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:Rodney A. (Winston-Salem, NC)
I record all of the colt games in order to refer back to certain plays. I'm trying to figure out just or what caused Lucks injury. As I replayed the Titan game over several times I was unable to pin point when he was injured. I didn't notice him favoring his shoulder at anytime and didn't notice him grimacing in pain on the sidelines as he celebrated the last stop of Tennessee to ice the game. So just how did he hurt his shoulder? Was it a play in general or did he hurt it on Monday after the game at practice or at home? What seemed to be a none issue at first has now become a grave one at best. John Clayton just said he don't look for him to play Thursday as well. And I'm that would be wise seeing that Houston will certainly blitz him nearly every play.
Bowen: Rodney, I have the same question with really no answer. I went back and looked at the film and there's no one play that Luck gets hit on his throwing shoulder and then grimaces after. He's reached for a couple of fumbles this year/had some tackles and guys have fallen on his arm so maybe that's contributed to the shoulder injury. The weird thing in this whole injury talk comes after Luck was at his best in the fourth quarter against the Titans (11-of-13 for 144 yards and two touchdowns). He definitely hurt it in the Tennessee game, not in practice (the Colts don't have practice on Monday's and quarterbacks aren't hit anyways at practice).
Wayne P (Middletown, CT)
With Freeman going down on Sunday what is the status on why Nate Irving wasn't put in to replace him?
Bowen: So far, we've seen Nate Irving log very little time in a defensive setting. Irving has played one defensive snap this year, 38 on special teams. The backups at linebacker right now are definitely Josh McNary and Sio Moore. You wonder if Irving's lack of early playing time is still due to his comeback from last year's ACL injury. Irving tore his ACL midway through the 2014 season so he's still less than a year removed from a serious injury, at a physical position with plenty of change in direction. Monitoring Irving's playing time in the coming weeks will be something to watch. Outside of Houston, the Colts will only play one traditional running team (Carolina) before their bye week in early November. Defending that style of play is a strength of Irving.
Sio B (Greenville, SC)
Some who overly critique the play of Andrew Luck in comparison to Brady, Rogers et. al are the same who were prepared to consign Brady and the Pats to the 'over-the -hill gang' in 2014 prior to their coalescence into 2014 SB Champs; do you see anything right now about this team that might cause a similar turn-around for the 2015 Colts, or even a reversal of fortune similar to the Giants of 2008 (SB XLll)? Thanks for your response Kevin.
Bowen: If we are talking about the first quarter of the season, the Colts haven't had the type of characteristics of a "Super Bowl" type team. Now, the good news is you don't have to look far back to see a Super Bowl team turn things around. You mentioned last year's Patriots and they are the perfect example of it (they were 2-2 at the quarter pole last year after a massive loss on Monday Nigh Football). The biggest areas for me going forward for the 2015 Colts comes in an improved pass defense and the offensive line to build off what we saw pass protection wise on Sunday. The run defense has been solid enough but the pass rush is going to have to be more consistent when you see (more playing time from Robert Mathis, getting Greg Toler back should help that) the quarterbacks coming up on the schedule---Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Peyton Manning. Offensively, obviously a healthy Andrew Luck is needed. If the line can begin to protect like they did on Sunday against Jacksonville that would go a long, long way in this offense finding more consistency.
Roy E. (Marion, IN)
Does Andrew enjoy the game? I'm sitting here watching the game, and Matt has a smile on his face every down. I don't recall seeing Andrew smile during a game.
Bowen: Roy, I don't know if there's a player on the Colts that enjoys the game of football more than Andrew Luck. Just because he's not smiling on every down doesn't mean he's not having a ball out there. Look at Luck's emotion after those missed field goals from Sunday. He looked like a little kid out there. Then you see in the post-game locker room speech how happy Luck is to see Matt Hasselbeck celebrating in the locker room. Here is Luck mic'd up for a game and I think you will see the joy he has playing the game of football.
Isak H. (Mexico City)I would like to ask two questions about people who are often not given enough credit from the media:
1- How did T.J. McCreight know he had to scout the Stanford DL so deeply?
2- This year, OLBs seem much more focused, and I got to give it up for Brad White, who apparently gets a promotion every year. Do the colts see in him the mentality of a young DC for the future?
Bowen: Two very off the radar questions enter the mailbag this week from our loyal follower south of the border. T.J. McCreight is the Colts Director of College Scouting. I would think he, along with Senior Scout Dave Razzano (who has the western territory) deserve plenty of credit for Henry Anderson and David Parry. If you've followed college football recently, you know that the Stanford defensive line and their entire unit has been one of the best in the nation. Factor that into Stanford playing a very similar scheme to the Colts and it makes plenty of sense for the scouting department to be attracted to two guys who were very disruptive during their college days, which has translated to the NFL. As far as Brad White, the Colts current outside linebacker coach, you are correct in that he has been promoted in virtually all four of his seasons in Indianapolis. White played at Wake Forest from 2002-2004 so he is definitely a young coach that Chuck Pagano obviously feels comfortable in granting more and more responsibility to. White's players have also spoken very highly of the young outside linebackers coach.
Zac N. (Indiana)
Kevin, after watching last Sunday's game I felt like the o-line pass blocked a lot better than in the first 3 games, which had a lot to do with the quick passes. With that said is it just Andrew holding the ball too long or was it simply the play calls Pep was calling? And also what's wrong with Andre Johnson? He's getting very few targets. Thanks so much!
Bowen: I think the combination of getting the ball out quicker plus the play of the Colts offensive line contributed to the offense not seeing the same type of pressure that came early in 2015. You know Matt Hasselbeck went into Sunday knowing that for the offense to have success, that ball had to come out a bit quicker. He's not the same athlete as Andrew Luck so credit the veteran Haselbeck and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton for adapting. As far as Andre Johnson, here is what Chuck Pagano had to say on Monday about the 13-year veteran having back-to-back games with zero catches: "We'd all love to see him have more catches to this point. I know he would. But again, he's a selfless guy. He's going to keep working, he's going to keep grinding. There were a couple of opportunities there (on Sunday). There was a deep ball there that could have gone either way. It would've been nice to see him make that play. It was tough and the guy kind of had one arm hooked on the TV copy and it would've been a really tough play and been a spectacular catch. There are other times nobody sees the opportunities. There's catch and run plays. There's a crosser that he's coming wide open on it and he's the first read in the progression on it and something happens to Matt. Matt loses the ball on the 35-yard line and the ball is on the ground and we get knocked out of field goal range there. We'll continue to keep grinding, he'll continue to keep grinding and hopefully get him going."
Keenan A. (California)
Any news on jerrell Freeman's injury? he is an underrated player and we missed him on Sunday against the jags. Yeldon was doing really well after freeman went out. Thanks Kevin and go colts!!
Bowen: Freeman suffered a groin injury on Sunday against Jacksonville and exited after three snaps. He missed Monday's "practice" and also sat out on Tuesday. Freeman is listed as "questionable" for Thursday night and appears to be the closest thing to a game-time decision the Colts have on that side of the ball.
Jay J. (Mandan, ND)
This is something I've been wondering about for quite a while, but didn't know whom to ask:
What purpose does those thin elastic bands on players' biceps and leg calves serve? Is it "just for show," or do they actually do something for the players' performances on the field?
Bowen: Jay, I didn't go to med school and am not good at pretending to be a doctor. Having said that, I believe those elastic bands are just for show. Trying to decipher between every player's game-day wardrobe would be a task in itself, so I must say I don't really get too caught up in what bands players are wearing on their bodies and their particular purpose/reasoning.