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Colts Wednesday Mailbag: Will Donte Moncrief Have A Breakout Season In 2017?

Intro: This Wednesday, mailbag readers inquire about the leader in interceptions this coming season, a backup for Anthony Castonzo and evaluating Chuck Pagano in 2017.


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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:Chris M. (Sioux Falls, SD)

Hope you had a wonderful memorial day. My question is mainly focused on game time at Lucas oil. What section or corner do the players come in from, and when they leave at half time?. I want to buy tickets and can't remember where they came from last time I was there. Any info on which corner they come from or any other info for fans that come from other states away that don't get the pleasure of enjoying the greatest team play. Thanks

Bowen: The players enter and exit from the southwest tunnel of Lucas Oil Stadium. It's right below section No. 132. Gates open up 90 minutes before kickoff and players typically start trickling out of the tunnel around that time to begin their pre-game routine.

Sean M. (Ireland)

Hi Kevin, 
My question is, which Colts, if any, do you see having a breakout season and becoming elite (or somewhere close) this year? My money would be on Dontae Moncrief or Ryan Kelly, even though you could argue that Kelly is already one of the best at his position.

Bowen: I think Moncrief is a really strong choice. On defense, I have my eye on Henry Anderson. I believe being a full year and a half removed from that ACL will greatly benefit Anderson and get him back to the level that we saw in his 2015 rookie campaign. The Colts would love to see Anderson's return to form as they need better defensive play in the trenches this coming season.

James C. (England)

Hi Kevin how are you doing today? 
Since my last question the draft has happened.
1- I believe it should be considered as one of the best drafts on paper as I think Hooker was the steal of this draft, what do you think about that?
2- I feel like the position group with the most questions in terms of making the squad is the TE group. I really feel like Mo Ali- Cox could be a match up nightmare so could he be the third TE on the 52 roster?
3- Way too early thinking but onto the next draft. I believe it should be one of two positions. Either an Inside linebacker or an offensive tackle. What do you think?

Bowen: Doing well, James. 1. When you look around at the post-draft grades, the Colts are receiving pretty solid reviews with the letter grades around A or B. Taking care of several defensive needs has to be a reason why those pundits are liking what the Colts did in late April. 2. I would be really surprised if Alie-Cox was on the 53-man roster. This guy hasn't played football in nearly a decade. That's quite a jump to make the 53-man roster given that lack of experience. The third tight end spot is up for grabs. But I see Alie-Cox more as a practice squad body here in 2017. 3. Inside linebacker for sure. If Le'Raven Clark can make a jump in Year Two, then I don't think tackle is as big of a need as inside linebacker. Corner, pass rusher should still be high on the list. Maybe even a running back or wide receiver (depending on how the Colts handle that position next offseason).

Ian W. (Fort Wayne, IN)

Hey Kevin. I'm wondering about Luck and the receivers personal relationships. I know he can't practice, but do they still talk football and hangout? Also the ghost is great we all know this I'm also excited to see Moncrief and if he can turn into a thousand yard season type recover but mostly just become a great playmaker like T.Y. Do you think he (Donte) can make that jump with his new coach?

Bowen: They definitely do. Luck and the wideouts are still chatting quite a bit on, and off the field. Like I mentioned above, Moncrief is a definite name to watch this season. It's a contract year. He's healthy. And he's shown plenty of flashes in recent years that make you think he's on the verge of breaking out. Remember, Moncrief is just 23 years old. I'm steadfast in believing that Moncrief will have a strong 2017 and be a major part of the future here in Indy.

Gregory B. (Hartford, IN)

Hello Kevin, just want to thank you for giving Colts Nation a platform to discuss ALL THINGS COLTS. I always enjoy reading The Mailbag each week, Keep Up The Good Work! I've got a few questions, and would greatly appreciate your opinion. First, I anticipate significant change defensively moving forward with Mr Ballard. With the recent influx of younger talent via free agency,The Draft, and undrafted free agents, how many new starters do you anticipate to be on the field week 1 in Los Angeles? With that being addressed, in your opinion will this significantly improve a defense that really struggled in every phase of the game the past few seasons? If so... how many games should we anticipate winning this year, after coming off ANOTHER DISAPPOINTING 8-8 SEASON? IMO they should win At Least 10 games, but I honestly believe 11 wins will be the final outcome. Second, it never fails in the sporting world that many analysts overlook our Colts, rarely knowing much more about the team then #12. There seems to be a common theme amongst the majority that Houston is the team to beat in the AFC South, with Tennessee gaining on them to dethrone the reigning AFC South Champions. And let's not forget the ongoing winners of the off season Jacksonville Jaguars...LOL!!! Why is there such a disconnect with our Indianapolis Colts? We have the best qb in our division (in spite of all the teams defeciencies, Luck still had a great season in 2016. Almost winning the division, finishing a game back of Houston.) When we look at the other teams mentioned above, do you really think Houston is better then us after the off season additions each team has made? No Way!!! Tennesse??? Getting closer, but answer is NO! Jacksonville? Not with Blake Bortles, same can be said of Houston and their consistent lack of qb talent. This really aggrevates me as a True Blue Colts Fan for 30 years. What would you accredit to the lack of respect that our Colts receive? Thanks again for the platform to discuss the game we all love, Keep Up The Good Work. GO HORSE

Bowen: 1. I'm seeing around 8 new starters on defense. Offense, you will have Mo Alie-Cox and that's really it, in my mind. 2. I've got the Colts in the 10-to-11 win range this coming season. 3. The Colts are coming off back-to-back 8-8 seasons and their franchise QB isn't participating this offseason. The other teams in the division have made strides (the Titans and Texans) and the Jaguars continue to be really active in player acquisition. I'm not too worked up over the Colts not garnering the same sort of attention as the other teams in the South. Go out and take care of business, the attention will come.

Marissa M. (Tampa, FL)

Hi Kevin! 
Looking at some of the OTA picks, it looks like Antonio Morrison got him a little belly over the offseason lol. Is he trying to put on weight or just got a little too used to the Indiana French fries ?? Lol

Also- standing next to castanzo and mewhort, Joe haeg looks pretty small.... are the colts looking to add weight to him this offseason?

Bowen: My days of judging players' physiques are long gone. I'd be lying to you if I said I knew how much these guys actually weigh compared to the weights listed on the roster. I know Haeg said earlier this offseason that he wanted to get stronger going into his first full NFL offseason. Morrison has always been thick in the upper body. That's why he's known for being strong against the run.

Justin C. (Virginia)

Hello, Kevin. Hope all is well and the weather is cooperating for you and the 300k fans at the Indy 500! I didn't know there were 4 holes inside the track at the IMS until you mentioned in the mail bag. Who gets to play these holes and are they par 3's? I could talk golf all day. My questions is about rookie RB, Marlon Mack. I've seen him listed at many different sizes from 5'10 3/4" 205 lb, 5'11 5/8" 213 lb and now on the Colts app in his player profile, it lists him at 6'0" 210. As we all know, size can mean a great deal at RB as far as what type of back one may be (every down, scat, downhill, etc.), where said RB is most likely to excel and gives an idea of durability. While this logic obviously doesn't apply to all because of so many other factors and some can just do it all i.e. Frank Gore, MJD, AP. I would just like to know, which is the most accurate of the three? Is he more in the mold of Ferguson (5'10" 200) or say Edgerrin James (6'0" 215) as far as his physical make up goes? Either way, I am very excited for what he brings to the Colts.


Bowen: Justin, the weather was great on Sunday. Thank you, Mother Nature. There's actually 4 holes inside the IMS. A par three, and three par 4s. They are holes 7-10 on the Brickyard Crossing Golf Couse, a wonderful Pete Dye track. I'd say Mack is bigger than I thought he would be. He's longer than I thought. Now, I have no clue what Mack will be like physically when it's time to thump up and block somebody blitzing. The James to Ferguson comparison is too spread out. I'd say Mack is closer to James than Ferguson though. But that gap is still huge.

Alex G. (Osgood, IN)

Who will lead the Colts with interceptions in 2017?

Bowen: Let's go with Malik Hooker, although I think Darius Butler could challenge Hooker, depending on how much the veteran safety plays this coming year.

Sergio D. (Rhode Island)


Thanks again for work in keeping us Colts fans informed.

Mike Wells wrote a column this week on the future of Coach Pagano. I have never been a big fan of Pagano as a coach, he's an outstanding individual but in my eyes he doesn't hold players responsible for their performances. It's OK to be cheer leader but as a coach you need results. 
What do think is his status for this coming year knowing that Irsay has been quoted that Pegano is our coach? What would it take for him to maintain his job for 2018 and to lose it on 2017?


Bowen: Check out this story for more on Jim Irsay and Chris Ballard evaluating Chuck Pagano this coming season. They say there's no hard-win count for Pagano to achieve. There's other areas of coaching that they will be looking to for their full evaluation. If the Colts can get back into the playoffs and Pagano makes the strides as a coach, I'd expect him to remain on the sidelines.

Kade M. (Texas)

What is the hardest position to make the transition from college to the NFL?

Bowen: Has to be quarterback, particularly for those playing in spread offenses. I do think other positions are tough to make the jump but it has to be quarterback, with everything that goes into that position at the professional level.

Rico W. (Tulsa, OK)

Hi Keven,
What do you think will take place if the team starts out at 0-2 as it has the last few seasons?

Thanks, Colt Strong

Bowen: It won't be good at all. The Colts cannot afford another start like that. I think the start of the season is the easiest part of the schedule. The Colts have a real chance at starting 4-1 with their 2017 slate. Going 0-2 for a fourth straight year would be really tough to dig out of considering the improvements everyone expects from the rest of the division.

Willie B. (Indianapolis)

Hi Kevin , If Anthony Castonzo were to get injured who would be his replacement? I am not sure there is a backup left tackle on the current roster.

Bowen: Would it be Joe Haeg? The rookie played/started at three spots in 2016. Left tackle was not one of them. But Haeg played there in college and I think he has the versatility to log time there in a pinch. That's my guess.

Jim S. (Carmel, IN)

Hey nice job Kevin. Can you see any tight ends in jeopardy of being cut that might provide some depth at that position when preseason ends?

Bowen: I do not know other team's rosters that well to predict roster cuts elsewhere that the Colts could nab up. But I do agree that the tight end position is one to watch for the Colts claiming a player for the 53-man roster. The No. 3 tight end spot is wide open in my eyes.

JP K. (Pittsburgh)

So I was thinking about the Mailbag, and was wondering if you guys have ever thought about updating it to add more features where the fans could interact more. I really think the Mailbag is terrific and I read it all the time, but I am also very curious to see what the rest of Colts Nation thinks about your answers. Do they agree? Disagree? Or have any deeper insight? I am aware that there are forums where fans can create threads to chat about different topics but what if you guys implemented a feature that allowed fans to comment on the answers that you provide. Sort of like the system twitter uses with tweets. All replies are hidden until the user selects the tweet and can then see the talk about that specific Q/A. I would love to see something like this happen. Nonetheless thanks for everything Bowen!

Bowen: Have you checked out the fan forum? It sounds like you have. Head here for that. Also check out the comments section on the bottom of each mailbag. I also encourage fans to tweet at me with questions for a more immediate update.

Rodney H. (Avon, IN)

Hey Kevin first time caller Long time listener. Lol. Just wanted to get your opinion of whether or not play Clayton Geathers well actually play football this year. I have read some articles saying that with that type of injury it can take months if not years to heal. He is one of my favorite players on the team and I really hope he is able to play. Our defense will need him. But if he is unable to go how do you see the safety position playing out roster wise? Thanks for always answering our questions. Also just wondering what high school you went to and also if you played football in college? Or what sports you played growing up?

Thanks and have a good weekend

Bowen: I've seen various reports on how long the recovery is for surgery on a neck. Some think that surgery could have him back for the start of Training Camp. Others think it could keep him off the field for a chunk of the regular season. I do know that Chuck Pagano and Chris Ballard have spoken before this offseason about Geathers being ready to play in 2017. We'll see what happens come late July at camp. The safety position is anyone's guess. If Geathers is out, I think a starting combination of Malik Hooker and Darius Butler makes sense. Then when you go to the sub package, T.J. Green gets more involved, possibly playing that dime linebacker role, too. I went to high school here at Cathedral in Indianapolis (same graduating class as Jack Doyle). I was a golfer in high school. We had a nice run there at Cathedral on the links and it's a sport I still love to play to this day.

The analysis from those producing content on does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.

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