Colts Mailbag

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Colts Wednesday Mailbag: How Many Carries Will Frank Gore Receive In 2017?

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:Luke R. (Rochester, NY)

Hey Kevin,
Here comes the boring part of the year, so bear with me.
1. If he plays well enough, could Quincy Wilson start at that #1 CB position sometime this year?
2. Who do you like more in the starting slot position: Chester Rodgers, or Kamar Aiken? (Dorsett isn't better than either of them IMO)
3. Do you know of a way to download all of the Colts games (dates, time, etc.) this season onto Google Calendar easily?

Bowen: 1. Yes, definitely. Wilson will need to beat out Rashaan Melvin in camp though. Melvin is the No. 2 cornerback right now. But this staff remains high on Wilson and I think the rookie will have first-team chances in Training Camp to impress. 2. Depends on what you are looking for. If it’s either Rogers or Aiken, it comes down to speed vs. power for me. The speed would lead to Rogers. The power would lead to Aiken. 3. Head here for the calendar sync.

Sean M. (Ireland)

Hey Kevin, 
How realistic do you think it is for Andrew Luck to become part of the "5,000 yard club?" 
With an improved Online and Gore a year older (which possibly means more passing attempts), will it be Pagano's system holding him back from it? Because he's certainly talented enough to do it.

Bowen: Only nine times in NFL history has a quarterback threw for 5,000 yards. I could see Luck getting there at some point, but I will hold off on making that prediction this season. I’d say 20-30 percent chance Luck throws for 5,000 yards in 2017. What I see holding him back is the Colts not wanting/needing to have him chuck it that many times coming off shoulder surgery. The Colts should see improvements in their run game too, so that would lead them to not needing for Luck to throw it around that much.

John F. (Horseshoe Bay, TX)

Hey Kevin. Just to pile on about how out of towners can listen to the games live. Many Colts fans want to hear Bob Lamey game calls. I listened last season through 1070 The Fan. They have a free phone app that you can download through the App Store (just do a search for 1070 The Fan) and can get the game calls that way for free.

My question: How do you see the running plays to be spread among Gore, Turbin and Mack? I see Gore getting about 60% of the running plays. Turbin will get the short yardage plays about 25% and the rest will go to Mack on 3rd and long.

Bowen: Thanks, John for the added information. This is a good question. I believe early in the season we will see more of Turbin and less of Mack. As the season goes on, I could see more of Mack. Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski was effusive in his praise for Turbin this past spring. That’s why I think we will see more of Turbin early this season, whereas last year Josh Ferguson saw some backup running back reps in September/October. Let’s go with Gore for 60 percent, Turbin for 30 percent and Mack for 10 percent early on.

Dave W. (Carmel, IN)

Kevin - Being an original season ticket owner I have seen a lot of material on the Colts over the years and can honestly say you are the strongest writer I have ever seen associated w the Colts. Your material is always presented very professionally and backed with authoritative research. Thanks. 
Now my question - I believe position coaching is very underrated and realize the top teams always have improvement in their teams over the season through teaching by the position coaches. Joe Philbin is my example. Aside from Coach Philbin who are two of the position coaches you believe are above the norm and why?

Bowen: Dave, thank you very much for the kind words. It means a lot. With your question, let’s start on special teams. Coordinator Tom McMahon (I know he’s not a position specific coach) is extremely detailed in his work. Adam Vinatieri and Pat McAfee have raved before about McMahon. Even a guy like Jeff Locke has spoken about how impressed he was with the Colts special teams when watching them on film last year. My other guy would be new wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal. From Sammy Watkins in Buffalo, to now T.Y. Hilton in Indianapolis, Lal has left a strong impression. Will that lead to big seasons from guys like Donte Moncrief and/or Jacoby Brissett?

Grant L. (Jasper, IN)

Hi Kevin. I've noticed that the Colts have been receiving a lot of hate in predictions for next season. But I disagree. Last season, if the Colts had ANY defense at all we would have been a 10-12 win team easy. (Take the lions or Texans games for example). That in addition to the schedule, I don't see us being anything worse than a 11-12 win team. I'd say we lose to the Seahawks, Steelers, one other non divisional, and one in division. That truely isn't that far fetched. What's your opinion on that. 

I was also wondering what a reasonable prediction for Frank Gore and the rest of the running backs. Gore has has been over 900 yards both seasons, but he's aging. Will he continue to take most of the load, or will Mack and Turbin be splitting with him. Thanks as always for answering our questions.

Bowen: I’m with you on the predictions. If the Colts defense just slightly improves, this is a team that should be right around 10-11 wins. Gore is the starting running back. But this staff loves Robert Turbin. I could see Gore near 900 yards again this season. Having Turbin and Marlon Mack allows for the Colts to not run Gore into the ground. Gore has shown that isn’t necessary, but the Colts might want to put him on more of a pitch count given the quality depth they have in the backfield.

Evan T. (New Brunswick, Canada)

Hey Kevin , great job on the mailbag each week always enjoy your insight to all the questions you receive! 
My question for you is a three parter.
1) who do you see as the best kept secret on our roster this season? 
2) who do you think besides Andrew will be our biggest standout on offense? 
3) who will be our best shut down defender?
Thanks for taking my question

Bowen: 1. Let’s go way off the board. I think if cornerback Tevin Mitchel can stay healthy, he’s going to make this team and be in the corner rotation. 2. Is T.Y. Hilton too obvious of a choice? I do think Donte Moncrief will have a really big year. 3. It has to be Vontae Davis. The Colts desperately need him back to his 2014-self.

HJ C. (Norfolk, VA)

Hi,Kevin-man it was really very special to see my name and state in the COLTS MAILBAG Thanks A Lot.Hope you are doing well.Do you think that the Colts secondary will be fast and big enough to keep up with all of the speedsters in our division as well as the ones we will be facing on the road teams.Especilly Quincy Wilson.

Bowen: No problem. I do think the Colts have started to re-tool the secondary in the right direction. Quincy Wilson and Malik Hooker have the body types that you want. Nowadays, you need the length and speed in the secondary to adapt to how NFL offenses are using their skill players. It’s going to take another draft to find more depth in the secondary, but the athleticism has greatly improved in the back end.

Wyatt K. (Mooresville, IN)

Hey Kevin, in a lot of articles and people are saying Malik hooker is getting only 2-4 interceptions when he got 7 in one year. I was wondering why?

Bowen: If Hooker is healthy for his entire rookie season, I see no reason why he won’t be around a handful of picks. Now, only one player in the NFL had more than six interceptions last year. So, let’s not act like a rookie will fall out of bed and have seven INTs. It’s tough in the NFL to get to that number. But I still think Hooker can be a five-pick guy in 2017.

*Matt C. (Indianapolis) *

For the last 4 or 5 years seem the colts wearing white jersey at home in preseason game. Are the colts going to wear white jersey again at home in preseason this august?

Bowen: That would be my assumption. I’d guess it will be in the preseason opener (Sunday, August 13) against the Detroit Lions.

Michelle M. (Fort Wayne, IN)

Hi Kevin.. Do you think the parting with peyton manning would have been different if we had Chris Ballard as GM rather than grigson? Unveiling the manning statue week 5 going to be aired live on television for us fans? I just feel terrible to this day how manning was treated! Thank you
Michelle

Bowen: I do not think it would have been different. The Colts were in a dire cap situation and had the luxury of having the No. 1 overall pick with another “once in a generation” quarterback sitting there (Andrew Luck). Unfortunately, fairytale endings don’t happen often in sports. It was tough for sure. But I think Jim Irsay made the call on that decision, knowing it was time to move on when you considered the cap situation, Manning’s injury and Luck in the draft. With the Manning statue, I’d expect the Colts to carry the unveiling live on their Mobile App and on Colts.com/live.

Tyler D. (Columbus, IN)

Longtime reader first time writer. My question is regarding what I found quite shocking..

It was quite shocking that the Chiefs fired Dorsey. Given Ballard's obvious connection with Dorsey, do you forsee Dorsey maybe making a pitstop in Indy for a year until he lands a new GM position? I think he'd make a great asset especially working together with Ballard even if it's for just a year. What do you think?

Tyler

Bowen: You don’t get too many surprising NFL headlines this time of year. But the parting of ways between John Dorsey and the Chiefs was certainly that last week. With Dorsey at GM, the Chiefs built one of the most balanced rosters in the NFL. One reason I’m hesitant in pairing Dorsey up with the Colts/Ballard is because of the timing. You are late in the offseason. Theoretically, if Dorsey took another GM job next year he’d only be in Indy for about six months. If I’m Dorsey, I probably just take 2017 off, think about any changes I want to make in my next GM position and then enter 2018 as the leading GM candidate across the NFL. Also, I’m not sure what role Dorsey would have here. Maybe a consultant?

Ethan H. (Fort Myers, FL)

Thanks for always answering my questions and is there any thing about the colts that is not he discussed that you would like to talk about?

Bowen: Hmm, interesting question. I feel like with the wide variety of questions we get twice a week, pretty much everything is covered. Here are a few thoughts running through my head going into 2017: the health of Clayton Geathers will greatly impact the defensive improvement, if the offensive line makes the necessary strides then this offense can be a top-five unit and the Colts must get elite secondary play this year in order for the pass rush to affect opposing quarterbacks at a much higher rate than years back.

Tim H. (Henrietta, GA)

what is the status of Colts Safety position? really psyched for Colts Defense to take the field ...Concerned about the neck injury to safety as well as hip injury to top draft choice ...

Bowen: TBA? The expectation is Malik Hooker will be ready for the start of Training Camp. More questions are there for Clayton Geathers and his neck injury. If both are healthy, the Colts should feel very, very good about the safety outlook in 2017. If they aren’t, the Colts are going to be scrambling a bit to find a consistent presence next to Darius Butler. We will find out in a month just how the safety position will look.

Ian W. (Fort Wayne, IN)

Hey Kevin. Let's talk Frank Gore for a little bit. He seems indestructible. Like Payton in his later years. Do you see us holding on to him till he retires? I'd prefer us doing this, but I know Grigson let go of player's early. (Reggie, Payton) Or could you see this as Frank Gore's last year?

Bowen: A few Gore questions in this week’s mailbag. Gore has made it clear that he has no real desire to hang it up after this season. “As long as I still love the game…” is the line Gore often uses in describing his passion still at the age of 34. Gore heads down to Miami in the offseason, trains against younger guys and that lets him know if he can still compete at the highest of levels. If Gore can maintain his durability, eclipse the 1,000-yard mark again in 2017, it’s going to be tough for the Colts to not bring him back on a short-team deal. My guess is Gore continues to play in 2018. If Robert Turbin and Marlon Mack show ability to be lead-type backs this year, then the Colts could be moving on from Gore.

Dave K. (Westminster, CO)

This may be a management question. Regarding #'s on the jersey. Do you think it possible to unretired #'s. 

#'s such as 22,24,82,89 etc. 
were retired as Baltimore Colts. A new era of fans may like to see these # as Indy Colts. Whats your take?

Bowen: I’m sure it’s possible. Personally, I really don’t care too much. The Irsay’s love the history of the Colts. If that means those numbers will stay retired, then so be it. You only have 53 guys on a roster, so there’s plenty of other numbers for guys to wear. I’d guess there will be a day when maybe those numbers get unretired, but I don’t see that anytime soon.

David B. (Clearwater, FL)

hello kevin, Seem to be hearing highest paid contract in NFL history to the point that its meaningless. I believe I heard the cap rose 12 million this year. I was hoping u would indulge me and use ur knowledge and resources to tell us how far back in time u would have to travel to find a Colt team whos entire salary was 12 million a year.Thanks.

Bowen: Here’s some history on the NFL salary cap. It goes back to 1994, when the cap was $34.6 million.

The analysis from those producing content on Colts.com does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by Colts.com content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.

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