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:Zack B. (Indianapolis, IN)
Will the colts please use Andre Johnson more he has size, speed, etc. He is still elite on the field he needs to be fed more along with Donte Moncrief!!
Bowen: We haven't received too many of these pleading questions for Andre Johnson. To be honest, the Colts are using Johnson more frequent as of late and the 13-year veteran has delivered with consistent production. In the last four weeks, Johnson has 17 catches for 237 yards and three touchdowns (he had just 7 catches for 51 yards in the first quarter of the season). On Monday night, we saw the frame of Johnson take some big hits, yet still bring in some important late-game grabs amongst traffic. With Phillip Dorsett out, the reps are going to continue to be very, very high for Johnson and Donte Moncrief.
Zac N. (Butler, IN)
I don't understand the Colts offense, especially Pep Hamilton and his play calling. The Colts finally go uptempo in the 4th quarter and "magically" they start putting together some good drives and scoring points, leading to their comeback. My question is this, why does Pep Hamilton wait until we're behind by double digits and very late in the game to start running an uptempo offense? Obviously it's working so why not begin the game that way? Thanks again!
Bowen: The final Pep Hamilton question into the Colts Mailbag comes here this week. The Colts fired Hamilton on Tuesday. Assistant Rob Chudzinski will assume play-calling duties immediately. I would say one of the biggest dilemmas Hamilton faced in his tenure as offensive coordinator was trying to get a running game going, versus being too dependent on Andrew Luck and the passing attack. Hamilton was adamant that he wanted the Colts offense to be a game specific offense, a unit that could fluctuate between relying on the run when needed and then also have a potent passing attack. The undoing of the offense came in the last two weeks, when the Colts offense committed fatal errors early in eventual losses. Wanting to force feed the run game had to be abandoned and the Colts offense was once again making things extremely difficult for the team to stay within striking distance.
Mark M. (Idaho)
Last night's game against the Panthers was a perfect example of what is happening with the Colt's O-line. How can the coaching staff get the O-line to show up before the opposing pass rush is gassed? Until Luck learns to get the ball out faster, the Colts need a way to give him more time, because he truly is an amazing QB, conditional upon a lot of time to throw.
Bowen: On the list of offensive "problems" right now I would put the offensive line further down the list than it has been in recent stretches. The line gave up a couple of sacks on Monday night but for the most part, Andrew Luck had plenty of time to operate within the pocket. On Luck's first interception he had nearly five seconds to work with, which is light years of time from a pass protection standpoint. According to Pro Football Focus, Luck had the most time in the pocket of any quarterback in the league last week. Now, the Colts line will have its hands full this week with the Denver Broncos, who lead the NFL in sacks through eight weeks.
Chris A. (Charlotte, NC)
Well, we are down 0-5 outside of our division, and we are looking like we are on pace for a 6-10 record plus a division crown. Pagano and Luck sound like two broken records, "I gotta play better, we gotta find a way to win, look at the tape , and clean up thing". They have been saying this through all five losses this season. When are they going to "clean it up"? Are there any plans to improve our secondary? As you can see, we were ready for the run, but Cam Newton made all the necessary plays in the air. His receivers created space between our Corners and Safeties. Please don't sugar coated it and say "we did a great job", we lost outside of our division, again.
Bowen: Obviously, for the Colts to make the playoffs and formulate any sort of January run, they must find a way to get over the hump outside of the division. The last two weeks in particular the Colts have hardly given themselves a chance with massive early deficits before the game was even halfway complete. As far as the secondary is concerned, there's not going to be any wholesale personnel changes. The cornerbacks had a couple of critical lapses on Monday night. You know Peyton Manning is going to take his shots on Sunday. Last season, the Colts secondary was outstanding against Manning in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. The Colts could get rookie third-round pick D'Joun Smith back for the Atlanta game after the team's bye week next week. It remains to be seen how Smith might factor into the rotation.
Tyler S. (Indianapolis)
Rumors that the Browns are shopping Joe Thomas, Alex Mack, and Barkevious Mingo. All three of them would be upgrade for the Colts, in my opinion. Any chance the Colts trade for one, or more, of them?
Bowen: Tyler, as I'm sure you saw on Tuesday the trade deadline went and passed without any action. This is common nature for the NFL. You rarely see any major deals during the middle of the season. From the reports out there, the asking price from the Browns was very, very steep. It did not surprise me at all that no teams wanted to cough up, potentially, several valuable draft picks in exchange for the players you mentioned.
Lucas E. (Monroe, IN)
When are they going to stay committed to the run game since luck can't throw the ball accurately. Frank gore is a machine when you give him the ball.
Bowen: On Monday in Charlotte, we saw Frank Gore receive 14 first-half carries. That's a very, very high number for a running back. The clear plan was to feed Gore and he had 51 rushing yards in the first two quarters. Obviously, the score dictated the Colts move to the up-tempo attack in the fourth quarter to climb back into the game. It will be interesting to see how Gore is used going forward with Rob Chudzinski now calling the offensive shots. It's been repeated way too many times in 2015, but if this offense can avoid those early, catastrophic turnovers, that should allow Gore to get the dose the Colts want him to have over the course of 60 minutes.