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:Dustin K. (Fort Wayne, IN)
What would be the reason they wouldn't sign duron carter he did good in the preseason last year and are we going defense or offense in the draft.Thanks for your time and go colts
Bowen: It is not known whether the Colts chose not to offer Duron Carter a reserve/future contract of if Carter elected not to sign one. With the Monday deadline of a reserve/future contract having passed, Carter is now on the free market. Maybe Carter feels he would have a better chance to stick somewhere else? Maybe the Colts didn't think Carter was a fit in Indianapolis? We likely won't get an answer to that for some time (the Colts brass isn't scheduled to meet the media again until late February at the Combine). After not really making an impact early in the preseason, Carter had a nice preseason finale (five catches for 82 yards). Some fans were curious why Carter didn't get the call up when Phillip Dorsett was injured. Special teams was the desire then and Quan Bray more than held his own after being elevated to the active roster. We will now see if the intrigue on Carter has another NFL stop in it.
Bob M. (New Hampshire)
I'm not a Patriots fan. I can't stand Bill Belichick. But, I think the Patriots shot passing game is something the rest of the league should emulate. It covers up for defects along the offensive line, something that the Colts suffered with, and keeps the defense resting on the sidelines. Which brings me to my question. Do you think that the Andrew Luck can change his habit of looking for the home run first every time he takes a snap?
Bowen: When Andrew Luck returned to action following his two-game absence due to a shoulder injury, I think we began to see him looking to get the ball out a bit quicker. It seemed like every time Luck was asked about what he learned in his time away from the field this year, he mentioned some combination of the importance of staying healthy and getting the ball out quicker. At the same time, taking shots deep has to be a staple of this offense. You are restricting the rare speed of guys like T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett if you don't take a few shots throughout a game. Keeping opposing safeties honest will also open more favorable boxes for Frank Gore and the run game. Given Luck's football intelligence, I fully expect him to incorporate the stuff you mentioned above, Bob, along with still looking for the chunks.
Vraj P. (New Jersey)
Hi Kevin. This is my first question for the mailbag.
Improving the offensive line has to be one of the biggest goals this off-season. That being said, I think we have two solid players already (Castonzo and Mewhort). But what did you think Denzell Goode, the rookie from Mars Hill that filled in for some games due to injuries? He's had some solid games, and I've seen many players grow after their rookie season. Can he be a piece on our offensive line moving forward, or is he more of a depth player?
Bowen: The Colts for sure have a building piece in Denzelle Good. In Good's four starts this season, I thought he easily more than held his own in making the jump from Division II Mars Hill. After not even dressing for the first 10 games of 2015, Good made his debut in Week 12 with Anthony Castonzo sidelined. Going into 2016, I think the Colts have a developing young tackle in Good, the stalwart in Castonzo and a capable starter in Joe Reitz. If Good doesn't start in 2016, I still believe he has the potential to be a starter down the road.
Cole H. (Rantoul, IL)
Do you think that Dwayne Allen should be kept? He has dealt with a lot of injuries since being drafted. Also do you think Fleener should be resigned? I looked at thr FA of 2016 and there are a lot of talented players to be signed, what's the best move?
Bowen: In terms of a specific free-agent position battle, the Colts tight end spot in 2016 is about as close as you can get to one for an NFL team. The debate of Allen/Fleener has been ongoing since they were drafted in 2012. It's going to be very difficult for the Colts to keep both tight ends, but you have to think re-signing one is almost a MUST considering you don't want tight end to all of a sudden become a big-time offseason need. What is going to factor into how the Colts view Allen is if Rob Chudzinski sees him as a potential part of his offense. Chud even said late in the year that the Colts had to pretty much use Allen as an extra blocker. Allen was targeted just 29 times in 2015. Now, anytime Allen's name is brought up there is the health concern. He's missed 21 games in the past three years. Perhaps the biggest "con" for Allen (hard to really say injury prediction is a con, but unfortunately they've been nagging to Allen), is a major "pro" for Fleener. Since 2013, Fleener is the lone Colts non-specialist to play in every game. Both have expressed their interest in staying in Indianapolis. I think this decision could come down to how Chudzinski wants to use his top tight end going forward. I don't think this is a make or break decision for 2016 and beyond. Both guys have shown that (when healthy) they can be more than serviceable options at tight end.
John D. (Tennessee)
Its been a whole year since Reggie Wayne was a part of the Colts. Are there any plans to bring him back as receivers coach at least. I remember how well he did the job in 2013 after he got injured/ There were games this season when the receivers couldn't get open. Bring back Reggie.
Bowen: This week, we received a couple of Reggie Wayne questions and even one about Dallas Clark being a tight ends coach. There's been little talk of this from either side. One thing I often mention with former players immediately becoming coaches is do they really want the long hours and continued time away from their family? When Wayne was in Indianapolis back in November, he was adamant that the time with his family in 2015 has been the best part about his first significant period away from football in quite some time.
Max D. (Florida)
Hey Kevin, first I just want to say you guys did a great job all season with all the coverage and hard work that you guys did.
I'm concerned about Andre Johnson. Do you know if he's feeling unhappy because of the lack of balls thrown to him this season? I was thrilled when we first signed him because I knew how much damage he and Luck could do on the field together. But during the season it felt like we only targeted him once or twice a game, why is that?. Next season I think we should definitely utilize him more than we did because I know he's still capable of putting up big numbers.
Bowen: Max, I appreciate the kind words and you following along. Johnson's status for next season is going to be one to watch. He talked after the regular season finale about how he knows the business side of the NFL and the potential impact that could have in his future in Indianapolis. Jim Irsay mentioned to the IndyStar last week how some veterans could be cap causalities in the offseason. Do the Colts feel like they have enough depth at receiver to move on from Johnson? That's something to at least ponder in the offseason. From an on the field standpoint, Johnson's production in 2015 was so puzzling. How does a guy catch 85 balls in Houston and haul in just 41 the next season with the Colts? Like Irsay said, the Colts are going to have some decisions to make regarding a few veterans and their future with Indianapolis.
Jeff F. (New Paris, OH)
No one can deny that the Colts offensive line has been a little less effective year after year in run blocking as well as protecting the quarterback.
I can't help but notice that the offensive line coach seemingly isn't being judged based on performance.
After Mr. irsay's statement about pride do you think the O-line will finally become a priority for the Colts in 2016?
Bowen: Last week, Jim Irsay certainly made it clear his opinion on improving the offensive line and seeing more leadership among that unit. In my ideal world, I think it would be in the Colts best interest to try and find a starting quality interior lineman in free agency and then another in the draft. That would create starting depth into the six, seven and eight spots of the 2016 offensive line group. The Colts still have needs on the defensive side of the ball and even a couple more on offense. But don't think for a second, the offense line won't be addressed in some capacity this offseason.
Javan R. (Georgia)
Wuddup Kev, Do you think that we will draft offense or defense first in the draft
Bowen: As always, I'll preface all draft questions with this: the Colts have given no indication that they will draft anything other than BPA (best player available) with their picks. Now, if we are going strictly off positions of needed, this one is pretty easy to me. I'm definitely of the belief that this team needs to find more and more young defensive talent. I could see each level of the defense being an option early in April's draft, however linebacker and cornerback stick out to me. I'm sure some fans are clamoring for offensive line, but I think you can find a quality interior starter in later rounds.
Dre W. (Indiana)
I would like to see the colts open up their offense more next season and have more creative plays. Do you see this happening (like running some type of spread offense or bringing back the run-n-shoot offense. The offense look more comfortable running a no huddle offense this season>
Bowen: Dre, I think this is one of the hardest things to evaluate heading into the offseason. Just what will Rob Chudzinski's offense look like with an* entire* offseason to implement things and, of course, a healthy Andrew Luck? You look at past Chud offenses and he isn't afraid to stretch the field. So I expect that aspect of the offense to re-emerge in 2015. I don't think this offense will be strictly a "spread" look because I do think there's value in using bigger sets for Frank Gore (he can still be effective running out of multiple wide receiver looks, too). When Chud was asked earlier this year about T.Y. Hilton's comments of needing more deep balls, the interim offensive coordinator chuckled at such a notion. We are going to see a much different looking Colts offense in 2016 versus the one we saw with so many restrictions in 2015.
Thomas R. (Fairmount, IN)
I see & hear a lot of people talking about the offensive and defensive lines being our issue. I only agree with half of that...
Our defensive line looked amazing stopping the run with david parry, henry anderson, kendall langford. I think if Art Jones could start & stay healthy next year I believe we'd have one of the best D-lines in the NFL.
I do agree however that our offensive line needs work and maybe even some new young talent picked in the draft. Either way we need to get better while not getting older as a team than we already are.
In addition I noticed 2 troubling issues: One is that Andrew lucks goal in the off season was to reduce turnovers. He didn't play much this year due to injury, but what he did play....I thought looked no better than last year. And Secondly, I used to think Coby Fleenor & Dwayne Allen were gonna be/develop into one of the elite tight end duos in the league. But lately im concerned and frankly think its time to try something new. Coby Fleenor is the better of the 2 & Id keep him. But Its time to let dwayne allen go to free agency.
Enough rambling so my question is, Do you think Lucks play was just bad "luck", will he be better if healthy this year?
Bowen: While I wouldn't label Luck's play as "bad luck", he had his struggles in 2015. Injuries certainly played a factor in some of that. Perhaps the hardest thing to pinpoint with Luck's season is why did he play his best this year against the Patriots and Broncos (one team he hasn't played well against and the other being the top-ranked defense). If/when healthy, Luck's NFL performance his first three seasons indicate that 2015 is going to be an anomaly. There shouldn't be too much of a transition for Luck to Rob Chudzinski's full-time offensive coordinator role. It would be a major surprise if Luck didn't get back to his Pro Bowl-caliber self in 2016.