the defense changes once the secondary gets healthier. The Colts pass rush should greatly benefit from the likes of Greg Toler and Darius Butler back in the lineup. Of course, the Colts are going to see some elite quarterbacks coming up, which should test this defense quite a bit.

David Copenhaver (New Castle)

I think our run defense is on the upswing, and our Stanford Rookies appear to be the real deal. Our Achilles Heel seems to be our short and intermediate pass defense. Good Tight ends, recieving RB's, and slot recievers appear to be wide open. I know this is not unique to the Colts, but is there any answer?

Bowen: David you are correct in that the Colts run defense has been pretty solid through the early part of 2015. They've really been stout in traditional running situations this season. The intermediate passing game has given the Colts some fits here in 2015. I think a couple of reasons for that are the Colts haven't had a tremendous success in consistently getting to the quarterback. Secondly, the pass rush hasn't been aided by the Colts normal looks in the secondary. Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky talked last week how all the injuries at cornerback has forced the Colts to play more zone in the back end. I expect the Colts pass rush and pass defense to look different in the coming weeks with Robert Mathis continuing to play more and the cornerbacks starting to get healthier.

John Cosides (Bellerose, NY)

hi kevin. rough start but i'll wait to comment on that good to get win. why are we wearing home colors on the road? are the teams thinking we play bad with them?

Bowen: John, I wouldn't read all that into the jersey-color process. In Week One, the Bills wanted to wear their throwback helmets so they went with the white jersey. Last week, it was the Titans home opener so they elected to go with their alternate jerseys. Sometimes on the road, you see home teams have the road team wear their "colored" jersey because of the heat.

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