Colts Mailbag

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Colts Wednesday Mailbag: How Will The Colts Defense Look Without Arthur Jones?

Intro: This Wednesday, mailbag readers inquire about lineman Denzelle Good, any extra pressure on Andrew Luck and the 2017 NFL Draft.

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ANDERSON, Ind. – 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:Matt D. (Canada)

I was just reading some articles and thinking about the roster, in particular the need for a young franchise RB to complete the offensive trio which lead me to highlight videos of possible 2017 top tier runners.

My question is this, because Andrew Luck/Hilton are in their primes, Moncrief is going to be great ( in my opinion ) if the Colts were to draft a RB in the first round ( even the second ) and got a great RB would they be set up to possibly and I stress possibly be better longer then the Manning, Harrison, Wayne, James group? Only because most of James prime years with the Colts were wasted with Manning's youth and lack of trips deep into the playoffs, where in Lucks case they are veterans in their primes.

I'm curious if you could pick any college runner ( assuming all juniors declare for the draft ) who would you pick ?

Bowen: When you look at the future of this offense, nearly the entire core of the unit is in place. The one missing piece is a young running back, locked up for the long term. Frank Gore is 33 years old. Robert Turbin and Jordan Todman are under one-year contracts. Ryan Grigson even mentioned in March that the Colts wouldn't pass up on the right running back in this past year's draft. Looking way ahead to the 2017 Draft, obviously LSU's Leonard Fournette is going to fit into virtually any NFL offense. But I have a feeling the Colts won't be drafting in the range Fournette hears his name called. Having watched a lot of the ACC last year, I'm a fan of Florida State's Dalvin Cook and Clemson's Wayne Gallman. With Gore under contract through 2017, taking a young back in the next draft would offer a nice passing of the torch for the Colts.

Johnson R. (Omaha, NE)

I would like to know if the Colts are thinking of their first rounder in 2017? It is a long way off, but I thought it would be a good conversation starter.

Bowen: Boy, Training Camp is underway and we start this week's mailbag with a pair of NFL Draft questions some nine months away. When talking 2017 Draft, I maintain that an edge rusher and a running back are high atop the extremely early priority list in Indianapolis. Of the few Mock Drafts/2017 projections I've seen, it does appear those two positions are pretty deep. That's good news for the Colts.

Zack W. (Bedford, VA)

Hey Kevin, with unfortunate news about Art Jones being suspended who do you think will step up to fill that void? Maybe ridgeway? Also do you think that this news affects how the colts view Henry Andersons timeline? Will they push him to start early now that they are missing Jones? Thanks

Bowen: As you would expect, the Arthur Jones' questions poured into the mailbag this week. First, the Colts aren't going to push Henry Anderson. They've made it clear on several, several occasions that patience is the key when deciding when Anderson is 100 percent ready. He's one of the major building blocks for the defensive future and they aren't going to jeopardize his health. Anderson will not be rushed back. If Anderson does indeed miss time in September, I'd expect Zach Kerr to get the first look at those starting reps. To finish last season, the Colts started Kerr, along with David Parry and Kendall Langford. Now, you mention Hassan Ridgeway and his role could really expand with the Jones' news. Defensive line rotation is paramount. That means guys like Ridgeway and T.Y. McGill could really see an uptick in their playing time until Anderson is fully healthly/Jones returns. This staff sees plenty of potential in Ridgeway and he might just see the second most playing time of any rookie (Ryan Kelly being the first). The Colts' defensive line received quality production last year when its depth was tested. They will have to answer that call again this year. For how long? That depends on when Anderson is back.

Jacob H. (Fullerton, CA)

Kevin, the more I watch highlights of Clayton Geathers, the more excited I am for his future with the Colts defense. The guy is such a hard hitter, do you see him developing into a Kam Chancellor type of safety?

Bowen: From a playing style standpoint, I could certainly see this comparison. When the Colts selected Geathers in the fourth round of the 2015 Draft, the safety called himself a "tone setter." In his limited action last season, you saw such an authoritative style. Geathers plays downhill and isn't afraid to enter the box and deliver a strike. I think fellow defenders feed off that and it's going to be interesting to see if Geathers' style reverberates throughout the defense. We will find out later on Wednesday just what the severity is of Geathers going on the non-football injury list.

Will A. (Apache, AZ)

My question is the cooperation of Ryan Kelly and Andrew Luck going into this season.do ya'll think they will gell enough to make a difference.

Bowen: The presence of Ryan Kelly is certainly going to make a difference for Andrew Luck. This is the first time Luck has entered a Training Camp having zero doubt on who is going to be snapping the ball to him. That has to be calming for Luck. Then for the offensive line, those guys know who is in the middle of the unit, handling the communication from side-to-side. Jim Irsay touched on this earlier in the offseason. It's not going to necessarily show up directly in box scores, but Kelly's presence should solidify things at several spots within the Colts' offense.

Roy T. (Murfreesbro, TN)

are the Colts retiring Mannings number at a game this season?

Bowen: Roy, the Colts will honor Manning, along with the other members at the Super Bowl XLI reunion game, on Nov. 20. Back in March, Jim Irsay said no Colt will ever wear No. 18 again. A specific "Manning jersey" retirement ceremony at a game isn't scheduled for this season.

Matt W. (Plant City, FL)

Hi Mr. Bowen quick question can we see zach kerr in the line up? I actually went to Quince orchard high with him. Can u do me a huge fav and tell him Matt Wall said what's up if u get a chance and tell him get that starting spot lol I'd like to see him on the field more but My main question though is do u think they are putting alot more pressure on Andrew Luck then when he came in his rookie season? I mean I know he just got paid big money but in doing so do u think players slack off cause they are guaranteed big money and no need to play hard no more and risk long term injuries? I mean I don't see luck doin that at all just sayin do u think there's just too much pressure on luck and everyone expecting very high expectations of him? I mean imagine what goes through his mind stepping out on that field come 1st game of the season. That's alot to take on. What's you're take on this Mr. Bowen. Thank you for you're time. COLTS NATION!!!

Bowen: We got into Zach Kerr above, so let's focus on Luck here. I don't think anyone should worry about an extra burden on the shoulder of Andrew Luck. He gets what it means to be a franchise quarterback in this league. He also has rare characteristics to not let all that fame and hype change him as a person. Outside of his paycheck week-to-week, Luck is going to have the same persona Colts' fans have seen since 2012. This is a guy who won 33 games in his first three NFL seasons, including three postseason games. That just doesn't happen for young quarterbacks, let alone one who entered a 2-14 team with a rookie head coach and general manager. "Slacking off" isn't in the repertoire for an architectural major from Stanford, let alone one who has achieved a plethora of milestones on the gridiron. Listening to Luck talk at Training Camp move-in day on Tuesday, Colts' fans don't need to fret over any lack of motivation for No. 12 this year.

Matthew V. (Zionsville, IN)

With regards to Clayton Geathers, What is the non-football injury list? What sort of ailments or issues lands someone on this list? Does this raise a 'red flag'?

Thanks.

Bowen: This injury is just how it sounds. Clayton Geathers got hurt in a "non-football" setting. That means away from a team-organized activity. It's similar to Robert Mathis tearing his Achilles in 2014, away from the team. Geathers can be activated off that list at any point during the preseason. I don't think it raises any "red flags" outside of just missing Geathers for some time. Guys have to train on their own. Freakish-type injuries are going to happen. It's inevitable.

Matthew H. (Iowa)

With pat Mcafees knee surgery this offseason, are we going to expect him to play in the preseason? Do the colts have any other players on their roster that could handle punt duties if mcafee were to go down?

Bowen: Unlike past years, the Colts do not have any other kickers/punters in camp. McAfee went through his full kicking/punting routine late in the offseason program, so that's clearly a good sign for his health. If McAfee went down in a game, Adam Vinatieri would obviously be the guy to take over those duties. I'd fully expect McAfee to play in the preseason.

Walter B. (New Philadelphia, OH)

Mr. Bowen, Which line, offensive or defensive, will surprise oppenents the most this season? With additions to both sides I see improvement in the trenches and everyone knows that games are won in the trenches. Thanks!

Bowen: With the current questions on the defensive line (in regards to Henry Anderson's health and Arthur Jones' suspension), I'm going to go with the offensive line. I think the combination of Joe Philbin, the selection of Ryan Kelly and just the overall improvement in the quality of depth in the two-deep up front, all signs have the offensive line arrow pointing up. The Colts' defensive line hung in there last season quite well, despite the losses of Anderson and Jones. It's the offensive line group that can make a much bigger jump in their level of consistency. I'd expect that to happen in 2016.

Luke R. (Rochester, NY)

Hey Kevin,
We are getting closer to the Colts cutting their roster down to 53, there will be several players who will become free agents. With that being said,
1. Do you see the Colts being relatively active on the waiver wire later this offseason?
2. What are your defensive predictions for the Colts in 2016?
3. We saw last season that undrafted free agent Allen Hurns of the Jaguars was a solid WR, despite not being drafted. Could we see an undrafted free agent become a starter within the next 2-3 seasons, like Ron Thompson, Josh Ferguson, or maybe Mike Miller among others?

Bowen: 1. In short: yes. The Colts have always been active on the waiver wire once final cuts occur. I said this last week, but names like Jack Doyle and T.Y. McGill are a pair of waiver wire acquisitions that have come to Indy and made an impact. The Colts know how beneficial that wire can be on the Saturday afternoon of final cuts (75-to-53 players). 2. I believe this defense will make a jump this season into becoming much more consistent. To me, the X-factors are the defensive line depth (depending on the health of Henry Anderson) and the play of new cornerback Patrick Robinson. The defenisve line answered the questions late last season when Anderson went down. Can they do it again (if need be) this September? Robinson playing like he did last year in San Diego would do wonders for how the Colts create a pass rush. 3. Running back Josh Ferguson and outside linebacker Curt Maggitt are my two undrafted guys to watch. Both showed in college to have specific skillsets that match up with areas of need for the Colts.

Dave H. (Sebring, FL)

IS DENZELLE GOOD WEIGHT A PROBLEM AT 355 THAT'S PRETTY HEAVY FOR ANY GUY,AND THAT EXTRA WEIGHT WILL SLOW AND WEAR YOU DOWN FASTER AND LIMIT MOBILITY?

Bowen: The Colts have mentioned before that they are monitoring the weight of Denzelle Good. At 350-ish pounds, Good has an extremely unique physique with the athletic ability to play at that size. We've seen offensive linemen play at that size before and Good showed last season he has the footwork to carry such weight at the tackle position. Now the Colts are seeing what Good can give them from an interior spot at right guard. With a new strength staff and team nutritionist, it will be interesting to see how a player like Good looks when the full pads come on in Anderson.

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