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Colts Wednesday Mailbag: Will We See Higher Percentage Throws From Andrew Luck In 2016?

Intro: This Wednesday, mailbag readers inquire about why the Colts cut Stevan Ridley, who could start next to inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and where the pass rush is going to come from in 2016.

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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:Rico W. (Tulsa, OK)

Hey Kevin, Why release Stevan Ridley? Was he injured?

Thanks, Colts Strong

Bowen: No injury for Ridley, but he had just 11 rushing yards in nine carries in the preseason finale last Thursday. I get into it more below, but the Colts do really like the other backs they have. Like Chuck Pagano said last week, the Colts wanted to "kick the tires" on Ridley. They did that. Also, Ridley isn't a special teams guy, and that's a key in the job responsibilities for a backup running back.

Ryan D. (Arizona)

Hi Kevin,

My question is this... Is there any concern over Lucks health going into the regular season this year? He didn't play all that much in the pre-season and when he did he was passing a lot of short passes. Is this a result of the coaching wanting him to get rid of the ball quicker?

Bowen: Andrew Luck played seven series over the course of three quarters this preseason. Frankly, that's on the high end of playing time for most starting quarterbacks in the month of August. Luck was 21-of-26 for 80.1 percent, a very high percentage that actually led NFL quarterbacks this preseason. I think there is a change in how the Colts want to attack defenses this season. Check this article out for a little more insight into that. We've seen Luck take every meaningful first-team rep in the offseason program in Training Camp and in the preseason.

Josh W. (Marion)

I have submitted questions to you a couple of times in the past. My question involves the Colts need for depth at running back. I seen that the Bills released Boom Herron. Any chance that the Colts do a repeat of last year and sign him after he was cut by Buffalo? I know obviously he is not a starter but has done good for the Colts in the past. I have always been a fan of his and would love to see him in Indy again.

Bowen: Josh, I don't see Boom coming to Indy right now. The Colts really like their quartet of runners, particularly the different skillsets each one brings to the running back position. Both Robert Turbin and Jordan Todman have been important backups on playoff teams recently. Then in Josh Ferguson, similar to Todman, the Colts have a speed element there. It will be interesting to see just how the reps are divided up for this group in 2016, with Frank Gore the obvious go-to guy.

Wyatt M. (League City, TX)

Did you guys do away with the Horseshoe FAQ podcast? I really enjoyed listening to those.

Bowen: Wyatt, now that we are back into the regular season, we will be starting them up on Friday. Look for them each Friday, probably late morning. They will once again recap the week of practice/injuries and preview the upcoming game.

Dustan K. (Fort Wayne, IN)

I thought t smith did good for us this preseason do u know why they cut him.He and rodgers were the best we had at that group i thought n it would have been nice to keep both of them.Thanks for your time and go colts cant wait for next sunday #coltsnation

Bowen: I think it came down to a numbers situation with Tevaun Smith. He had a solid preseason for the Colts, but it was going to be very difficult to keep six wide receivers on the 53-man roster. Remember, with the new touchback rule in 2016, kick returns are likely going to be much more prevalent this season. That means Quan Bray's ability is needed even more. The Colts clearly like Smith, hence the reason they put him on the practice squad.

Wayne P. (Middletown, CT)

Hi Kevin, I'm sure many of us Colt fans were shocked to hear that Nate Irving was cut from the roster. We thought he and Sio Moore were going to be the ILB next to Jackson. Plus - Nate had a really good pre-season. Can you explain the reason for his release?

Bowen: Wayne, this very topic led off my Monday Notebook. In case you missed it, head here for that link. In short, the Colts felt their younger guys at inside linebacker have more of a special teams presence. Remember this staff is very high on Sio Moore (who is still getting back from his hamstring injury) and Antonio Morrison.

Dustin B. (Gretna, VA)

Hey Kevin, it's been a long time since I asked a question!! But I'm back! And my question of course is about the draft. I was wondering if the draft was right now who would you take in the first? I would say Derek Barnett, Dalvin cook,Jabril Peppers, and Pat Elfin. I know that we need play makers but I say we draft Pat elfin! He is the guard for Ohio state! I think he is rare breed for guard! He could come start at rg and we slide good back out to tackle! I personally think that is a very very good o-line!!

Also if you had to choose one running back from this draft to be the rb for the future who would it be? I say Nick Chubb I hope we draft a rb high in this draft and it hope it Chubb he can easily be the rb for the future!!

Thank you for the time!

Go colts!

Bowen: If the draft was tomorrow, I'd lean towards pass rusher over a running back, in terms of the top positions of need on my draft board. Finding a potential replacement for Robert Mathis has to come from the draft. As far as a running back, I like what I've seen from Florida State's Dalvin Cook. Don't get me wrong, if I'm the Colts, it would be hard to turn my head at any of the premier backs coming out in 2017. I'm just more a fan of the shiftier, three-down type of backs.

Michael D. (New Jersey)

hello Kevin

With all the rosters now cut down to the 53 man roster and practice squads at 10, my question is where are the moves for pass rush? I thought by now we would made a trade for a pass rusher to come in and contribute to our team. To me this is one of our big needs I don't see Robert Mathis coming in and having a 12 or more sack year and with that I'm scared to see what other teams are going to do against us in the air. Are we planning any trades or are we planning to risk this year and build our defense needs via draft and free agency for next year. Either way I can't see us being better than 7 and 9.

Bowen: Only five players in the NFL had more than 12.0 sacks last year, so that's a pretty high number. I do think Mathis can be in the 10-to-12 sack range and that's a major key for the Colts pass rush this season. The Colts need Mathis to draw the attention of a No. 1 pass rusher. If Mathis can show that an extra body or specific blocking schemes need to be drawn towards him, that is going to open things up for the rest of the front. A healthy Mathis from Day One of the regular season is something the Colts haven't had since 2013. I rank the important factors for the pass rush as this in 2016: 1. A disruptive Mathis; 2. More consistent play from the cornerback position, forcing quarterbacks to hold onto the ball longer; 3. Healthy seasons from Kendall Langford and Henry Anderson, giving the Colts more of an interior pass rushing presence. 

Dave H. (Sebring, FL)

KEVIN,WITH FLEENER GONE. WILL THE COLTS USE DOYLE, IN LINEUP MORE. AND TO ALSO HAVE HIM PUSH IT DOWN FIELD AND CATCH PASSES .LIKE CODY DID?? AT THIS POINT, WE NEED EVERY DOWN FIELD THREAT AGAINST ALL TEAMS

Bowen: I would expect the snap counts to rise on offense for Jack Doyle. However, I don't think the Colts are going to pump it downfield with Doyle, like they did with Coby Fleener. When you have what you have at wide receiver (T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and Jacoby Brissett), the Colts can use their tight ends in other areas. Underneath routes being the primary area where Dwayne Allen and Doyle should see action in the passing game. Doyle has filled so many roles for this team in his now fourth season and I expect him to continue to do that, with an uptick in reps coming after Fleener moved on to New Orleans.

Adam H. (New York)

Hey Kevin, thanks for answering everyone's questions so well and in depth every week. So the Colts put OLB Ron Thompson on IR and I was wondering what injury he suffered, if he will be on the roster in the future after he is healthy or if he would've made the roster at all had it not been for the injury, and also if he would be a good young player to have as a rusher this or next season?

Thanks Kevin!

Bowen: The injury Thompson suffered was never announced, but he has reverted back to the team's injured reserve for this season. Thompson's contract runs through 2018, so there's a good chance he's back with the team next offseason to try and find his way onto the 53-man roster. This staff always liked Curt Maggitt in their young edge rushing group, and he did make the roster.

Robert W. (Modesto, CA)

I'm wondering why the Colts didn't re-sign Ahmad Bradshaw. I know he was somewhat injury-prone, but when he played, he played extremely well. He's a beast! I would think he would be worth the risk. Seems like the right choice to me. What are your thoughts.

Bowen: To steal a quote from Chuck Pagano, 'one of the greatest abilities is availability.' Yes, Bradshaw was a productive player…when his health was there. But he ended up on injured reserve each of the last three seasons. That's the biggest reason he is not on an NFL roster right now.

Kyle W. (Massachusetts)

I believe a few seasons ago fans were able to submit questions to the coaches. Any chance we'll get that opportunity this season?

Bowen: Kyle, I think your best chance for that sort of interaction will be on the Monday night radio show. Check back on Monday (send me a tweet @KBowenColts for the details), but the plan is to have some sort of fan interaction on the radio show with questions being answered by a key decision maker inside the Colts organization. That person should be announced in the coming days. That's your best bet to have a specific question answered by someone near the top of the totem pole.

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