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Colts Wednesday Mailbag: Who Will Start On The Colts Defensive Line In 2016?

Intro: This Wednesday, mailbag readers inquire about where the offensive line has improved, finding another individual pass rusher and how the cancellation of the Hall of Fame game hurts the Colts.

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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:John D. (Dickson City, PA)

Hi Kevin long time reader , first question I have submitted,! I am very interested in the development of Curt Maggitt . Is he flying under the radar at camp ?I don't here anything about him . I watched all his film and believe if healthy he can be a quarterback nightmare. Can you give any info on how he is doing in camp when he is able to get reps? Thank you Kev !! Go Colts !!

Bowen: An ankle injury kept Maggitt out of camp for a large portion of the first half of the Colts' stay in Anderson. He's since returned to practice. I was up in Canton so I missed a couple days of practice. On Tuesday, Maggitt was still working with the reserves. The preseason reps are vital for Maggitt. He hasn't played a game of football since last September because of a hip injury. We need to see what Maggitt can do in a live setting to see if he can get back to the level of play displayed as a junior at Tennessee. There might not be an undrafted free agent more in need for game reps.

Danny S. (Indianapolis)

I really enjoy reading your mailbag, everyone has great questions and you give straight answers without beating around the bush. We'll done. My question is about Running Backs. Before, we always pride on ourselves in having a top back in the league, starting with Joseph Addai and since, we have gone to running back by committee while other teams is continuing or starting to employ a featured back. We have Robert Turbin who I believe with a chance to be a feature back is capable of being a very good every down back and still has a lot of years left. I don't know much about Josh Ferguson except all the praises he's getting from his coaches and teammates. With us, now having a feature back in Frank Gore, who will not be around much longer, do you think, or have you heard anything about us going back to starring a feature back after Gore is gone. What are your thoughts from what you've seen and heard about Robert or Josh manning the backfield as the main man? I also want to give a shout out to Donte Moncrief, I always liked him as an upcoming player, he just really earned my respect as a man. Thanks, always a pleasure to read

Bowen: Danny, thanks for following along. Robert Turbin and Jordan Todman signed one-year contracts this offseason. Both have a chance in Indianapolis to prove themselves and possibly earn multi-year deals in 2017. Turbin has characteristics that make you believe he could be a feature back in this league. When the Colts signed Turbin this offseason, he didn't shy away from the opportunity he had in Indy to prove himself. But if the Colts are really looking for a true feature back going forward, you have to think the 2017 draft would be a very attractive route. It's a deep class and getting a rookie on a four-year deal would allow for development with the skill positions already set elsewhere.

Andrew B. (Terre Haute, IN)

With Art Jones and probably Henry Anderson being out week 1 Who do you think will start on the D-line next to Kendall Langford and David Perry?

Bowen: Zach Kerr is your likely option there. Kerr, a 2014 undrafted free agent, started the final four games in that spot last season. He's atop the depth chart (right now) and the Colts have found a surprise in yet another undrafted free agent. If Langford is ready for Week One, but Anderson isn't back yet, then Kerr would be the guy.

Ronnie O. (Cape Coral, FL)

As a Colts fan, why should I be excited about this year's potential Offensive line when the Colts may return four out of the five from last year? It is no secret why all our Quaterbacks went on IR or out for the season in 2015.

Bowen: For the record, it does look like Denzelle Good could be supplanting Hugh Thornton at the right guard spot. That would give the Colts two new starters up front, both in the interior. When the Colts spoke on the offensive line this past offseason, the interior was the specific area for improvement. Anthony Castonzo and Joe Reitz can more than adequately hold things down on the edge. It was the interior, particularly the center and right guard spots that the Colts wanted to improve. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Ryan Kelly's addition offers a trickle down of improvement throughout the unit. Having confidence in the communication coming from the center position is so important. If Kelly and Good (if he does indeed start) prove to be ready Week One, there inclusion in the lineup should give the Colts a major upgrade in the middle of the trenches. As Chuck Pagano said Tuesday: "The biggest question mark was at right guard in my mind..."

Dustin B. (San Diego)

First of all i grew up in the nay area and hawaii watching the 49ers with joe montana jerry rice roger craig roinnie lott and others. after taking about 10 years off from bieng a football fan i watched andrew luck play in the post season in 2014. ive been a colts fan ever since. something about the character and heart of colts really got me back into football. I read your q&a each week. my question is about trent richardson. the colts seem like the type of team to care about and give players another shot. do you think they would consider giving trent another shot? practice squad or soomething? i think he could learn a great deal from gore and possible become a great rb.

Bowen: Well, I didn't expect this sort of question. Dustin, I don't see any chance of this happening. The Colts brought in two veteran backups this offseason in Robert Turbin and Jordan Todman. I'm afraid the days for Trent Richardson in the NFL are history.

Jacob H. (Encinitas, CA)

Kevin, I'm excited for this upcoming season don't get me wrong, but I'm also eager for the upcoming draft as well. The Colts have plenty of positions where we need to get younger and more talented at. In my opinion, the positions we need to address the most are: OLB, ILB, and RB. I'd also like to see us take a good CB and another safety that way we have good depth. So lets fast forward to April 2017, the draft is just a day away and the Colts have the 26th pick in the draft. What does GM Kevin Bowen see as our primary positions of need, and in which rounds does he address them?

Bowen: Nothing gets me going like draft questions in August (that was a joke). It's difficult to predict what the positions of need will look like months from now. I've been asked this sort of question a couple of times in the recent months. I stick by my running back/pass rushing need atop the list. I'd probably lean more towards pass rushing, if you want to have a position in that top slot. After that, more defensive depth would not hurt.

Caleb D. (Columbus, OH)

Would you think that Robert Mathis or any other defensive player could get in double digits for sacks this year?

Bowen: I see Mathis right around a dozen sacks in 2016. If that does indeed happen, it's going to be difficult for another individual to record a double-digit sack season. Last year, just 17 players in the NFL reached the 10-sack mark. Houston was the only team with two double-digit sackers in 2015. I'll put Kendall Langford and Erik Walden as my best guesses, after Mathis.

Luke R. (Rochester, NY)

Hey Kevin,

Now that the NFL Season has (finally!) come upon us, I have some questions

  1. I see the Colts as a playoff team in 2016, but until a good running game, and good defense, we're no Super Bowl champs. In your eyes, who will have to go, and who will have to come to the team for us to truly be contenders?
  1. Now with Ted Monachino, who has had success with linebackers (C.J. Mosley, Dumervil, and Terrell Suggs), will we be seeing different linebackers than before, and if so, who?

Bowen: 1. The Colts would love another individual pass rusher that would draw attention from opposing blocking schemes. Plus with Robert Mathis rising in age, the Colts could use a younger pass rusher to eventually become the team's dominant edge guy. 2. Fans should expect to see much more of Nate Irving and Sio Moore this season. Both were in Indianapolis last year, but the Colts' inside linebackers for all of 2015 were Jerrell Freeman and D'Qwell Jackson. Irving and Moore don't have a real similar skillset, but Monachino likes the ability to use each of them in matchup type roles.

Zach M. (Goose Creek, SC)

Good Morning, Mr. Bowen! I'm sure you are receiving several letters this week about the cancelled Hall of Fame Game but I'm going to ask in case somebody doesn't. So I know this game was very important to some of the guys struggling to make the roster and prove themselves. Which players do you think this impacts the most? Thanks!

Bowen: The cancellation of the Hall of Fame game definitely impacts the backend of the roster guys the most. When the Colts brought in their undrafted class this season, several of them mentioned the allure of playing an extra preseason game being something that was attractive about signing with the Colts. Now, the chance for an extra game tape on the resume is gone. That of course shrinks the amount of opportunities those guys will get with roster cuts coming after the next three preseason games (Aug. 30).

Eli D. (Del Rey, CA)

Hi Kevin,

Q1: As a big fan of Josh Ferguson, Curt Maggit, and Tevaun Smith. I'd like to know what you think are their chances of making the 53 man roster?

Q2: Can you give us an update on Geathers and Anderson and will they be good to go by week 1?

Go Colts

Bowen: 1. On paper, all three of those guys are in position groups with battles going on for those final spots. Josh Ferguson has to have the best chance though. He's been receiving some first-team reps in Anderson. Smith is going to have a lot of competition from a quantity standpoint though. With Maggitt, he must prove himself in a game setting after battling back from a hip injury, which ended his college career early. 2. We don't have any specific updates on those guys. Anderson is ahead of schedule and his rehab work during Training Camp practices looks promising. For those two guys to be ready Week One, they will likely have to practice at some point later this month.

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