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Colts Wednesday Mailbag: Who Is The Colts Backup Quarterback This Week?

Intro: This Wednesday, mailbag readers inquire about the injury situation to Andrew Luck, how the rookies have performed in 2016 and the progress of Le’Raven Clark.

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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:Austin S. (Connersville, IN)

Hey Kevin thanks for answering my questions last week. One thing that bothers me about the Colts is they always have a good lead and decide to blow it in the 4th quarter. Like the games against Packers and Titans. They are up by a good amount but seem to take the gas off the pedal on both sides of the ball. Why do they do that? Colts could easily have a better record if they didn't do this. Just wondering what your thoughts are. Have a great Thanksgiving Kevin!

Bowen: Haha, I'm sure the staff wishes they knew why the Colts "decided to blow it." This is the NFL. Teams are good. Parity resides every year in this league. At no point in NFL history have we seen more one-possession games in this league. Consistency over 60 minutes is what the Colts are striving for and haven't been able to achieve for a bulk of 2016. Multiple factors are playing into this. Speaking specifically at last Sunday, it seemed like Dwayne Allen's drop followed by Adam Vinatieri's missed field goal changed things in a hurry towards the visiting sideline. If the Colts don't catch the Texans in 2016, they will point to that inconsistency, with dropped passes, turnovers, poor pass blocking and penalties being some common factors to why this team is .500.

Matt G. (Evansville, IN)

With Luck potentially out for Thursday, could you give some insight as to why Scott Tolzein is who we're planning to start rather than Stephen Morris?

From a fans perspective, I was impressed with Morris in the preseason and seemed to out play Scott. Not to mention he was far more entertaining to watch and his versatility to be able to tuck it and run seems like it could help us against this Pittsburgh defense that got 8 sacks last week.

Bowen: Chuck Pagano wouldn't reveal his answer at Tuesday's media availability, the last one of the week for the head coach. We get into more this below. But I would be surprised if the Colts went with Morris over Tolzien. You've kept Tolzien on the 53-man roster for a reason this year. That reason could come Thursday night.

Manny V. (Fresno, CA)

With Andrew Luck most likely sitting out on Thursday, would you say Stephen Morris will get a chance to start? During the preseason, he looked a lot better than Scott Tolzien. Also, his mobility is a factor that could help us with at least staying in the game. You're probably going to say Tolzien has more experience, but two games, at least to me, doesn't qualify him as a sure bet to play over Morris.

Bowen: If Andrew Luck can't go Sunday, I'd be very surprised if it's Stephen Morris, over Scott Tolzien, come Thursday night. Yes, I do think experience factors in big time. Morris has never thrown an NFL pass. Tolzien has been the starting guy on multiple occasions. Plus, think about what the two of have been doing for the past two and a half months. Morris has been a practice squad quarterback, working with the scout team. Tolzien has taken the occasional first-team reps, with Luck taking those maintenance days. For a likely one-game scenario, I think Tolzien is the better stop-gap option for the Colts.

John C. (Bellerose, NY)hi kevin who is our backup qb this week. I see nobody on the depth chart. just when it looks like we have a real chance to overtake texas this happens. steelers seem to be having some problems. after the last 2 games with them I thought this a game to measure how far we have come. now all bets are off. tolzien is capable. so lets see.thanks to Oakland for the help. LETS GO COLTS john cosides

Bowen: This question doesn't have a definite answer yet. With Andrew Luck not practicing and still in the concussion protocol, it's looking like Scott Tolzien would be the starter Thursday night. The educated guess would be the Colts bring up Stephen Morris from the practice squad to back up Tolzien. With Tolzien, he has two career NFL starts but hasn't thrown a meaningful pass since 2013. Morris had a very strong preseason, but has never thrown a pass in a regular season game. As of Wednesday morning, it's looking like Tolzien is the starter and a roster move would need to come to bring Morris up from the practice squad to be the backup Thursday night.

Zac N. (Indiana)

Very happy to see the Colts come through with the win on Sunday! My question is what's with Dwayne Allen? He dropped another pass Sunday, which in a way, turned the game and led to the Titans scoring a touchdown on their next drive. This year he's dropped a number of very catchable balls. (I.e. The Jaguars game in London that allowed the Jaguars to run out the clock for the win) He's not playing like someone who just got a new contract.

Bowen: Zac, I don't have much of an answer for you on the drops we've seen from Dwayne Allen. Per Pro Football Focus, Allen has two drops in 29 targets this season (in the Jaguars game and then last week). The drop by Allen on Sunday did seem to have a serious impact in how that game turned over the next quarter and a half. The Colts need more consistency out of Allen in the passing game. He's made some difficult catches this year, but those two drops really seemed to change those divisional contests.

Dan A. (Muncie, IN)

Hi Kevin! Happy Thanksgiving to you and the Colts Nation! My question is how would you rate the rookies at the mid point of this season? I'd also like to know if we are ever going to get Le'Raven Clark in the rotation or do you see him as more of a next year guy?

Bowen: Ryan Kelly checks the necessary boxes. The Colts have gotten more than they could have hoped from Joe Haeg. He's started in three places already and the fifth-round pick clearly is an important piece now, and going forward. T.J. Green has seen time on defense. He has room to grow, but you see the raw talent that the Colts believe will groom into a full-time starting safety. Defensive lineman Hassan Ridgeway is now a starter for this defense. Injuries have thrown Ridgeway into a more expanded role than many thought coming into 2016. Fellow fourth-round pick Antonio Morrison has settled into more of a special teams role. So, to sum it up, the Colts have three rookie starters, one that is playing a good amount on defense and another who is a special teams contributor. I think that's pretty much what people expected for the 2016 rookie class. Joe Haeg has been the surprise and many thought the defensive guys would be eased into their roles, before potentially becoming starters down the road. With Le'Raven Clark, expect a redshirt year. That was thought to be the case coming into 2016. Here is what line coach Joe Philbin had to say about Clark during the bye week: "He's getting better. He's getting better. Everybody comes from different experiences in their past (alluding to Texas Tech's offense for Clark not being an ideal immediate transition to the NFL for an offensive linemen). We've carved out some niches for him, some of them haven't really shown up situationally. He has gotten a lot of reps in the games but he's definitely making progress on a daily basis. (Assistant line coach Joe Gilbert) has been meeting with him extra and preparing him. He's doing well. Joe will get (Clark) on Thursday morning, Friday morning early. They will watch the tape, watch the fundamental tape to see his footwork is getting better, his punch is getting better here. Obviously that's in a drill situation and you need to take that to a game. We see him making progress."

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