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Mailbag: Should The Colts Wait On Josh McDaniels?

This week, mailbag readers inquire about the mental hurdle of Andrew Luck’s rehab, taking a look back at the National Championship game and Chuck Pagano’s future.

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INDIANAPOLIS – Readers of can submit their questions to have a chance of them being answered in our weekly mailbag.

Submit your questions here.

Here is the collection of Thursday questions:


Corey (Kansas City)

Over/Under 6 players from the National championship game (either team) could start for the Colts defense tomorrow.

Bowen: What a question, Corey. I like it. Creative, and one that makes you think. I’m going with just slightly under. Al Woods, Johnathan Hankins, Henry Anderson, Jabaal Sheard, Clayton Geathers, Malik Hooker, Rashaan Melvin and Quincy Wilson would all start. I feel pretty confident in that. But I could find a spot for some of those linebackers on Georgia or Alabama especially in the inside (i.e. Roquan Smith). I could certainly find a spot for Minkah Fitzpatrick in the secondary (I would have to shift some things around). Big man Da’Ron Payne from Alabama is a name that would be involved in the defensive line rotation for sure, too. Maybe 3-to-4 would start?


Stan (Minneapolis)

Hey, Kevin! Haven't been able to write in to Kevin's Corner for a while, but always listen in as soon as I get home. Here's something from me outside of just tweeting random questions at you whenever I get the time. 

With some of the major HC candidates coming off the market, I remain surprised that we haven't heard any connections between two names and the Colts: Kansas City ST coordinator Dave Toub and Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. Both are in that Mike Vrabel, Frank Reich-tier of candidates, but I've heard absolutely nothing linking the Colts to either of them. Thoughts on them as potential coaches, and why that front has been so quiet, particularly with Toeb looking like an early favorite from the armchair analyst crowd (myself included)?

Bowen: Appreciate that, Stan. Good to hear from you again. Let’s start with Toub. It is odd to me we haven’t heard more on this front. He seemed to be the early favorite, along with Josh McDaniels. Now, the earliest the Colts could have interviewed Toub would have been Saturday night, following Kansas City’s loss. But no interview has been reported between the two parties over the last 4 days. Could Toub be following Chris Ballard’s directive of keeping things crazily close to the vest? Or has Ballard moved on from the supposed strong connection with the two re-pairing in a GM/head coach role? I wish I had a clearer picture on this. With Shurmur, the Colts are really the only team that hasn’t been reported as an interview possibility. Remember, with Minnesota having a bye, teams missed out on chances to interview Shurmur last week. So, until the Vikings lose, Shurmur cannot conduct interview with other teams. The Colts have not had their name thrown around at all with Shurmur, with information in general being pretty quiet on the Minnesota OC. Initially, I was hesitant on Shurmur because of the lack of a connection with Chris Ballard. But his resume definitely is one that should at least lead to some exploring. For now, it looks like the Colts won’t be going down the Shurmur path. But maybe that changes depending on the Minnesota path once their playoffs begin on Sunday.


Mark (Lehi, UT)

Which members of the offensive line and defense should be released, saved as backup, or stay/become starters?
If that's too vague, what about Mewhort, Haeg, Farley, Wilson, any ILB?

Bowen: Okay, let’s go with your names. I would keep Haeg, Farley and Wilson. All 3 are still under contact. Wilson would be the only one I think is a definite starter, but the other 2 are valuable reserves that will undoubtedly be needed over the course of a season. Mewhort, I’d probably let walk unless his medicals look great after missing 17 games the past 2 seasons. You need sure things on the offensive line. At inside linebacker, I wouldn’t bring back anyone thinking they definitely have a starting job. Jon Bostic is a free agent and I think he’s a fine guy for depth purposes. But that’s a group I think you could totally revamp at the starting positions.


Collin (Hicksville, OH)

Hey, Kevin!

I remember reading your articles back on and love that you chose to stay with the Horseshoe!

I'm sure you'll be bombarded with coaching questions so instead, I have 2 different questions which are completely unrelated:

My first question is about the offseason, but not in the way you may think. During training camp and everything leading up to it, are you planning to give us updates about what happened that day and players that stuck out to you? I and the rest of Colts Nation are desperate for Colts updates during the offseason, and your articles were always my go-to option. I hope you can continue doing that during this and many future offseasons!

My second question is about how much you think Chris Ballard will be able to do this offseason. We have numerous needs at positions such as linebacker, O-Line, wide receiver, and running back (assuming we resign Rashaan Melvin and/or Pierre Desir, I'm not listing cornerback as one of our needs). Realistically, could we fill all of these needs in one offseason and resign the free agents we want to? I definitely want at least 2 quality lineman and another wide receiver to complement Hilton. We also need to fill the ST coordinator spot now that McMahon is gone which is unfortunate. McMahon was the one assistant (besides Sanjay Lal) who I wanted the team to keep going into this transition. Who do you think Chris will get to fill that position? I'm always curious to know your opinion!

Thanks from me and the rest of Colts Nation!


Bowen: Collin, thanks for finding us over here at Happy to have you. 1. I will definitely be doing that. OTAs will start up sometime in May with availability typically only once a week there. But Training Camp usually offers daily observing and I will certainly have you covered with all those things. Remember, camp is up at Grand Park in Westfield, IN this coming summer. 2. You and I have similar thinking in how to handle the offseason. I believe free agency should be used for the OL and WR needs. I also think an ILB could come into the building during the free agency month of March. I’d lean towards the draft to take care of the other concerns. You have enough money to go ahead and bring back the important free agents of your own, too. As far as special teams coordinator, that will come down to the new head coach. I doubt Chris Ballard will have much an input on that. Those assistants will be assembled by the staff of the new head coach.


Martin (Indianapolis)

Who’s more valuable to their team right now. Oladipo or Luck?

Since Pagano didn’t get the DC at Baltimore where else could he land?

Bowen: 1. Wow, another really good question. Flip a coin? Honestly, the numbers are crazy when looking at how both the Pacers and the Colts perform without their star. Honestly, I would probably go with Oladipo. At least the Colts have shown the ability to win some games without Luck (in 2015 and 2017). The Pacers are 0-5 without Oladipo this year and have been run off the floor in almost all of those games. 2. With Pagano, I think he takes the year off at this point. You are still getting a nice check from the Colts, so why not go out west and hang out with your family for a year? I know the CBS announcers mentioned during the season finale against the Texans that Pagano would be more inclined to become a coordinator again. But it seems to be quiet on that front with the Baltimore DC job staying in house. Go enjoy a stress-free 2018, Chuck.


Kenneth B. (Indianapolis)

Been a fan of your mailbags, and I'm hoping you could answer a few of my questions. Do you think the Colts would be willing to wait for McDaniels or go ahead and get a coach? If we decide to go get someone else do you think we try to make him an OC or go after someone else?

Bowen: 1. I definitely think the Colts would/should be willing to wait for Josh McDaniels. It worked for Atlanta (Dan Quinn) and San Francisco (Kyle Shanahan). Chris Ballard said the Colts would be very patient in this process and that might have to be the case with a hiring of McDaniels. 2. There’s no way McDaniels is leaving New England for another offensive coordinator job. No way.


Dray (Joliet, IL)

Hope you are well. Thanks for always taking our questions. After listening to Luck's news conference and to you on JMV and your podcast do you believe that part of Luck's rehab in the Netherlands consisted of seeing a Psychologist? If he feels the surgery was a success and he's not throwing but still getting thru "the process" wouldn't it seem to reason that getting away from distractions in Indy, getting focused could also consist of a professional helping him to psychologically get thru the process? If pain from throwing may not be the only reason for another surgery I think that his psychy may play a part to where he would need to be convinced that surgery is not the answer because there's nothing else in the tests that would say that another surgery is necessary. What are your thoughts? 

Thanks again and Happy New Year!

Bowen: Dray, it is an interesting question. I feel like we should not just overlook the whole “distraction” part of Luck explaining why he went off the grid for 2 months. This is a guy who clearly felt like he was hurting his football team, outside of just being sidelined. While I don’t know at all if he actually saw a psychologist, I do think the mental aspect of this injury is much more prevalent than previously thought. It’s something he will have to get over, once he’s back to throwing full throttle. Before 2015, Luck had never had a serious injury of really any kind. Now, he hasn’t thrown a football at a normal NFL level in over year. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly where the mental taxing is on Luck, but it’s there. He said that he felt like he got through the initial hurdle of the process back in early December, and if he can progress seamlessly through the next throwing program, I would believe he will be on the right track both physically and mentally in finally trusting this process.


Victor (Sao Paulo, Brazil)

Hi Kevin, How are you this week? 

It's been a long time since I last asked something, it took me a while to get to discover this "new mailbag"

Let's talk Draft. Assuming that the Colts stay at #3, I have 3 favorites, and either one of them would be a great pick, in my opinion

Bradley Chubb, doesn't need an explanation. Minkah Fitzpatrick, although secondary isn't a big need with all those young pieces, he's incredibly versatile and very good at everything he does as a DB, SS, FS, CB and Nickel, the guy does it all, kinda like Hojey Badger. And third, you probably already know, Saquon Barkley. I know, "you can always find a RB later in the draft", David Johnson, Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara, all second day picks in recent years, but this guy just looks another level, I have the same feeling I had with Joey Bosa, he just seems better than anybody else, he jumps out of the tape, his highlights remind me of Bo Jackson's highlights, because he's so strong and fast it seems like he's hurting the field with each step. Then, you watch a little more film and he tip toes, he cuts, jukes a little, makes one handed grabs, and is a mismatch against any LB catching out of the backfield.

I know you are Bradley Chubb all the way, but let's pretend that the Browns do the browns' thing and don't take a QB, and instead, take Chubb, between Fitzpatrick and Barkley which one would you take? Wich one you think Ballard would take?

Bowen: Hmm, good question. Part of me thinks he would take Barkley. Personally, I would entertain the thought of trading down and seeing what package I could get for that 3rd overall pick. But I do believe Chris Ballard is a guy that would not/will not be afraid of taking a running back that high. Even though I don’t necessarily completely agree with that, that’s how I view Ballard’s thinking. I probably let position of need creep more into my draft philosophy than NFL GM’s, that’s why I don’t hold Fitzpatrick in as high as regard.


Michael (Indianapolis)

Would Tony Dungy consider coming back to the Colts as head coach?

Bowen: No. Tony Dungy is loving life with his family and watching his big family grow up. Dungy also has a great gig with NBC, which still allows him to get a nice dose of football. At the age of 62, I would be shocked if Dungy entertained another coaching gig. He’s done enough in the game and is a Hall of Famer.

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