The Colts Mailbag is back! Colts.com readers can submit their questions to have a chance of them being answered in our Mailbag series.
Missed out this week? Not a problem — you can submit your question(s) for the next Colts Mailbag by clicking here. I'll also be checking the comments on our Official Colts Podcast YouTube page and will answer some listener questions in here, too.
Let's get after this week's questions:
Ron Ginder, Anderson, Ind.: Will Richardson play Sunday?
JJ Stankevitz: As of now (Thursday morning), Richardson remains in the NFL concussion protocol. He practiced in full on Wednesday but still has to clear protocol before he can play again. Keep it locked in to Colts.com for updates today and tomorrow.
Matt Stuthers, Houston, Texas: Let's not kid ourselves, the Colts posted on their X account a screenshot of the NFL panel (10/10 for Ravens) because I mentioned last week in the Mailbag that 6/10 doubted us against Texans. Let's agree that it's not a coincidence. ;-) As for this week and the panel; Who cares? We've shown what we can do. Hit me with your thoughts: What was Gus' role with the Legion of Boom, and do you think the Colts Defense is Legion 2.0?
JJ Stankevitz: Let's not go that far, Matt, though I like the enthusiasm. Bradley was instrumental in establishing the Seattle Seahawks' "Legion of Boom" while defensive coordinator from 2009-2012, as he pioneered the "Hawk 3" coverage that dominated the NFL for the first half of the decade.
The Seahawks at the NFL's No. 1 scoring defense every single season from 2012-2015. That's a historic run, one that resulted in Seattle winning a Super Bowl and coming within a Russell Wilson end zone interception of winning another. The Legion of Boom was a generational defense up there with the Monsters of the Midway and the Steel Curtain. It'd be unfair to compare any defense in the NFL to them right now.
But I'll say this: The Colts defense is showing some awfully promising signs three games into Year 2 under Bradley. The pass rush has been impactful and effective, the run defense has been stout, and the addition of rookie JuJu Brents to the secondary brought a certain playmaking, physical edge that'll be fascinating to watch play out as the season goes on.
Jordan Kennerknecht, Roanoke, Va.: Who do you think in the tight end room is going to break out this season?
JJ Stankevitz: Here's how the snap counts have broken down at tight end so far:
- Kylen Granson (125)
- Mo Alie-Cox (78)
- Drew Ogletree (43)
- Will Mallory (11)
Granson leads the way with 14 targets, while Ogletree has four, Alie-Cox has three and Mallory has two. Based on playing time and usage so far, Granson would be your guy – but the Colts can also utilize the different skillsets of those guys with more of a by-committee approach.
The other factor here is we haven't yet seen Jelani Woods this season. The 2022 third-round pick is on injured reserve after a hamstring injury sidelined him for the majority of training camp. We'll see where he is in the coming weeks and then figure out what role he could play in 2023.
Curt Mercer, Indianapolis: Have you considered going no huddle all the time? I think it wears down the defense faster.
JJ Stankevitz: Going no-huddle all the time would also wear the offense down faster – you have to be targeted and intentional about going hurry-up outside of two-minute situations.
But it is worth noting the Colts lead the NFL in no-huddle plays (43) and first downs on no-huddle plays (18) entering Week 3, per Pro Football Focus. Per PFF, 55.8 percent of the Colts' no-huddle plays have been successful, behind only Kansas City, Baltimore and Miami.
Taking out two-minute plays, the Colts have run the fourth-most no-huddle (27 plays) in the NFL behind New England (37), Atlanta (32) and Philadelphia (28). Steichen's had a good feel for when to turn up the tempo and when to dial it back so far this season.
Paul Fredlake, Summerville, S.C.: With the signing of Matt Gay, did this signal Shane Steichen would rely on the defense to keep games close until Anthony Richardson and the offense could get up to speed?
JJ Stankevitz: Maybe that's an offshoot of signing Gay, but the Colts brought him in because if and when this team makes the playoffs, they'll be able to rely on one of the NFL's most reliably clutch kickers to deliver in pressure-packed moments.
Steichen, too, doesn't want his offense to rely on 50-yard field goals – and there could be situations where he opts to go for it on fourth down rather than have Gay attempt a long kick.
"The flow of the game and how it's going will dictate those situations," Steichen said. "Obviously, he can kick and make kicks from long distances. It depends on the score. Is it a low-scoring game? Do we need the points? Are we down by 14 in that situation where he could make it but we need to go for it? The game will dictate those situations around midfield."
The other part of this, though, that you touched on: Making corrections after a win is more enjoyable than after a loss. As Richardson and a young offense develop an identity, being able to end drives with points and win games like Sunday's overtime victory in Baltimore does carry importance here.