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:Matthew M. (Indianapolis)
Kevin, what a pleasure. Your insight and dedication to the Colts is unprecedented. We, as a whole, can't get enough of your insight. For that, #ColtsNation thanks and loves ya. Now, with Geathers out six weeks, how much Butler are we looking at? Fairley took most of the first team reps but I'm in the few that still has faith in TJ. Also, I was wondering if you've watched "Last Chance U" on NetFlix? I was wondering if you think Andrew would ever watch such a program? Giving the adult content. Although I'm sure he's seen it all haha. Thanks again Kevin!
Bowen: Very nice of you to say that, Matthew. I love doing it. With your question, I see a lot of Butler at safety. Chris Ballard has talked about how the coverage trait in a safety is what he looks for first. I've got Butler and Malik Hooker (as long as he returns fairly quicklky from his tweaked hamstring) in the starting lineup. T.J. Green and Matthias Farley are right behind them, and could factor into sub package roles. I haven't watched "Last Chance U" yet, but I've heard good things. I could see Luck watching it for sure. He's a sports fan and I think he would find it entertaining/interesting.
Nicholas M. (Kokomo, IN)
Thanks as always for answering our questions. I'm sure you will get this a lot since we just got an update from Ballard. If Luck is throwing again why is he pup for training camp? Do you know anything about what his throwing program would be like, will they put that info out, and how long might it take to get back to form? I know that's a lot to ask, but I would like to know what you think. One more thing what do you think the safety position will be like now? Do you think Hooker and Butler can handle it?
Bowen: Good question. We don't know the level of Luck's current throwing. Is he just throwing X-amount of 10-yard passes a day? I can't imagine they will put out Luck's specific throwing program. I look at it like a pitcher coming off the disabled list. Luck is probably in the very early stages, like a long toss/bullpen session start point. He will eventually progress into a rehab start (i.e. practice). Here was Chris Ballard's response to that question: "We don't want him standing around just watching practice. We want him to continue to work on his strength, continue to work on his throwing program and the rehab that he needs to do." Luck is still trying to get his throwing motion back. So I don't see the point in having him practice unless he can go through a normal 11-on-11 session or two. He can still do his throwing this time of year behind closed doors. I'd like to think seven-to-eight weeks is enough time for Luck to be full go, but we just don't know how his shoulder/arm will bounce back. The safety questions are answered elsewhere in the mailbag.
Donald J. (Indianapolis)
Just streamed second season of All or nothing, loved the inside look at a team. Do you know if there is a third season, and who is the team, would the Colts ever be considered for such an intimate glimpse? Thanks for the mailbag.
Bowen: I don't know if there is a third season or not. I do think the Colts would be considered. There was definitely some talk of the Colts being on Hard Knocks this year, but they elected to go with the Buccaneers instead.
Boone T. (Wabash, IN)
I have 2 questions
1. Will the o-line be able to protect Andrew a Luck better than previous years.
2. Do you feel the colts have a legitimate shot at the playoffs, and I do realize the first question must be positive for this to happen lol. Thank you so much I really enjoy Colts mailbag!
Bowen: 1. I think they will. Readers of the mailbag will know that I'm a fan of how the offensive line will look in 2017. Having the offensive line together for a second season under Joe Philbin, plus you have guys like Ryan Kelly, Joe Haeg and Le'Raven Clark heading into another season as a professional. 2. I do. Check out the question below for more detail on why I think so.
Hayden M. (Tennessee)
the new season to begin.
Coming off two straight 8-8 seasons is obviously disappointing, and as a result a lot of people write the Colts off this season and I don't really understand why. Now, I'm not saying that the Colts are going to compete for a Super Bowl this year. That's just unrealistic, but I can absolutely see them getting back into the playoffs this year. Pretty easily in fact. Provided Luck returns to form after his shoulder surgery in January, he should be even better without the lingering injury he dealt with all of 2016, and he was pretty good in 2016. The offensive line remains intact from last season, and I saw improvements towards the end of the year. Defensively, there's no way we can be as bad in 2017. I liked Ballard's decisions on that side of the ball, and I think the defense could be much improved. The defensive line looks to be a strength, the linebacking corps looks decent, and our secondary should hopefully be decent as well. Quincy Wilson and Malik Hooker are rookies. I loved the picks, but as rookies I don't know how well they can hold our secondary down in year one, but we'll have to see. I think the Colts have a lot more potential than a lot of people credit them for.
In conclusion, I can honestly see a 9-7 or 10-6 season easily, maybe even 11-5. I think it'll be a tight race between Tennessee and Indianapolis, and I can totally see Indy getting back to form after two disappointing years aided by a healthy Luck, an offense that should be at the top of the league, and a revamped defense. What are your thoughts? Thank you for your time.
Bowen: As long as Andrew Luck is healthy, I see the Colts as a team back in competing for the top of the AFC South. The schedule is not too daunting. The defense has to improve somewhat. Also, you laid out some great points about why I look at the Colts as having the ability to return to double-digit wins. If the defense can get on the same page as quickly as possible, the Colts should be in the thick of the AFC South/playoff race come December.
Michael L. (Greenwood, IN)
Huge fan I keep this simple I have three questions 1) it feels like the colts give the starters all the time and the lesser known players have no time to play why is that?, 2)sickles, boyed, Justin Smith, Kristen skolkey what are there chances of making roster, 3)with every team cutting good players do you see the colts getting any? And lastly why don't goodell up the limit of players from 53 I would go with 60.
Bowen: 1. Are your referring to the regular season? I think the Colts rotate bodies in at just about the same level as any other team. I actually think more reserves will play on defense this year, with all the competition prevalent over there. 2. I think pretty low. It's hard to project any of those guys on the 53-man roster right now, until we they get a chance to move up the depth chart during the month of August. 3. I could see the Colts in line for several positions at roster cut down. Tight end and cornerback comes to mind immediately when thinking of preseason cuts. 4. I think it's from a competitive standpoint in wanting teams to have to juggle some roster mechanics.
Ulrich R. (Linz, Austria)
Hope you are doing alright and get plenty of sleep before camp.
How do you see the secondary situation? Our secondary got ranked nearly dead last at PFF. I don't think it's that bad and that's because i think Malik could be the top safety soon and Wilson is a nice addition too. But I have no idea how the secondary depth chart will look like...
I think Geathers will not be ready for the start of the season (hopefully he can come back soon), so Malik and Butler should be the starters at safety. How do they complement each other? How do you see the situation at corner? Vontae is a starter. My guess is Wilson should be the other starter, but it seems like he has to take away Melvins job. Ok let's say Vontae and Wilson are the starters, who is your nickel with Butler at safety?
Like to hear your opinion!
Thx and GO COLTS!
Bowen: Okay, lots of questions here. With the news on Clayton Geathers going on PUP and missing at least the first six weeks of the season, I've got Darius Butler in the starting lineup alongside Malik Hooker (again, as long as he comes back quickly from that tweaked hamstring). If Quincy Wilson continues what he showed near the end of the offseason program, I think he will supplant Rashaan Melvin in the starting lineup at cornerback. That would leave Darryl Morris as my nickel cornerback. At safety, Matthias Farley and T.J. Green will provide the depth. Could Green, who drilled as a strong safety during the spring, play some dime linebacker in 2017? That would be great for the Colts if Green could give them what Geathers did last year. The Colts need for some young corners/safeties to emerge during camp in order for the secondary to have the proper depth to survive a regular season.
Joshua L. (Camp Casey, South Korea)
Hey Kevin. Its me Josh again! I asked you a draft day question the last time i wrote you. My biggest want is a top linebacker, Preferrably Malik Jefferson from UT. I would like to see him and Anthony Walker line up together. But at the same time Saquon Barkley from Penn state is probably one of the best backs ive seen in college in awhile. Backs are a dime a dozen but a duo of him and Marlon Mack could be deadly. Lastly my 3rd choice lol i would like to get one of the Corners out of west Virginia, Adonis Alexander or Brandon Facyson. Now in a crazy situation where all 4 players are available at our pick (im realistically assuming somewhere from 20-25) where would you like see us go?
Bowen: It's early to think about the draft. The little I've read about the 2018 Draft, Barkley could be a really, really high pick. But let's go with your scenario. I would probably lean slightly towards a cornerback, especially if Vontae Davis is not re-signed. I would love to see a pass rusher in the mix there though.
Yash T. (Denver)
Start off by thanking you. This off season is flying by, but if it wasn't for people like you and Mr. Matt Taylor, (and Caroline), I don't know if I could make it to training camp. Really appreciate all you do. Bought my tickets for the home opener against AZ, looking forward to being there. 2 questions:
First, great to hear the update on Andrew, but I still have a concern on the meshing of this entire time. How has the camaraderie of the team been since all the changes were made and who stands out as the "surprise" leader thus far.
Second, hoping you and Matt are doing another show for touchdown town before the home opener. I wouldn't mind saying hello again. Are you going to host a pre game show again this year?
Really thank you for all you guys do again and let me tell you, the smack talk is getting real here in Denver... I can feel the rivalry brewing. Let's go Colt's - YT
Bowen: Welcome back, Yash! We certainly appreciate you always following along. 1. I would say camaraderie and just overall optimism is very high. Almost a blank slate with all these new faces in the building. Still early for me to crown a "surprise" leader. Ask me that again in a few weeks once I see some Training Camp practices. 2. We will definitely be out there. Starting at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 17 for the home opener against the Cardinals. We will be out there for two hours. Looking forward to seeing you.
Eric S. (West Palm Beach, FL)
I just wanted to start by saying thank you for keeping everyone engaged for the off-season. Its been a painful 6 weeks, but you have made it bearable. As you probably know you get a bit desperate in this part of the year for some Colts entertainment.
So I came up with a little game called Dont Nap on the Colts. The premise being if the 2014 Colts were one game away from the Super Bowl than the 2017 Colts have a shot. This is purely based on the talent level of each roster. So my question is if you had a choice who would you take from the following.
2014 Vontae Davis & Greg Toler vs 2017 Vontae Davis & Quincy Wilson?
Corry Redding, Josh Chapman, Art Jones vs Jonathan Hankins, Kendal Langford, Henry Anderson?
Erik Walden & Bjoern Werner vs John Simon & Jabaal Sheard?
2014 Andrew Luck vs 2017 Andrew Luck?
Trent Richardson & Ahmad Bradshaw vs Frank Gore & Robert Turbin?
I think you see my point as I think I pick the upside of our current roster over the 2014 roster (who made it to the AFC championship game). Again this is just based on talent alone and not considering variables including depth and strength of schedule. As we all know what can happen on any given Sunday.
The one position group that I would call questionable is:
Jerrell Freeman & D'Qwell Jackson vs Jon Bostic & Sean Spence?
The safety group I think is close considering the rookie status and the unfortunate injury situation.
Also the WR and TE groups are pretty close, but I think I go with the 2017 receiver group and the 2014 TE group due to better depth.
Interested in getting your thoughts on this as this is a question from a Colts fan who is desperate for the season to start.
Bowen: Interesting way to look at things. At corner, 2017 group. On the defensive line, 2017 group. At outside linebacker, 2017 group. At inside linebacker, 2014 group. At safety, right now you have to say the 2014 group with all the injuries back there. You are taking 2014 Luck and the 2017 running backs. The biggest thing for this year's defense is going to be health and communication. How quickly can these guys get up to speed and on the same page, especially down two starting safeties? That's a big concern right now. I totally understand where you're coming from, but questions have to be answered, and some of those are searching for answers right now.
Brad B. (Savannah, GA)
Hello again Mr. Bowen. I just saw the news regarding Clayton and Andrew. Now that we know Andrew won't be ready until week one at the earliest, do you think he actually will be ready for the first few games of the season? And if not, would you see us trying to sign someone like Jay Cutler and placing Andrew on the IR for this season to ensure he'd be as healthy as possible for next year? I know that sounds horrendous, but given the circumstances here I'd rather let Luck rest and be healthy for next year rather then get him beat up and injured again this year. Or would it behoove us to just tank if all that happened and forget about signing another QB, just let Tolzein and Morris ride it out? I'm just spit balling here. Would like to hear your opinion on these matters. Thank you
Bowen: That remains THE question of the camp. I still believe Luck will be ready. The fact that's he throwing a full seven weeks before the season opener is very good news. Also, the Colts still haven't signed a veteran quarterback, so that's another good sign (in my eyes) that Luck should be ready. Unless you know about more about this injury, I would definitely not put Luck on IR. All indications point to Luck being ready for the season, or very early in the season. I think you let Tolzien/Morris compete. If you need them for a game or two, then that's what you do. But I still think Luck will be ready to go Day One.
Luke R. (Rochester, NY)
Got a few questions today,
1. Assuming Geathers isn't healthy come week 1, who should be starting at the SS position? With that being said, Chris Ballard and the coaching staff have praised Matthias Farley during spring training. What should we expect from him?
2. What do you think will be the most improved aspect of the Colts defense in 2017?
3. Who is your current top priority for the Colts to resign in 2018, assuming the level of play for each FA doesn't drastically change next year?
Bowen: 1. I would probably go with Darius Butler. I know he's not an ideal strong safety from a body-type standpoint. However, I have tremendous trust in Butler. It might take away some packages the Colts would be able to use defensively, but I think Butler's veteran presence would work well alongside Malik Hooker. With Farley, I still think his role is primarily special teams, unless the injuries start to pile up at safety. 2. The depth and the quality play of the defensive line. 3. Donte Moncrief. The Colts have a few big names hitting the open market in 2018, but I'm all aboard the re-sign train of Moncrief.
Michael K. (Kokomo, IN)
Hey Kevin, I love reading the mailbags every week. Football season can't get here soon enough! This is my first time submitting a question, so I hope it hasn't been asked 20 times already! In your opinion, defensively, what do you think the Colts' strongest point will be this season? In my opinion, it'll be the defensive line. With Hankins, Anderson, and some good talent on the roster back to full health, we could have a strong year. I also feel the secondary could have a breakout year, as long as Geathers is healthy, even if not, it could still be a decent group. Hooker, Butler, Davis, etc. I'm still a little iffy on the LB corps, but hey, maybe they could surprise us. Thanks, and have a great week!
Bowen: Welcome, Michael. I like this question. I'm going to go with the defensive line, with the healthy returns of Henry Anderson and Kendall Langford (who will start Training Camp on PUP) as absolute musts for this group to be a strength. I see a lot of potential with the secondary, but there's just too many question marks right now for me to fully commit to that group. It's a unit with a wide range of floor and ceiling.
Anthony O. (Springfield, MO)
Been a few weeks since I've submitted anything but have a quick question. Both Moncrief and Aiken have been relatively close to 1k yard seasons, 733 and 944 respectively both in the 2015 seasons. Do you think, with the added attention to Hilton and making us spread the ball more to other receivers, that we could potentially see luck throw for 4k yards with 3 of those 4k being spread to those 3 receivers and have each of Hilton, Moncrief and Aiken have 1k yard seasons? The other yards could be spread between Rogers, Mack, Gore and Turbin potentially.
Bowen: I can't see that happening. How I look at Kamar Aiken's role with the Colts as one on a very situational basis. T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief are the top two guys on the depth chart. After that, you have Aiken, Chester Rogers and Jacoby Brissett all in competition for the next reps. I don't see one of those three all of a sudden rising to the playing time where that big of a season could occur. Remember, you still have Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox as well.
Jonathan S. (Lakewood, NY)
Where will Jonathan Hankins start for the Colts? I'm seeing a lot of discussion; on here particularly that Hankins might be playing DT instead of his preferred and even more natural position as NT. Now that would be all fine and dandy if we were talking about Hankins last year with the Giants. He did that very thing but the Giants run a 4-3 where you have two DTs. In case everyone forgot we run a 3-4 defense which allows you a NT and two DEs. Why are we even discussing Hankins playing 3 tech? Or are the Colts switching to a 4-3 secretly and even knows but me. Thanks.
Bowen: The Colts are sticking with a 3-4 defense, but will continue to utilize a variety of looks up front. You make a good point about the 4-3 defense of the Giants, compared to things in Indianapolis. But I still believe it's up in the air where Hankins lines up. Why? The Hankins' position debate is one that will be decided during Training Camp. Remember, that in New York, Hankins was playing in a 4-3 defense. Here in Indy, it's a 3-4 scheme. Honestly, it's probably going to depend on what the Colts have at the other defensive spots, more so than where Hankins best fits. I don't feel great about my answer, but I'll give you my thoughts. Not very confidently, I would put Hankins at nose. I think the depth at the other defensive line spots is greater, so the more pressing area to have Hankins play is at nose. That's my belief.
Brad B. (Savannah, GA)
Hey Mr. Bowen, thank you for all you do for the fan base. I can tell you we all appreciate your insightful knowledge.
With that being said, I have a random question. If you could play arm chair GM with me for moment, I'd like to see one logical trade/drastic change you would make for the team. It can be anything you see fit and if you chose a trade the partnering team would take what ever your offer would be (hence the logical part). I know this is a complete off-season question. But I'm just curious as to what you'd do.
Personally, I'm not sure what move I'd make. But at the top of my list I guess I'd have to go with getting rid of coach Pagano & making Jon Gruden take some ridiculous offer to coach our team.
Hope you have a good one Mr. Bowen & thank you again.
Bowen: My pleasure, Brad. Always enjoy the mailbag. I would go out and find a promising young pass rusher. Is there a team out there with several extra bodies at the outside linebacker position? If so, I would be watching that roster very closely during the preseason to see if a trade was possible. I know trades are pretty scarce in the NFL. But if there's one specific area to upgrade, I'm all for new blood at pass rusher.
Leonardo B. (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Hi, Kevin, how are you? Hope fine. I remember asking a similar question about a year ago, about drafted rookies not making the 53 roster. This one is a little different: do you recall any early round pick (drafted in rounds 1 to 3) being waived in his first season with Colts? Regards.
Bowen: I can't recall any, Leonardo. That would be a major, major surprise if it happened in 2017. I do know the Chiefs waived their third-round pick last year, and that's an example Chris Ballard has used in pointing out "no matter your draft selection/contract status, the best players will play."
Michelle M. (Fort Wayne, IN)
Hi Kevin... Hope your summer is going well!! Given our WR lineup, do you think its possible to get the best out of Phillip Dorsett and work with him to be our Punt Returner? He is fast, and with his speed, given he has any breaks, hes gone for a TD! Wouldn't that be logical??
Bowen: I don't think we will see Phillip Dorsett at punt returner. When Dorsett has received previous reps there, he's struggled. Fielding punts is difficult and not something that is as easy as it looks. I still look at Chester Rogers as the early favorite to be the punt returner. If Quan Bray makes the roster, he has to have a good chance at handling the return duties. But it's no guarantee that Bray makes the roster.
Tyler R. (Fort Wayne, IN)
Hello Kevin, I want to ask the what if questions that might come after the year. 1. Let's say the colts make the playoffs and win one game. Is that enough to keep pagano? 2. If Ballard would bring in a Coach who would be on the top of the list in the NFL world? 3. Moncrief is appealing because of redzone production. If the colts can't keep him due to contract issues what would be the best option for a number 2 outside if the draft in this next year? Kevin this is a worst case scenario. I hope none of this is in question going into the off season next year. Go blue!
Bowen: 1. According to Jim Irsay, a hard win count isn't going to be the sole factor in deciding the future for Chuck Pagano. The Colts are going to evaluate Pagano on several different forms of criteria this year. I don't think you can just say (insert record here) and that means Pagano will be back, or not back, in 2018. 2. Another question I really have no idea on. Ballard has only worked for two NFL organizations, so it's hard to know how wide is net is with connections around the league or what he would be looking for in a head coach. 3. To me, Moncrief is almost too good of a talent to let walk. You want to draft your own and re-sign your own. Moncrief is the perfect example of that. With upcoming drafts, those picks are still needed (mainly) on the defensive side of the ball. But if Moncrief did depart, you would need to look for a bigger presence to complement T.Y. Hilton.
Will V. (Indianapolis)
Thanks again for devoting time to Colts fans here and around the world. The Colts are running a 3-4 defensive scheme, and the team seems to really buy into it for this season. Since that is the case, will we see some cover-3 looks on defense? That would be absolutely perfect for Malik Hooker, who we know is an absolute athletic ball hawk! Thanks again, and go Colts!
Bowen: I believe we will see that. What Hooker gives you is a true centerfielder, who can easily roam hasmark to hasmark. You have to take advantage of that and the Colts will by keeping Hooker in that deep portion of the field.
Wyatt K. (Mooresville, IN)
Do you see frank gore russing another 100 yard game or games next season since he has proven that he can?
Bowen: Yes, I do believe Frank Gore will have at least one 100-yard game in 2017. With improved line play, Gore should have at least one of those games as he plays in the final year of his contract.
Darius C. (Gary, IN)
What's up Kevin! It seems like at the safety position T.J Green is not working out there. Do you think it's a lack of effort or not learning the playbook? He has a lot of talent! Do you think he can be covered to a corner and have success there?
Bowen: That's a great question. I know last year the Colts felt like they threw too much at Green from a playbook standpoint. Green only played two years of safety in college and the mental hurdle was pretty high in transitioning to the NFL game. I was surprised that Green did not receive more first-team look during the spring. With Clayton Geathers and Malik Hooker sidelined during the spring, it was Matthias Farley working alongside Darius Butler with the starting defense. For now, I see Green sticking at safety, especially after the news on Geathers. I do believe the Colts want to involve Green with their sub packages still this year. But this is going to be a massive Training Camp for Green to prove he can handle whatever role the Colts want to give him.
Cameron S. (Eastlake, OH)
Hey Kevin how are you doing? This is my second time submitting a question and I hope it's a decent one. So last week ish I saw a report on how the steelers are doing with bell and right now it doesn't seem well. If he doesn't sign next year he will be a free agent and honestly I think they'd let him go since they drafted James Conner, but the question is what's the chance we see a Luck, Bell and Hilton trio. In my opinion that is way too good to pass up
Bowen: Doing well, Cameron. I don't think the Colts would be too active in such a pursuit. Bell is an unbelievable talent. The Colts do have a need for a future running back. But I think the needs on defense are still too immense for the Colts to also have enough ammo for a Bell contract. Bell is going to demand quite the pay day. I just don't see how the Colts can get into that type of bidding war, while also taking care of things on defense and re-signing some key free agents. Remember, Bell said he wants to be paid like one of the game's top running backs and receivers, combined. That's going to be quite the pay day for some team.
Anthony T. (Philadelphia)
Hey Kevin, thanks, as always, for your insight during these final slow weeks of Football news.
My question this week is about our Colts on the PUP list. When is the deadline to take players off of that list so they are not required to miss the first 6 weeks of the regular season. (I.e. Geathers)
In addition, can you give us fans anymore insight to these players and their injuries. On the PUP list I know is Andrew Luck, Clayton Geathers, and Kendall Langford.
Bowen: After the first six weeks of the season, teams have a window until Week 11 to decide what to do with their PUP guys. During that time, the player can return to practice. If the player is healthy and ready to go, he can be activated to the 53-man roster. If he's not, then the player has to be released or placed on injured reserve. Once the player hits the practice field, teams have three weeks to make a decision on activating him or going down the IR route. I hope that makes sense. I know it sounds confusing.
Merle H. (Deltona, FL)
Mr. Bowen. The Colts used to utilize the stretch play with Edgerrine james as the ball carrier. What is the reason or reasons not to use this type of play anymore?
Bowen: I'm sure there a lot of reasons, mostly circling around scheme and personnel. Such a play takes a while to develop and that means strong offensive line play is needed. The Colts have not had such a luxury with their offensive line. Plus, they have different style runners now than James.
Roy E. (Marion, IN)
Why can't I see your responses to the mailbag on my Alcatel phone? It's an older phone (not smartphone). I can see Q's, just no A's.
Bowen: That's odd, Roy. Sorry about that. My advice: try downloading the Colts Mobile App (if you can), or head to colts.com through the internet. I'm not familiar with that phone, so I'm not sure why the answers aren't showing up.
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