Colts Mailbag

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Colts Wednesday Mailbag: Why Did The Colts Not Elevate Duron Carter To The Active Roster?

Intro: This Wednesday, mailbag readers inquire about the utilization of Frank Gore, the health of Andrew Luck and the play of the Colts defense in 2015.

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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:Thomas C. (Connersville, IN)

With the injury to Dorsett, will the Colts elevate Duron Carter to the active roster or resign a vet like Reggie Wayne?

Bowen: We had several questions this week regarding the Colts bringing up Carter or even re-signing Wayne to the 53-man roster. On Tuesday afternoon, the Colts elevated undrafted rookie Quan Bray from the practice. The addition of Bray gives the Colts five healthy wide receivers on their active roster with Phillip Dorsett out for at least a month. Bray, an Auburn product, was a player the Colts staff loved during the offseason program. While Bray struggled to make an impact at wide receiver during the preseason, he does bring special teams return ability to the active roster, which he showed in August/September. If Griff Whalen can take the 20-25 percent of offensive reps Dorsett was getting, look for Bray to fill more of a special teams role on the active roster. I would say the special teams difference is a major reason why Bray was brought up over Carter.

David B. (Clearwater, FL)

Kevin,

Would like to say once again how proud I am of defense. Plus I don't mind saying I think the o-line is doing fairly well also.

How-ever I find the game plan or at lest the play calling terrible.

My ? is who is calling these plays? Our HC or OC? Bet Frank Gore wishes he had gone somewhere his talent could be used the {"WHOLE"} game.

Still here,,still fan.Go Colts RUN!RUN! RUN!

Bowen: Pep Hamilton knows that for the Colts to be able to give Frank Gore the type of workload they want to (likely right around 15-17 carries), his offense must stay ahead of schedule. Gore was used early on against the Saints, but then in a 3:55 span the Colts went from being tied, to down 20 points. Against New England, Gore was well on his way to a 100-yard night before the fake punt and subsequent 13-point deficit. Then the game plan followed the same script we saw in the comeback against Tennessee. If the Colts can maintain striking distance, that will allow the offense to stay unpredictable and give Gore plenty of opportunities. That, in turn, should force safeties to think twice about whether or not to offer run support, or play deeper to avoid the big plays through the air. Staying away from those drive-killing penalties might be the most important factor in allowing the offensive game plan to unfold how Pep Hamilton would like.

Andy H. (Bloomington, IN)

Thanks for taking these questions, Kevin. I know everyone hates the Manning/Luck comparisons, but one thing that I've noticed is that we never see Andrew on the sideline pouring over photographs/diagrams of the defenses like Manning used to. Is that a coaching thing or just the difference between the two guys and how they handle gameday?

Bowen: Andy, I think every quarterback has their own ways to go about in-game "adjustments" on the sideline. Luck is routinely talking with Matt Hasselbeck, Pep Hamilton and/or quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen in between series. Granted, I'm not watching the same TV copy you are each game, I don't know how often they show Luck on camera and what he's doing at that time. What we are seeing more teams using around the league are tablets to go through looks from previous drives. To each his own, I guess.

Marissa M. (Brandon, FL)

Kevin,

Been a colts fan with my boyfriend for a while, but I can't understand why Luck has looked so "off". He missed a bunch of throws on Sunday that many mediocre QBs should make. Any chance of sitting him while his shoulder heals and letting Hassleback play? He looked really good when he started those 2 games.

Thanks!

Bowen: Marissa, I don't see any chance we see Andrew Luck sitting out. We received a bunch of questions this week regarding the health of Luck. While the play of No. 12 obviously hasn't been up to his normal standards, I don't think it's a health issue. He's off the injury report and he's still making throws deep into games the last two weeks that a player with a shoulder problem just would not be able to make. He threw the ball 50 times in his first game back against New England. We saw Luck flawless in the first half versus the Patriots, then struggled in the final two quarters. Against New Orleans, Luck had his worst start to an NFL game before nearly leading the Colts back in the final 20 minutes. Trying to pinpoint Luck's inconsistencies right now is difficult. The Colts obviously need to see the Luck from the opening half against New England going forward for them to climb back over .500.

Zac N. (Butler, IN)

After watching the first 7 weeks I am at a loss for words at how inconsistent the Colts have looked so far this year. Our offense looks great at times especially last week against the Patriots and then lay an egg in the first half this week, a lot of it being Andrew Luck. Why can't he play like he did in the 4th quarter against the Titans and first half against the Patriots the entire game, along with the entire offense? Also why can our defense not play like they did against the Saints in the third and fourth quarter? It seems like they always need to be getting their butts kicked in order for them to wake up and start playing well. I'd like to hear you comments. Thanks!

Bowen: Since the Luck question was addressed above, let's focus on the Colts defense. The defense was put into some situations Sunday where the unit was forced to defend short fields, on more than one occasion. The Colts had success in defending Drew Brees, but had their worst outing of the season in stopping a Saints run game that had been struggling coming into last Sunday. The run defense has been better in 2015 and it has to be with Carolina possessing the top rushing attack in the NFL. It sounds like the defense will have the services of Mike Adams back against Carolina, which will obviously help the stability at the back end. One area where the defense needs to see more consistency is in the pass rush department. We did see Robert Mathis' playing time increase and production followed (Mathis had one sack and three quarterback hits on Sunday). If Mathis can continue to prove his disruption that should create other one-on-one chances for the Colts pass rush.

Ben D. (Voorhees, NJ)

How do you plan to fix the colts special teams? Will recent events lead to the cutting of Grif Whalen?

Bowen: In the past couple of weeks, we have seen special teams mistakes that have proven costly. Turnovers on special teams almost never correlate to teams winning that game. The Colts have seen that be the case the past two weeks. Simply eliminating those should be enough for the unit. The Colts are still No. 3 in punt return averaged allowed this season and No. 1 in kick return average allowed. As far as Whalen, his fumble was definitely a major play in the Saints taking a 20-0 point lead early on Sunday. The Colts did bring Quan Bray up to the active roster on Tuesday and he brings some return ability that we saw in the preseason. There's been no indication that Whalen will be removed as a returner this week, so we will have to see if Bray becomes an option there. There are about 20-25 percent of offensive reps that were vacated by the injury loss to Phillip Dorsett, so Whalen could certainly fill that role.

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