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Colts Wednesday Mailbag: Why Couldn't The Colts Establish The Run Game On Sunday?

Intro: This Wednesday, mailbag readers inquire about the play starts for the Colts, Duron Carter’s future and the play of the Colts defensive line.


INDIANAPOLIS – Each week, readers of 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:Howard M. (Kendallville, IN)

It has been apparent to me in the last few years that the Colts are such a slow starting team. I would love to see the Colts on there 1st possession of a game just march down the field and take it to the opposing team. Instead we start slow. We go three and out. We are sluggish and do not wake up until the 2nd half. Do you think it is bad preparation on game day, bad coaching, or just lack of excitement until the game is on the line?

Bowen: If you recall last season, the Colts dominated the opening quarter through really the first few months of the season. In 2014, the Colts outscored their opponents by 33 points in first quarters. Obviously, this wasn't the case on Sunday. A pair of promising early drives in Buffalo ended after back-to-back penalties and then a turnover (a lack of field position also played into the first-half struggles). I don't think there's any sort of trend for sluggish starts. It's always a priority to get off to a fast start, especially in road environments where the crowd is rearing to go from the opening kick.

Isak H. (Mexico City)

Hi. I was wondering, when you have two players like Denzelle Good and Tyler Varga, and you are picking at 255, what leads an NFL GM to draft unknown D-II Denzelle Good over a guy who the team wants who is a priority free agent upon that point? At the end, we knew about Varga, but had never heard about Good. Same thing could be said about John/Kerr last year, but in 2014, our last pick was far from the end of the draft, so it's harder to know what will 20 teams do.

Bowen: This is a good question, Isak. In my years of following the NFL Draft, the rhyme or reason to what teams do in the seventh round is way above my head. It baffles me each year some of the resumes we see of some draft picks, compared to those that go undrafted. However, for 32 teams to pass on certain guys there's obviously reasons. My assumption is that often those late seventh-round picks are guys that teams don't want to take a chance passing on, thus risking them to the undrafted free agent market.

John S. (Newark, NY)

Why did Colts give up on the ground game almost immediately

Bowen: Chuck Pagano has touched on this subject a couple of times since Sunday. Pagano's general answer is the Bills defensive looks at the line of scrimmage dictated what the Colts did from a play calling standpoint. This is what Pagano had to say on Monday regarding this subject: "You send the quarterback to the line of scrimmage with some options and based on the look, will dictate which play you end up in. We like to end up in the best play possible. Having said that, we need to have the ability to be able to just run it. (Frank Gore) popped some good gains, first play of the game. I think he averaged 3.9 on the few carries that he had, so we've got to be better there."

Philo V. (Lacey, WA)

I love the Colts no matter what, but there's to much talk of getting to the SB but no action at all. Whats that old saying, "Action speak louder than words." Anyways get your head in the game guys! My question, how is Griff Whalen made it to the roster and not Duron Carter? I mean, I like both guys, but in reality Duron is more athletic. Don't you agree Kevin? Thank you.

Bowen: Is Duron Carter more athletic than Griff Whalen? Sure. But at this point in their careers, in a pinch, you would rather have Whalen out there with the Colts offense. Carter's shining preseason didn't translate completely to game action, hence why the Colts decided to sign him to their practice squad. With Whalen, you have a reliable target who has played meaningful snaps for this Colts offense in the past few years. Take Sunday for example. With T.Y. Hilton in the locker room, the Colts could use Whalen and there wasn't an issue on his knowledge of the two-minute offense. Carter's time in the NFL and in this offense is still so fresh. I do believe his time will come but for now it makes complete sense to have Whalen on the 53-man roster. If any injury happens to a Colts wide receiver (i.e. T.Y. Hilton's), Whalen can be called upon and the transition should be seamless from a mental standpoint.

Wyatt M. (League City, TX)

Will there continue to be the Horseshoe FAQ podcast every Friday on There wasn't one last week and it's something I really look forward to and enjoy.

Bowen: Wyatt, Horseshoe FAQ will be making its return this Friday and will continue throughout the season.

Brian M. (Fr. Myers, FL)

I realize this is the night before the 1st game of the season, but I am pleasantly surprised at the filling of depth on the D line since the cuts to 53. Our D line and run defense was not that bad last year and was respectable except for 2 games. I feel the line is now in better shape than last year athletically and the rotation and ability to move virtually anyone anywhere on the line will create problems for opposing offenses. Am i being realistic or dreaming to big ? Your thoughts ? Thanks Kevin.

Bowen: Chuck Pagano was asked about his starting defensive line earlier this week and was pleased with what he saw. The player that certainly caught his eye was rookie Henry Anderson. The Colts third-round pick was extremely active against the Bills, finishing with nine tackles (eight solo), which is a remarkable number for an interior lineman. Kendall Langford made a couple of nice plays as well on Sunday. Outside of two Karlos Williams runs and some Tyrod Taylor scrambles, the Colts run defense had a solid outing, especially against LeSean McCoy (2.4 yard-average on 17 carries for McCoy). I'm interested to see how the depth of the Colts defensive line is used going forward, as Langford and Anderson are going to have to play a lot. Maybe new addition Billy Winn will factor into that in the coming weeks. On Thursday, will have more on Winn, who the Colts traded for last Friday.

Bill T. (North Haven, CT)

Who are the gunners on our special teams?

Do the colts have a roster for special teams?

Bowen: The Colts gunners on Sunday were safety Winston Guy and cornerback Sheldon Price. I'm not sure if those names will be set in stone for 2015 because often those spots come as a result of who is on the 46-man game day roster. As far as a "roster" for special teams, that would be pretty difficult to assign a complete depth chart. Those positions can fluctuate majorly from week-to-week. Again, like gunner, the special teams "roster" for a game largely depends on the guys who are dressing that week.

Skyler S. (Flandreau, SD)

Big colts fan. Born in 1994 and I still clearly remember the steelers "shoestring" game, the 06 champ game vs NE and the 4th 2 game very clearly. My question, is there a chance Shawn oakman or another dominant defensive lineman will be available come our pick (hopefully 31st) since NEs was forfeited. I think oakman would solidify our D. Would he be more DT or De material for us? Thanks! #gocolts #Bleedblue #OneMission

Bowen: I'm afraid we have opened the can on our draft questions being sent into the mailbag. This is our second straight mailbag with a draft question, even though the actual draft is more than eight months away. It seems like Baylor's Shawn Oakman (arguably the most intimidating figure in college football) could fit in at several spots on the defensive line. I'm sure a Colts future defensive line pair of Oakman and Anderson would look pretty good to Colts fans.

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