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:Michael Smith (New Castle)
are the colts going to wear white jersey this Saturday?
Bowen: Like past preseasons, the Colts will wear their white uniforms in the first home game at Lucas Oil Stadium. The offense is wearing white during practice this week, which means that will be the jersey color come Saturday night for the entire team.
Ryker Larsen (Price, UT)
I've missed some of the training camp days on TV and haven't heard much about Adam Vinatieri. How do you think he will do this regular season? Have his skills degraded or is he still on top of his game?
Bowen: I haven't seen much of a "degrading" in Vinatieri's game. There were several days in Anderson where Vinatieri was perfect at camp and then, of course, a couple days where he missed a few field goals. I think after 19 NFL seasons, Vinatieri has earned the Hall of Fame talk he continues to receive. I can't imagine much of a drop off from Vinatieri after arguably the best season of his Canton-like career last year.
Travis Mullins (Scottsburg, IN)
With luck and the colts having so many weapons will the colts still be using a two Tight end set often enough to get coby and dwayne plenty of reps?
Bowen: This is a good question, Travis. We saw on Sunday the Colts operate out of their base-set (two tight ends, two wide receivers) on nearly all of the plays the first-team offense ran. Judging by that, I do think we will see plenty of double tight end looks from the Colts in 2015. Pep Hamilton loves the unpredictability that personnel grouping does to a defense. Sure, there will be times the Colts will adapt and employ more three and or four wide receiver looks this season, but I do think we will still see a nice dose of Allen and Fleener on the field together in 2015.
Alex Cotterman (New Palestine, IN)
I liked what I saw out of the starers in limited time and with several players limited. I also really liked how Josh Robinson and Bryan Bennett played. Bennett reminds me of Colin Kaepernick. But now my question. Are the Colts going to be able to fix the sloppy, sloppy tackling that they had on Sunday? If not it could be a long year.
Bowen: That's definitely a priority for Chuck Pagano and the Colts defense heading into Week Two of the preseason. Against Chip Kelly's spread look, tackling is even more of a premium with so many plays in space having to be made. Sloppy tackling is typically a trend in Week One of the preseason, with teams rarely tackling all the way to the ground in camp nowadays. I think making concrete assessments after two starting drives, against such a unique scheme, would be a bit premature. These next two weeks should be a better evaluation for what the starting defense will look like against more natural offensive systems.
Kevin Rudge (Schoolcraft, Michigan)
who will be the kick and punt returnurs this season?
Bowen: It looks like Phillip Dorsett will definitely be the team's punt returner in 2015. As far as kick returner, Boom Herron is the current starter. That spot seems to be more undecided though with guys like Donte Moncrief and potentially Duron Carter fitting in back there. None of the Colts kick returners made a major impression Sunday in Philadelphia, so I assume that job is still Herron's heading into Week Two of the preseason.
Brian McMillam (Ft Myers, FL)
Have you any information or thoughts on how negotiations are going on contract extensions for A Castonzo and D Allen? Will they be negotiated throughout the season or do the Colts and/or players agents not want that distraction during the season? Is it possible for Dwayne and Coby to both remain on the team $$ wise ?
Thanks and keep up the good work, especially for those of us out of state.
Bowen: A bunch of questions here from Brian and unfortunately there are not too many definite answers (right now). The Colts are in contract talks currently with Anthony Castonzo and Jim Irsay has made it clear they would like to get that deal done before the start of the season. The tight end contract debate is something that will likely extend throughout 2015. Can the Colts keep both? That might be a money crunch, but we won't know that answer until we see how the deals for Castonzo and possibly Andrew Luck play out. I tend to think that any decisions on the futures for Allen and Fleener will have to wait until after the season.
Tommy G (Utah)
It seems like the most talked about rookies so far have been Dorsett and Geathers. That being said how have D'Joun Smith and Henry Anderson been doing? I haven't heard too much about them yet. It kind of seems like Smith is making highlights for receivers because I keep hearing about people are catching tds on him. He was one of my favorite picks and had good things said about him by the draft experts.
Bowen: Let's start with Smith. He's currently under concussion protocol after playing eight snaps in the preseason opener. The Colts have thrown Smith into their secondary and placed him all over their cornerback spots, preparing him to be ready for any role there. With Vontae Davis and Darius Butler banged up in Anderson, Smith received plenty of first-team work. With that, comes matchups against arguably the NFL's best receiver group. Smith, himself, has acknowledged the challenge he has had in defending the likes of T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson etc. There's obviously a step up in competition from Conference USA to facing the talented Colts wideouts. I'm anxious to see what Smith looks like in the rest of the preseason. As far as Anderson, he had some nice moments Sunday against Philadelphia. It's hard to truly judge defensive linemen in Training Camp, so the next two weeks should offer more of an idea of how much Anderson will help in 2015.
Ben Welp (Evansville, IN)
I still don't understand our 1st round draft pick this year? We didn't need a wr. I know Grigson said he was best available but in my opinion Dorsett wasn't even the best wr available. Football games are won in the trenches which also happens to be our biggest problem (our O-line and D-line). In my opinion I feel we should have drafted a big guy to fill glaring holes there. Drafting Dorsett did nothing to improve our chances of beating the patriots. Too much emphasis is put on the 40 yard dash time. Our run defense was awful last year and Malcolm brown was still available. Guess who picked him? The patriots. The patriots arguably got the biggest steal of the draft with the LAST pick in the 1st round. The patriots were able to fill a glaring hole with the loss of Vince wilfork. The pick of Dorsett was not Grigson's best move. Don't get me wrong Dorsett is a tremendous athlete but that is not a good enough reason to waste our only 1st round draft pick in 2 years. So my question is why did Grigson choose a player from the wr position which happens to have the best depth on our roster of any position?
Bowen: These questions have returned to the weekly mailbag. The Colts have made been adamant all offseason long that they must become a more consistent run defense. They feel a healthy Arthur Jones, free agent addition Kendall Langford, the drafting of Henry Anderson, and improved play by defensive line returnees will go a long way in seeing that area get better. I think what people forget about that New England game is how the Colts offense wasn't able to muster much consistency with T.Y. Hilton taken away. In the AFC Championship, the Colts receivers were targeted 12 times for just two completions. That ratio isn't going to cut it in a game of such magnitude. Jim Irsay has talked about when you play those elite teams it's often the more under the radar matchups that can decide the game. Having a dynamic player like Dorsett (to go along with the other wideouts) might force defenses to pause when thinking about contributing many of their top resources to one player (Hilton).
Eduardo E Clavell (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
Hi Kevin,I know it's still early, but how do you see the wide receiver position playing out? My guess is we will only keep 5 wideouts. Since T.Y. Hilton, Johnson & Moncreif are locks,what other 2 do you see making the team. I'll go with Carter and Whalen(since I haven't heard much of Vincent Brown). What do you think?
Bowen: Well, let's not forget about first-round pick Phillip Dorsett. I think it's safe to say Dorsett will be on the team's 53-man roster come September. That's where the numbers get difficult. Last year, the Colts kept six wide receivers on their 53-man roster so they could have two spots to fill after those four "locks." Duron Carter definitely showed potential in Training Camp to warrant plenty of roster consideration. Right now I think Carter leads the rest of the wide receiver group for one of those final spots. Whalen, Brown and even the undrafted Quan Bray could factor into a spot, too (likely going to depend on special teams).
Gerry S (Canada)
With such an obviously deep group of wide receivers, do you see any possibilities of trading one of them for a draft choice next year?
Bowen: This is the time of year where we see the occasional trade as teams look at their deep spots on the roster. Last year, the Colts were able to trade cornerback Marcus Burley for a sixth-round pick, after Burley had a tremendous camp/preseason. I'm not sure though if the Colts would get much value for their wideouts currently. Following the preseason opener, Chuck Pagano wants to see more out of those "backend" of the roster guys at the receiver position. You don't know how long Andre Johnson is going to keep playing so there's clearly a need to hold on to guys like T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett. I don't see a trade coming from the wide receiver group, but that could change if those guys impress in the coming preseason games.